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A fair amount of starvation has actually been caused by the effort to FIGHT global warming. In particular, the US biofuels mandate was justified as a way to combat global warming - biofuels are alleged to be a carbon-neutral form of energy. But diverting cropland from growing food to growing fuel makes food more expensive. That creates starvation and causes riots and war and refugees. In short, the effort to fight global warming has itself CREATED some of the very problem it claims to be attempting to fight.
The worst case scenario is actually pretty terrible. You could "create a better world" at the cost of a lot of pain and suffering and starvation. The fundamental problem is that spending resources on climate means *not* spending them on every other current or potential threat to humanity. Even a tiny hit to world GDP growth might over many years make the difference between saving the world and not being able to do so when some unanticipated new threat comes along. (Like a comet aimed at the earth or a plague or, heck, the next phase of global cooling.)
If China's prices undercut our own train makers, that is great news for our *consumers* - companies that run trains or use trains for transport and individuals who use trains for transport. Contrariwise if China raises the price of trains that almost certainly hurts more Americans than it helps, just like most other price increases.
> Never mind that states with higher minimum wage have higher job growth.
Yeah, not so much. There were 13 states whose minimum wage was counted as having increased. 4 of those were deliberate increases due to new legislation (the four: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) but the other 9 were insignificant cost-of-living inflation adjustments. If your theory is that minimum wage increases lead to job growth you ought to be able to scatter-plot the two variables and find a positive relationship. We should expect to see that MORE minimum wage increase leads to MORE job growth. Right?
But we don't see that at all in the data.
In fact, the four states that made a substantial deliberate increase in the minimum wage collectively did WORSE than average at job growth. The biggest percentage increases in minwage led to the LEAST job growth.
Of the four aforementioned states New Jersey did the worst, managing to combine its hefty minimum wage increase with literally the WORST job LOSSES of any state in the union. Connecticut's job growth was anemic/flat. New York's was well below average. Of the four states, only Rhode Island did okay (not stellar, but a decent upper-middle-of-the-pack showing).
From these stats we should actually conclude that noticeably raising minimum wage does NOT increase job growth.
(The chart showing the various states and their job growth is here: http://www.cepr.net/index.php/... )
> President Bush (41) scored a 98 [...]
You've been fooled by at least one hoax. Somebody invented a collection of "presidential IQs" in order to claim Democrats are smarter than Republicans. There is no evidence for several of the values you give, including specifically that score of 98. Here's the debunk:
" my point was that the only reason for a society to grant patents is to provide a viable alternative to the former system (closely held trade secrets) without the risk of the secret dying with the inventor?"
I guess my question would be WHY you see ONLY this reason, and refuse to acknowledge the others. I mentioned at least one of them. But you have rejected it without any real argument or refutation, and simply repeated your original statement again. The fact that inventions were created before the motivation of patents existed, is not evidence that patents do not create motivation. The real question, which you have refused to even acknowledge so far, is: which is BETTER? A system with no patents, or a system with patents.
Actually, you're changing the argument here. This part of the discussion was about why patent laws were enacted in the first place (was it to motivate people to invent, or to motivate them to disclose the details of their invention?). It was never about whether patents do or don't motivate people to invent thing, only about whether the supposition that they do was behind the creation of the patent system.
You argued that this was "obvious" from the constitution by imposing a modern perspective--shoe horning a Randian perspective on a document written a century and a half before that view gained currency--and a bit of selective reading. I countered that given the prevailing circumstance (e.g. trade secrets as a prevalent practice) and the clear written statement (e.g. the law itself, which I cited above) a much more probable explanation was that the intent was to motivate disclosure of existing inventions rather than (as you would have it) invention per se.
This may seem odd to modern sensibilities, in a world where "the profit motive" is taken for granted (and condoned) and we have more information at our fingertips than we could possibly digest, a world where cases such as starlite (which may well be a fraud in any event) seem like musty relics of pre-Victorian era, but I think it's safe to say the founders of our nation would have had as hard a time seeing things from our perspective as we have seeing it from theirs.
Likewise, as for your question about my phrase "the only reason for a society to grant patents" I think you are confusing motivations of the two parties (society and the inventor). There are many things that might motivate an inventor (dreams of wealth, fame, glory, desire to scratch an itch, prove a point, discomfit a rival, etc.) but society as a whole is largely indifferent to these. If we are to be strictly randian (as seems to be the tenor here, at least in so far as the constraints of historical accuracy permit) the only thing that works as a societal motivation is something that benefits people in general, imposing a cost on (in an ideal case at least) no one but the inventor. The most salient of the possibly candidates is clearly disclosure--we all gain information, and the inventor is out one secret.
I will, though, admit that "only" was too strong and there are indeed other (far less plausible) candidates. Perhaps we all love a Horatio Alger tale enough to want to foster them, or can't help but indulge our schadenfreude habit when a mustachio twirling industry is turned on its head by a plucky upstart. But I haven't been able to turn up any contemporaneous support for these theories.
By your argument, I could claim that firearms are not effective for hunting because animals were killed long before firearms came along. I don't buy it. It's not black and white, it's a matter of degree.
Again, I believe you are getting yourself tangled. You started this line of discussion by making the contrary black and white claim:
You: The idea (which history supports) being that when you don't allow people to profit from their own efforts, things don't get invented.
Me: That would make sense if there was a shred of evidence that people only invent things because they hope to patent them.
You: Well then, it makes sense, because we have far more than a shred. We have at least 300 years of historical evidence, continuing into modern times.
...and I objected, pointing out that history very clearly show that things were invented before patents, and that patents are not, as you seemed to be arguing, the only (or even the best) reason or people to invent things.
