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As for space flight, I'm not saying it's easy, but it's easier to answer a question once you've seen the answer. Either way, considering how you feel about pharma patents, wouldn't you agree that if a space company developed a new fuel or insulating material, then they should be able to have some sort of patent on it?
Of course, if there are no patents, then other people wouldn't know the details of how you did what you did. We are way past the age of simple machines, where you could take apart a typewriter and duplicate it. So if there are no patents and the innovator doesn't have to share details, then sure, first mover advantage should be OK. In this case, no one else would have known why Google's energy bills were so much lower.
There's no reason both models can't co-exist, but neither is a replacement for the other
the reason im saying im not willing to give up newspapers is to say that newspapers provide a service that hasnt been replaced by bloggers or anyone else.