Prof Hrdy: When Inventions Kill Jobs

Camilla HrdyProf. Hrdy has an interesting new blog post to accompany her paper titled Technological Un/employment.  Her work focuses on the intersection between jobs and intellectual property – looking both historically and toward the future of automation. “[T]he impact of technology on employment has historically been “skill-biased”—demand for high skills workers rises; demand for low skill workers falls.”

Although I disagree with some aspects of Prof. Hrdy’s work. I absolutely agree that the Strong IP => More Jobs statements have been largely propaganda.  It may also be true that “inventions humans make today could end up meaning there are [very few] jobs left for their grandchildren.”  The difficulty for automation is that – even in a world of plenty – that hyper-accumulation results in scarcity for the populace.

Hrdy proposes regulation to help avoid these outcomes. Her approach is actually not unique. As she explains:

The basic idea is to deprive the innovator of the benefit of an exclusive right. Believe it or not, Queen Elizabeth thought this was a good idea. She denied William Lee a patent on his spinning loom, which reduced the amount of human labor needed to spin cloth, because she feared the implications for employment of her subjects. In Queen Elizabeth’s time, no patent meant no permission. Today, the effect would be less dire – no patent just means no exclusivity; it doesn’t mean no permission to practice at all. Still, if we accept the Incentive Effect, this would still dampen incentives to automate.

Hrdy’s proposal here is not based upon an idea that efficiency is bad, but rather that it has potentially harmful distributive effects.  My own take is that “jobs” in the form we see them today need not be a societal goal.  I do have to admit though that I watched the new Mr. Rogers documentary last night at the True/False film festival where he explained that love should not be treated as a scarce resource.

 

84 thoughts on “Prof Hrdy: When Inventions Kill Jobs

  1. 16

    A question with a venerable history, surely!

    A link to one of my old blog posts possibly relevant to the historical background of Oil States. An excerpt from Rex v. Arkwright (Court of King’s Bench, 1785). The legal argument resulting in the ruling that “the issue as to whether or not the patent was “prejudicial and inconvenient to our subjects in general” should not be put before the jury. ”

    link to distantperspective.blogspot.ie

    Extracts:

    Mr. Lee. “Suppose this principle is assumed, and I conceive it may be fairly assumed, there is no one thing of equal importance, in any country, to the employing of the inhabitants that compose it. I will suppose any invention, and you have a right to put the most extravagant supposition upon earth: I will conceive all that manufactory, which has been for ages carried on by men, women and children; and the sustenance of them all to be performed by an invention that don’t admit of any human hands at all. It is possible in the nature of the thing, all those spindles might, for ought I know, be worked by a turnspit dog, and afford no subsistance at all to any human being. I should conceive such a thing, upon proof, would be directly a public inconvenience, and destructive of the happiness of mankind. And yet it would not be necessary to shew that was the nature of it, but only to state that.”

    Mr. Lee. “Suppose we put the most extravagant thing in the world, I suppose this principle will hardly be disputed, that the strength of this country depends upon its navy, and perhaps that may depend upon the Newcastle colliery, and that having great communication with this capital by sea. Now if a man was to invent a method of carrying all the coals from Newcastle to London by air balloons, and by that means exclude every hand that used to be employed by sea, and go to the annihilation of every sailor and mariner: I should think it tryable upon the state of it.”

    (P.S., despite a lack of recent postings, I have been following the blog, but have been reluctant to comment on, for example, patent-eligibility under Section 101.)

    1. 16.1

      Distant, I was going to post a bit from Darcy v. Allen on the same point. Patents that took away useful employment, or limited the freedom of works to do what they had always done, were deemed against the common law.

      Arkwright’s arguments somewhat fell on deaf ears, I presume, because he was not displacing many workers by his automation, and was adding other operating his new machines.

      But, it remains that a central issue in the last presidential campaign, and even in today’s news about steel and aluminum tariffs, is the loss of American jobs and industry to foreign manufacturing because of trade deals, unfair practices by other countries (and because of high American taxes, extremist environmental regulations, etc.). The American worker and much of American industry paid notice.

