1743. Who pays, who is paid back?

Provocation 61 who gets the profit.

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 to 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 that rewards those who pay for what leads to product success.


One thought on “1743. Who pays, who is paid back?

  1. lizaloop says:

    I was just thinking about the point you make after reading a post in Evonomics from the Institute for New Economic Thinking (http://evonomics.com/fixing-markets-mariana-mazzucato-lynn-parramore/)

    Google, like most business that get rich by collecting the “profit” from “capital”, is benefiting from a very narrow concept of capital. There are many different kinds of ‘capital’ that interact. Financial capital is important, even more basic is natural capital (think ecosystem (thanks @geonomist, commenter on the Evonomics site) and human capital (knowledgeable labor which is developed by publicly supported education). There are also many different levels of ‘government’ operating simultaneously: intra-family, neighborhood and local communities are more likely to control their behavior based on cultural norms and gifting than to rely on money economies. And what constitutes ‘wealth’ varies tremendously across both time and geography. Finally, we need to grapple with the possibility that we humans are at the point of such increased productive capacity (driven by both advanced technologies and infrastructure) that the very foundation of all our economic theory – scarcity – is threatened. IMHO, any economic pontification that fails to take these factors into its arguments is just a tempest in a teapot — or more dramatically, fiddling while Rome burns.

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