Horter ghorter at visi.com
Fri May 15 12:00:01 EST 1998

Marc Andelman wrote:

> Editorial on academic patenting
> in Science May 1 1998  page 698
> Titled  "Can Patents Deter Innovation?  The Anticommons in
> Biomedical Research"
> etc. ..............

Sorry for butting in on this discussion but I must comment on the thread.

I was one of those nasty Federal researchers that was destroying the
economy for 22 years.  For those of you (such as Mr. Andelman) worried that
I am still receiving some sort of "welfare", do not be concerned - my
agency (Bureau of Mines) and my job was eliminated so I'm no longer
"stealing" money from any of you.  Now that I've opened myself to
harassment,  I'll proceed with my comment:

During my "bureaucratic" career I have learned a few truths about the
American business system.  Admittedly these "truths" are extremely cynical
but they are based on personal experience.  Part of the scientific method
is to refute a postulate by demonstrated example, please dispute these.

1.  Everyone is on the take.  No exceptions.  Those with bigger sticks take
more from those with smaller or no sticks.  "Education", "plight of the
elderly", "free trade", etc., are all sticks.  There are very few who
actually give a damn about the "stick" they are wielding.  The purpose, of
course, is to obtain money.

2.  Money is money.  Doesn't matter who provides it.  The objective is to
use whatever means possible to get it and keep it.  State run lotteries,
worthless products, asinine litigation, lobbying, health scares, taxes,
political sound bites - its a ponderous list.  No matter how nonsensical,
unethical, or perverse there is always a means to justify the ends.  That
is the bueaty of American capitalism, find a better competitive edge and
succeed.  Subsidies destroy competition and weakens the economy.

3.  Every business in the United States is subsidized by taxes.  Barges,
trucks, freight aircraft, container ships - all use facilities constructed
with taxes.  Utility right of way, satellite launches, transocean cables -
taxes again.  The largest workforce of the Federal government (the US
Postal Service) provides low cost bulk mailing - tax subsidy.  The
education system, paid for by taxes, churns out students trained in the
skills needed by business but avoids teaching how to compete with those
businesses.  Law enforcement, patent protection, weather analysis,
demographics, and many more - all subsidizing businesses.  Of course these
are "good" profitable subsidies.  The "bad" subsidies address the human
condition, add to human knowledge, or generally provide some refuge from
the competitive battle.

Before our agency disbanded, we had a saying for current conditions in the
United States - "Welcome to the third world."

Mr. Andelman, if you can not compete, if you can not uplift yourself, if
you fall by the wayside, if you can not follow the economic rules you wish
to have  --  there is no one left out here who cares.  We are all carving
our sticks so we can beat each other to economic death.

Perhaps its a bad opinion but its mine.

Glenn Horter

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