  2. 15

    “The difficulty for automation is that – even in a world of plenty – that hyper-accumulation results in scarcity for the populace.”

    I don’t understand this. It seems counter intuitive. As the volume of production increases, the price decreases leading to increased distribution. Automation increases the distribution of goods and services at lower costs.

    I have been hearing complaints about automation my entire life. People who so complain usually do so to impose state solutions. In other words, they feign concern because their real goal is state power.

    1. 15.1

      People who so complain [about automation] usually do so to impose state solutions.

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

      For his next joke, Ned is going to tell everyone about the “free market.” There’s this invisible hand, see, and ….

      As the volume of production increases, the price decreases

      That would be true in the simple economic 101 sense where the value of a good in constant demand correlates with its scarcity. But in the real world, producers of goods play all kinds of games (e.g., planned obsoletion, etc) to keep prices artificially high, including (OMG!) using the dreaded “state control”.

      1. 15.1.1

        Agree. “State Power” is code for regulations that benefit the average person. “Deregulation” is code for regulations that benefit corporations.

        State power has largely stayed the same over the last 30-50 years, it is merely the target of that power that has changed.

        1. 15.1.1.1

          “Agree. “State Power” is code for regulations that benefit the average person.”

          Not true. And not even what MM said.

        2. 15.1.1.2

          Good grief. Here’s a classic, just consider Dodd-Frank, legislation purported to halt ‘too big to fail banks’ which was hijacked by the big banks themselves during it’s writing, to create ‘state power’ that sand-bags competition from the small the medium banks – that were never the cause of the ‘too big to fail’ issue in the first place. In other words, IMHO most legislation these days is written by the vested incumbents which purport to do one thing, but in practice does another, which is out of the time sandbagging any potential disruptive challenger. So called, ‘net neutrality’ comes to mind as another astro-turf public interest that in practice has the opposite effect of what it purports to be doing. Ergo, deregulation helps the challenger, because most of the regulations were meant to sandbag the challenger.

          1. 15.1.1.2.1

            vested incumbents which purport to do one thing, but in practice does another,

            You mean, like the AIA?
            :sad:

    2. 15.2

      It’s 2018, not 1978, we have had 30 years worth of propaganda about ‘state power’ to justify a takeover of the state by corporate interests.

      Are we going to keep pretending that our incompetent hapless state that is captured and paralyzed by moneyed interests and cant do anything to benefit the average citizen is actually capable of weilding the kind of economic power you fear?

      It’s never enough for the corporatists and they won’t stop until they privatize all public goods including the patent system, our energy sources (see South Dakota), our schools (see West Virginia), etc.

      You don’t worry about automation because you subscribe to the magical thinking of the past (when we had a functioning government) that the gains from technology will trickle down. Of course, that was only because we designed the rules of the game that way. We have since gutted them.

      1. 15.2.1

        quasar18, I am not so sure that there ever was a Golden Age where the state truly dominated corporate interests, except perhaps, during the presidency of the two Roosevelt’s: Teddy and FDR.

        Still, those who say such nonsense as increasing automation leads to scarcity are up to no good. They want to increase the power of the state we have, which means using government power to feather the nests of the powerful.

        1. 15.2.1.1

          Ned,

          On that note, revisit your own views on “Might makes Right,” inalienable rights, and the inevitably of State power (no matter who controls that State power, be they espousing the [mythical] power of the Commune, the State [for the sake of the State], or Crony Capitalists).

          Your protests ring hollow.

          1. 15.2.1.1.1

            When government is corrupt, it serves the interests of the few.

            Speaking of corrupt, has anyone ever seen the likes of the Clintons?

            1. 15.2.1.1.1.1

              Your version of “corrupt” here does not survive, as it falls within your own view of Might makes Right.

              That’s the point about your hollowness.

              1. 15.2.1.1.1.1.1

                My version of corrupt includes the activities I personally witnessed of the Clinton administration — pay for play.

