Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More from The Distibutist Review, this time on another interest of mine: patents. Read on:

A good portion of our health care problems can be traced to the current system of patents. But the problem is not just with drugs; patents spread monopoly pricing throughout the economy in many areas. Wherever you see a product with a patent, you are probably looking at at least some economic inefficiency in the pricing of that product.

and from earlier in the post:

The problem with patents, however, is that they create monopolies and spread economic inefficiency throughout the economy. Further, they are not necessary for funding new inventions. They could easily be replaced with licenses. Inventors could be required to license their ideas to however (I think this should be whoever - JC) can pay the license fee and meet the manufacturing standards required for the product. This means that the inventor will receive a proper revenue stream to fund new discoveries, while providing multiple firms the right to make the product and thereby eliminate monopoly pricing while encouraging competition.

I really haven't thought much about how patents contribute or discourage a Distributist economy. Here's my initial thoughts on the licensing proposal above: At first I had this question: I thought a tenet of Distributism was that ownership/capital and production should be (as much as possible) in the same hands. That being said, let's see if I can answer my own question: The inventor is in the business of inventing-he owns his business and derives his income from selling his product (licenses to his invention.) The licensee, is owner and manufacturer-so the criteria is met (as long as the licensee/manufacturer is operating on good distributist prinicples).

Now, does this violate the subsidiarity principle-that the government is unnecessarily regulating what or how a owner (inventor) sells his product?

I must think about that-any input is welcome! (I have asked this in the comment box at the original post, so I'll update this if I get a good answer there.)

Oremus pro invicem!

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