Re: Fear of Life (was Microsoft, Automation)

ChuckKuecker (
Wed, 6 May 1998 07:23:45 -0500 (CDT)

At 19:24 5/5/98 +0000, you wrote:
>> From: ChuckKuecker <>
>> At 10:51 5/4/98 -0700, you wrote:
>> >In a world without patents, 99% of new products would be small
>> >incremental improvements to existing products, with next to zero
>> >research costs involved. Those projects that /do/ require long
>> >research (if any--nature shows us that incremental improvement
>> >is sufficient to create extremely complex and powerful things)
>> >will probably be undertaken by industry consortia who contract
>> >with each other to share the risk and benefit of it.
>> Now you have given the world over to the industry consortiums who end up as
>> virtual monopolies.
>Really? How come there is no evidence of these virtual monopolies?

I thought we were talking about an idealized, theoretical system here.
Virtual in the sense of 'monopolies in all senses'.. Such consortia exist
today - look at OPEC and the drug cartels.

>> An individual has no hope of being able to bring a
>> revolutionary idea to life unless he sells his soul to the company store...
>Who did Martin Luther King Jr sell out to?

His dream! And he won, even if posthumously. At least he lived in a world
where he was the owner of his own ideas, and free to use them without fear
of theft. He GAVE his dream to the world, and did not ask for money in
return. His choice.

In the scenario described, an inventor would be required by economic
pressure to sign his rights over to some industry with the bucks to develop
the idea, since he has 'no right' to keep others from making his device..
and has too little money to develop it himself. Even if he lives through the
R+D phase, once he markets it, others are free to copy, so his chance of
seeing a profit is nil..

>Why was Robert Heinlein able to dictate to a publisher that they
>would sign a certain contract, and then immediately renegotiate it?

Maybe he was a smart man..and asserting his ownership rights..Why should he
not be entitled to wrangle the best possible deal for his work?

>> I am not willing to wait for 'evolution' to generate the products I will
>> need to survive in the next millennium. I want people to be able to make
>> leaps and bounds in creation, and benefit from their own efforts. I thought
>> we were supposed to improve on nature, not slavishly follow it..
>This is why a patent system is necessary: so that people CAN make
>leaps and bounds in creation.


>Without a patent system, there is very little benefit to the inventor
>in even the most obvious evolutionary improvement, let alone in
>anything that takes any work. And such little benefit as there is,
>derives from PERSONAL use, not from making that improvement public
>knowledge -- so you will probably never learn of it.
>You cannot expect to leap beyond state of the art, if you don't even
>know what the state of the art is.
>The patent/copyright system is the reason that the state of the art
>is publicized.

Why is this so hard to understand?

Chuck Kuecker