                1. Your version would have it that since the Clintons were in power and had the Might, that what they did – whatever they did – defines the Right.

                  As I said: your “corrupt” is hollow, because your Might makes Right makes it so.

      2. 15.2.2

        “Of course, that was only because we designed the rules of the game that way. We have since gutted them.”

        Mmmmm, idk about that. Are you talking about unions or what?

        1. 15.2.2.1

          6,

          Just heard a piece the other day on Lobbyist spending comparing the spending of everyone’s (everyone on the Left, at least) favorite villain – the NRA – with the spending by the unions.

          The union’s outspent the NRA by some 3,000.00 %.

          1. 15.2.2.1.1

            Of course. People’s actual working conditions/pay depends directly on unions. And they still make up like 5% of the population iirc. Often with membership all but mandatory.

            1. 15.2.2.1.1.1

              Let me rephrase your reply and put the two sentences in proper order:

              At an all-time low (since the start of unions), at most about 5% of People have their actual working conditions/pay depends directly on unions.

              That only sharpens the disparity in spending. It is quite a bit more “of People” that own guns.

              1. 15.2.2.1.1.1.1

                “It is quite a bit more “of People” that own guns.”

                Yes, but the NRA is just one organization for gun rights, and they only devote a small amount to lobbying.

                To be clear here I’m in agreement with your overall point I believe (that NRA lobbying money is small, and more broadly that leftist aligned orgs spend more nigh across the board), though I just find the comparison to unions to be apples to oranges.

                1. Comparing the “lobby-spending and the constituent size” of one organization to the same attributes of another organization is an apples to apples comparison.

                  Where are you seeing oranges?

  3. 14

    And right on cue here’s your “disruption” :

    link to theguardian.com

    In a separate incident just a few blocks away on 28 January, a taxi driver in San Francisco exited his car, approached a GM Cruise autonomous vehicle and “slapped the front passenger window, causing a scratch”.

    The police were not called in either case.

    The two human-on-robot assaults are not the first time San Franciscans have fought back – physically – against robots.

    In December, the local SPCA animal shelter removed its 400lb Knightscope security robot from the streets around its building amid backlash from residents and the homeless population who complained the robot was harassing them. While most residents simply complained about the robot’s presence, one person reportedly “put a tarp over it, knocked it over and put barbecue sauce on all the sensors”.

    And in April, a drunk man was arrested after he allegedly attacked and knocked over another Knightscope security robot in Mountain View, the Silicon Valley town that is home to Google.

    Expect much more of this sort of thing as increasing examples of this g@ rbage “technology” is shoved into peoples faces. And nobody could have predicted any of it! As for me, I’ll be pointing my finger at anybody who engages in anti-robot behavior. Pointing … and laughing. :) Of course, if the corporations pe ddling this junk want to pay me to show some respect, I’ll do my best. Cash only. Let’s call it a “tax.”

    1. 14.2

      SF: “homeless” and “drunks.”

      Soon, SF might get a reputation as the very worst city the world has ever seen.

    2. 14.3

      “Two of the six collisions involving autonomous vehicles in California so far this year involved humans colliding with self-driving cars, apparently on purpose, ”

      lol.

      “While most residents simply complained about the robot’s presence, one person reportedly “put a tarp over it, knocked it over and put barbecue sauce on all the sensors”.”

      lolololololol. What a rac ist.

      I thought lefties were all pro-scientry (as long as it doesn’t conflict with their notions on birth control, race, sexitimes, xenoactivity, age, etc.). Should we add robots to that list?

  4. 13

    OT but here’s another flavor of dismissal of a patent lawsuit under 12(b)(6):

    link to cafc.uscourts.gov

    Some bigtime tr0lling here by one of the tr0lliest tr0llers out there aka Billy Grecia. Here he is going after McDonalds … because McDonalds takes credit cards that are “authenticated” (<– that's not technology, folks) over a computer network.

    the ’860 patent claims a system “for authorizing access to digital content using a worldwide cloud system infrastructure . . . comprising connected modules in operation.” The preamble of claim 9 of the ’860 patent states that these modules serve to “facilitate access rights between a plurality of data processing devices” such that the “system work[s] as
    a front-end agent for access rights authentication between the plurality of data processing devices.”

