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Commentary

On the Contrary: Open Season on Others' Ideas
Daniel Akst, The New York Times, 11-14-04

This article is worth reading for its focus on what may be one of the defining characteristics of our postmodern technological age: free-riding (through illegal music and movie downloads, drug importation, etc.) on the investments and innovations of others.

On the topic of drug importation, Akst says that “the discovery by American patients and politicians that Canada is a cheaper place than the local pharmacy for buying medications was a sign that, inevitably, Americans would rather join the growing legions of global free riders than underwrite health care innovation for everyone else.” Future medical innovations depend on rewards for those who produce them, i.e. profits, and anything that diminishes those profits diminishes incentives to bring new products to market.

The logical outcome of a copyright- and patent-free world: we will all become consumers in a world defined by generics – generic music, generic books, generic medicines. In that world, everything would be cheap, but, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.



Project FDA.
  
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