"That would make sense if there was a shred of evidence that people only invent things because they hope to patent them. Say maybe if the world were full of saying like "IP protection is the mother of invention" or "invent a better mouse trap and the world will grant you exclusive use of the idea for a limited time."
Well then, it makes sense, because we have far more than a shred. We have at least 300 years of historical evidence, continuing into modern times.
I would certainly like to see this supposed evidence that people only invent things because they hope to patent them. I can not imagine what it would look like, considering all the evidence we have that people invented things before there were patents.
"Of course, we don't see any of that. We don't live in that world and it takes a rather twisted view of human nature to swallow the notion that patents somehow cause invention. "
You are blaming abuses that exist in our current bureaucratically-fouled system on the very concept of patents. That's like blaming the 4th Amendment for the time the police broke down your door without a warrant.
You response to this point makes no sense. I have said nothing about any abuses here, and haven't blamed anything on anyone.
"If you want a patent on your gizmo, you have to fully disclose the details so anyone reasonably competent can make and use one after the patent expires. That is what society gets out of it."
No shit, Sherlock. What is your point?
Uh, my point was that the only reason for a society to grant patents is to provide a viable alternative to the former system (closely held trade secrets) without the risk of the secret dying with the inventor? And that that is the perceived social good that motivated the creation of the patent system? It seems rather clear to me.
"The promotion of progress isn't about gulling people into inventing stuff (they were doing that already)."
Nobody said it was. I didn't claim it was an attempt to trick people. It *ISN'T* an attempt to "gull" anybody.
Well, "motivate" then. I admit that "gulling" has a pejorative connotation, but operationally it amounts to the same thing. Your claim (which I dispute) is that people wouldn't invent things unless we offered them patents, and that we therefore offer them patents to get them to invent things. You can call it an incentive, a bribe, an inducement, a reward, or anything else you like.
" It's about making sure that other people can copy those inventions, build on them"
Only AFTERWARD. It's about MOTIVATING people to invent, SO THAT society can benefit from it later. We are arguing the same thing, except that you're denying the necessary first half of the argument.
No, we are not. You are claiming, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, that the intent of patents was to motivate people to invent things. I, on the other hand, am pointing out that the intent of the patent system was to induce disclosure of invitations.
That would make sense if there was a shred of evidence that people only invent things because they hope to patent them. Say maybe if the world were full of saying like "IP protection is the mother of invention" or "invent a better mouse trap and the world will grant you exclusive use of the idea for a limited time."
Or suppose we had clear evidence that primitive people lived lives little different than those of other animals until some freak accident created the first intellectual property laws, triggering the taming of fire, agriculture, and so forth.
Of course, we don't see any of that. We don't live in that world and it takes a rather twisted view of human nature to swallow the notion that patents somehow cause invention.
On the other hand, all it takes to support the notion that patents were intended to cause disclosure of inventions is a little reading. For example, in the second paragraph of The Patent Act of 1790 we find the prerequisites for obtaining a patent and the reason for them spelt out. In the second full sentence of US patent law we are told that those seeking patents must:
[...] deliver to the Secretary of State a specification in writing, containing a description, accompanied with drafts or models, and explanations and models (if the nature of the invention or discovery will admit of a model) of the thing or things, by him or them invented or discovered, and described as aforesaid, in the said patents; which specification shall be so particular, and said models so exact, as not only to distinguish the invention or discovery from other things before known and used, but also to enable a workman or other person skilled in the art or manufacture, whereof it is a branch, or wherewith it may be nearest connected, to make, construct, or use the same, to the end that the public may have the full benefit thereof, after the expiration of the patent term;
If you want a patent on your gizmo, you have to fully disclose the details so anyone reasonably competent can make and use one after the patent expires.
That is what society gets out of it. The promotion of progress isn't about gulling people into inventing stuff (they were doing that already). It's about making sure that other people can copy those inventions, build on them, progress from them, rather than having the secret die with the inventor thus forcing everyone else to (as the saying goes) "reinvent the wheel".
"At the heart of any patent, there should be some trade secret."
I think most people would disagree with you. The majority of ills in our patent system today are due to patented "trade secrets" [...] the workings of most useful INVENTIONS usually become pretty obvious at the point the invention hits the market; thus the need for a patent in the first place.
If the working of the invention become obvious at the point the invention hits the market, society has no reason to offer the inventor patent protection in exchange for being let in on the secret. Only in cases where the trick wouldn't be obvious to a practitioner skilled in the applicable arts do we have any reason to say "Oh, come on, just tell us how it works and we promise not to compete with you!" -- in other words, grant a patent in exchange for full disclosure.
Patents are supposed to be what we grant the inventor in exchange for their revealing a "trade secret" that we wouldn't have otherwise been able to figure out.
Yeah. It's a shame RMS never thought of discussing licenses with other developers. I'll bet he would be a lot more widely known if he hadn't been so reticent.
I saw what you did there. "The aggregators" that tell you to fill out a form aren't machines, they are corporations.
Nice try though.
Oh, thank you, sir! For the privilege of accessing the hardware I have paid you money for, I am forever grateful!
This is the sort of entitlist mentality that shows how out of touch some people in this community are.
So objecting to "you bought it but we still get to control how you use it" is somehow "entitlist"?
I agree people shouldn't buy shackled hardware in the first place, but that doesn't mean that it's in any way ethical to sell it. And claiming that the public has made an informed decision by choosing heavily marketed closed systems over the essentially unmarketed open alternatives doesn't pass the laugh test.
We have a bastardized combo of waterfall and agile here. I call it the Drunken Sailor approach.
What DO you do with a drunken sailor?
Typically, you start working er'ly in the morning. And stay at it till the even'n's glomming.