    Connected modules! Cloud infrastructure! Someone call Ronny the K. This is some powerful disruptive stuff and surely he’ll want to imagine being at the investor presentation.

    1. 13.1

      I have to wonder if you even read (much less, understood) that case or (more likely) you saw the End result and that you are merely “celebrating” a conclusion that in line with your feelings.

  5. 12

    Well, this is an interesting topic with tons to explore. Just a few quick thoughts for now:

    1) To a certain extent, these changes are inevitable. But it’s important to remember that we (society) can exercise control over the pace of the change and also to remember that, for the foreseeable future, some people will still need to work. We are going to need farmers, teachers, lawyers, judges, farmers, construction workers, firemen, and policemen long after the last assembly line worker is replaced. With respect to the pace, it’s extremely important to keep an eye on where the impetus for the change is coming from, who is going to pay for it, and who stands to lose the most. Submitted for your consideration: the push from a few tech companies — some of the worst and most ethically compromised companies in the world by any number of standards — to privatize roads and all of the vehicles which carry people on those roads. Just pay attention to this one area of technology and the manner in which our modern con artists promote it (constantly hyping technology which isn’t even close to adequate — but why should they care about that?). You’ll learn a lot.

    2) An interesting tie-in with Fred Rogers is that his show regularly featured visits to factories (often in Pennsylvania where the show was produced) or the presentation of films showing how common products were made. Pencils, crayons, peanut butter, soup, shoes, dolls, cars … there must have been hundreds of these. There was a lot of automation, to be sure, but also a lot of people working with the machines. He seemed very interested in trying to understand (and helping other people understand) where things “come from”. And those things included not just tangible things like shoes but also intangible things like empathy, compassion and understanding.

  6. 11

    The reference to Queen Elizabeth and textiles is kinda funny. For those who don’t get it, look up the history/etymology of Luddite.
    As for the conclusion drawn in the excerpt, think about how how many unskilled jobs there are in the textile industry, that arose from the dominance of automated textile machines.
    Ironically, the argument at the time was that innovation undermined skilled jobs, in favor of unskilled jobs.

    1. 11.1

      the argument at the time was that innovation was “B A D”

      that’s the same argument being peddled again (still).

    2. 11.2

      salvaged…?

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      March 7, 2018 at 7:09 am

      the argument at the time was that innovation was “B A D”

      that’s the same argument being peddled again (still).

  7. 10

    I don’t see any blogpost, the blog link leads to the paper.

    Anyway, at first reading D’s post it makes the lady sound sort of crazy, like I need to take her to dinner to explain a few things to her for her research. But after reading the abstract she seems ok and fairly balanced about the whole thing. I’m doubting D’s piece makes a fair representation.

    I’ll have to see if the article itself makes her seem crazy or not. But in either event the broken link should be looked at.

  8. 9

    Hi Dennis,
    Interesting article, thank you for posting items like this, it is a welcome break form the other equally important IP specific topics. I am interested in the following comment:

    It may also be true that “inventions humans make today could end up meaning there are [very few] jobs left for their grandchildren.”

    I ran across a podcast discussing the invention of the “spreadsheet” and how many accountants were supposed to lose their (high paying) jobs but ultimately the overall number of accountants actually went up over the long term or made them more rewarding.

    Check out this article
    link to medium.com

    1. 9.1

      I ran across a podcast discussing the invention of the “spreadsheet” and how many accountants were supposed to lose their (high paying) jobs but ultimately the overall number of accountants actually went up over the long term or made them more rewarding.

      This seems more like “an exception that proves the rule”. The issue discussed in the article isn’t vanishing white collar “desk jobs” where numbers are being pushed around. It’s the disappearance of so-called blue collar jobs, where people are replaced by robots.

