Provocation # 61
I find it puzzling that companies can create billionaires based on a product that requires
1. Government paid-for patents
2. Millions of customers who are co-creators of the wealth but don’t participate in the profit generated
Google for example relies on customers that were trained in educational institutions others paid for, and are empowered, through jobs, transportation, living, to be able to participate in google as customers, yet google doesn’t have to pay for any of it.
I am putting it kind of simple mindedly to bring out the need for rethink this arrangement which is at the core of differences in wealth outcomes.
It might even be the place where rethinking could solve the problems. Accurate accounting for who pays that leads to product success.
One thought on “1742. Profit gained not shared with true source.”
Another simple example of this tendency can be experienced if one tries to access reports of US Government sponsored research. We spend billions of public dollars on making new discoveries and testings which ones are effective solutions for which problems. But try to find these results? Most are sequestered behind the paywalls of scholastic journals. Many become the foundations of patent and copyright protected commercial products. My hat is off to the open source internet community that promotes sites like Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page), Creative Commons (https://creativecommons.org) and PLoS (https://www.plos.org). Let’s note that these organizations are state and federally recognized nonprofits that depend on funding from individual users. So the benefit flow has to go in both directions. Even if there is no charge for the product we users must voluntarily support the producers. There are no-cost lunches but nothing is entirely free.