      1. 9.1.1

        ?

        You appear to be quite out of touch – the “blue collar” loss may have been on point some fifty years ago, but today it is collars of all colors.

      1. 9.2.1

        Actually, that is finally happening. Many former major paper users, like law firms, use far less paper. Courts increasingly require electronic filings. The ratio of admins aka secretaries to attorneys is also significantly lower. Document storage and retrieval costs for electronic documents are now much lower and require less labor. Copier/printer company employment numbers are greatly reduced. The huge software related industry, and many others, have little paper usage.

  9. 8

    Yes, manual labor and agricultural jobs not requiring more education are being eliminated by automation, mechanization, and robotics, all over the world, including China. [With great public benefits in lower cost products and higher GDP.] But China and many other countries do not have the extent of anti-educational and sports-obsessed attitudes present in the U.S. Few U.S. parents pay for and enforce additional, after-public-school-hours, private education for their children, as is increasingly common in Asian countries. Many of our public primary and secondary schools are far worse than those of other countries.
    Decreasing U.S. patent protection would simply increase the already high importation of such automation products from other counties and thus even further reduce U.S. jobs.

    1. 8.1

      Paul Morgan >>”Decreasing U.S. patent protection”

      We regularly have people that sell patents come in and tell us how the market is. Reality– a US patent is worth about 20 percent of what it was prior to the AIA.

      That is from empirical data on sales of patents.

      1. 8.1.1

        Yes, before the AIA, more than 95% of defendants sued in patent cases would pay a substantial amount of money just to avoid the high discovery and legal defense costs because there was no fast enough or inexpensive enough way to get a decision on patent validity even if they had found great prior art.

    2. 8.2

      Re: schools in America

      This is off-topic, but very important.

      I am not wealthy, but I have made it a point to move near the best schools in my area because that is, to me, the best thing I can do for my kids (other than loving and encouraging and feeding them, you know). Our last school, all the parents loved the teachers and it was an okay school. But nice teachers aren’t what I need. I need teachers that will challenge and educate my kids. And I spend about 30 minutes each night with each of my kids helping further their education. American K-12 has become a huge babysitting effort. If the kids can read and write by graduation, we consider it a success and send them off, woefully unprepared, to college or to a job somewhere. The worst part is how little the kids realize how little they know! And I have found from tutoring in my kids old school that many kids LOVE learning, they just have never had anyone bother to spend time with them teaching them how to learn.

      Anyway, my 2c off topic :)

  10. 7

    I’ve been taught since the earliest age that there is a massive difference between making the money, and counting the money.

    Innovation increases productivity (i.e. making money) and increased productivity is always desirable. The negative distributive effects are a political problem, and should (and can be) dealt with by political means- usually via tax and spending policy, but potentially via IP policy as well.

    But to be sure, the rights of innovators to the fruits of their inventions is provided for in the Constitution for reasons beyond the social value of promoting progress- there is a moral/liberty component that can’t and shouldn’t be discounted.

    1. 7.1

      I think the attributes of what is being produced also affects the “desirability” of its production. More is not always better.

    2. 7.2

      “But to be sure, the rights of innovators to the fruits of their inventions is provided for in the Constitution for reasons beyond the social value of promoting progress- there is a moral/liberty component that can’t and shouldn’t be discounted.”

      Don’t the taxes to which you refer infringe that right to fruit?

    3. 7.3

      for reasons beyond the social value of promoting progress- there is a moral/liberty component that can’t and shouldn’t be discounted.

      Wow – something Martin and I are in (emphatic) agreement upon.

    4. 7.4

      Martin: the rights of innovators to the fruits of their inventions is provided for in the Constitution

      Martin, there is nothing in the Constitution that creates “rights of innovators to the fruits of their inventions.”

      Congress is granted the power to come up with a system, but the Constitution doesn’t require Congress to do so.

      I thought we put this zombie “Constitutional right to a patent” myth to bed a long time ago.

      1. 7.4.1

        You parsed his sentence – try reading the entire sentence in order to understand the meaning that he is providing.

  11. 5

    My own take is that “jobs” in the form we see them today need not be a societal goal.

    This appears to be an indefensible position.

    On the order of the famed “Let them eat cake.”

    1. 5.1

      What’s happening is that we are starting to get empirical evidence that burning the patent system down is hurting innovation and job growth. Now Google is paying people to say that job growth through innovation is bad.

    2. 5.2

      Odd.

      I would imagine an explicit claim to the converse:

      “Jobs, in the form we see them today, must be a societal goal.”

      to be patently suspect, and hence a suggestion that jobs “in the form we see them today” “need not be a societal goal” as eminently reasonable…
      which is a far cry from indefensible.

        1. 5.2.1.1

          First, I am skeptical of any so called “societal” aim or goal, unless it be the goal to ensure a government is in place to protect individual rights. Once that overarching goal is achieved, the various subgroups and associations within society (but not representing the so called “whole” of society) are free of course to voluntarily come together to advance any valid aim or goal through peaceful means.

          Second, to say that “jobs” is a specific goal of society (as a whole) is incoherent. Jobs are something which arise in free market conditions between those who need work done and voluntarily seek out others to do it and those who voluntarily choose to do that work as part of an exchange for things that person wants. The economic conditions which arise from the goal of freedom make jobs possible, but jobs are not the “goal” of society any more than cars, books, or cake. Individuals want cars, books and cake and in a free society and so those things will arise.

          Third, to say that jobs “in the form we see them today” is somehow definitive of the way persons should trade with one another indefinitely, or that the particular values in demand and the skills and tasks needed to generate them should be set in stone for the rest of history, is patently laughable.

          You actually believe that the truth of the statement

          “Jobs, in the form we see them today, must be a societal goal.”

          so self evident that the statement

          “Jobs, in the form we see them today need not be a societal goal.”

          is indefensible?

          Pray tell how on earth?

          1. 5.2.1.1.1

            There is nothing “incoherent” to speak of “jobs” as a whole.

            This is a macro-economic term that is well understood.

            You appear to over read the statement of “as they are today” as dictating some condition of “set in stone” that no one is advancing. Your supposition of “what I believe” is simply fantasy and off the mark.

            You are simply out of touch here Anon2.

            The macro-economic meaning is wed to a critical purpose of the government.

  12. 4

    Wow. Let’s see. Patents don’t promote innovation and if they do promote innovation then innovation is bad because it loses jobs.

    Sounds like a paper written to one of Google’s abstracts.

  13. 3

    These debates about whether patents are good or bad are often a red herring. Too many have skin in the game and soft conflicts of interest to be genuine when the question is framed this way.

    The real question imho is who is benefiting from patents/ the lack thereof? When the question is framed this way, it becomes clear that ‘both sides’ are really arguing about which of their client corporations get to benefit from tech policy.

    Left out of the discussion are scientists and engineers who often assign their rights away without renumeration. But not even remotely discussed are those who don’t even invent (ie most of the population) and who are in some cases stuck with inferior tech for higher prices. This isn’t even getting to automation, which may help the economy in the long run once we all adapt (see Keynes on the long run…) but will likely cause massive dislocation in the short run.

    At least google et al are being more honest that trade secrets are a more efficient form of IP when it comes to weilding monopoly power.

    1. 3.2

      “scientists and engineers” –reality is that many of them have their jobs because of patents and are able to do things like present at conferences because of patents.

      Trade secrets are the opposite of that. They tie the employee to the company and silence the employee.

      Sure people have skin in the game, but there is a long history of patents fueling our economy and there is a long history of monopolies arising and doing everything they can to keep their power.

      1. 3.2.1

        There is a lot to unpack in this short post.

        Most importantly, I believe your first point is completely 180 degrees out of whack. Tech companies would be nowhere without the inventions that their employees come up with. Sure, the employees get to present at the conferences (woohoo!) but they don’t get to see the fruits of their labor, as they have to sign their rights away when they work for the company.

        In light of this, the distinction drawn with trade secrets seem somewhat artificial. Forcing inventors to sign away IP= Forcing inventors to sign away IP. Does the flavor of IP really matter more than the trend itself?

        For all the talk about inventor’s rights, nobody seems to care that the above phenomenon has been going on for much longer. I think many would be far less skeptical of the pro-patent position if it wasn’t really a pro-patent owner position, versus a pro-inventor position.

        1. 3.2.1.1

          The form of the IP is very important. Patents disclose what is the company’s. That enables the employee to discuss it and to move on to another job and continue to work in the same area. Trade secrets encompass huge areas and are nebulous as to what they actually cover which subjects the scientist/engineer to law suits and other companies not wanting to hire them.

          Also, the companies are hiring the scientist/engineers because of the patents. Without patents companies would rather just take whatever is out there. Not entirely true, but the numbers are far different without patents.

          You should read more on trade secrets and patents. A lot of companies (maybe this is in the past now) would hire huge numbers of scientist/engineers with a goal of getting more patents.

          Plus, what? The patents enable the small person to start up a company and get the money from their invention. Maybe we should have a system like Germany where you get money.

          1. 3.2.1.1.1

            Night, I think we agree more than you think.

            Patents are somewhat more difficult to monopolize than trade secrets, sure. But you are focusing on the symptoms (proliferation of trade secrets and gutting of patent rights) rather than the disease (monopolization).

            “A lot of companies (maybe this is in the past now) would hire huge numbers of scientist/engineers with a goal of getting more patents.”

            There is no need for this anymore when you can just acquire massive portfolios. There are more patents than ever before and you need a huge portfolio of them to be able to compete on the market now.

            This just plays into my point that the first thing we need to do to fix the system is to prohibit companies from requiring inventors to sign away their rights as a condition of employment.

            1. 3.2.1.1.1.1

              >>This just plays into my point that the first thing we need to do to fix the system is to prohibit companies from requiring inventors to sign away their rights as a condition of employment.

              Trade secrets are worse. Trade secrets were big when I started as a developer in the early 1980’s. They did everything they could to make it so you couldn’t work in the same tech area.

    2. 3.3

      How about some monopoly enforcement, too? The reason the big corps are against patents is that they don’t need them to control the market. If we enforced monopoly/antitrust laws, those big corps would have to go back to competing with people again, and would start to benefit more by innovating and stronger patents.

        1. 3.3.1.1

          Where is Teddy R when you need him?

          At least Trump said the right things during the campaign about cleaning the swamp. But the swamp fought back, unleashing the Russian investigation on him with no evidence except that provided by the Hilary campaign. The abuse of power that took place by the swamp people is still appalling. Most everyone at Justice seems afraid to even pursue the matter.

            1. 3.3.1.1.1.1

              anon, see the Clinton administration for one example. See, Chicago under Capon for another. I understand the Grant administration was rife.

              1. 3.3.1.1.1.1.1

                Ned – you are missing the point of your own position vis a vis Might makes Right.

              2. 3.3.1.1.1.1.2

                This is making the rounds at the Office today (and bears directly on the path that Ned himself embraces with his views on “Might makes Right” and “no such thing as inalienable rights”:

                link to theatlantic.com

      1. 3.3.2

        True that. To be sure, the new ‘network effect’ companies, IMHO natural monopolies, are leading the anti-patent charge and related astro-turf PR campaign. Breaking up or restraining the monopolies would force them to innovate again, ergo, put a higher value on a functioning US patent system? Because right now, they have every incentive to keep it broke and break it more.

        1. 3.3.2.1

          Per Ned, “Might makes Right,” thereby justifying the very actions that he purports to be against (at times).

  14. 2

    we should ban vaccines because it reduces the amount of work for doctors treating diseases.

    1. 2.1

      “Working” is something a lot of humans do to keep from losing their minds.

      Big difference between directly saving millions of peoples lives, on one hand, and “rescuing” them from performing any repetitive physical task on the other.

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