Post for Apr 29-May 5 2012

TaN: Just this weekend, I had another one of my rare God-enlightened epiphanies – communicated through the usual articles from the Internet – which is the realization of (one of) the rationale behind the saying, The more things change, the more they stay the same.

As I sat alone in my favorite hideaway in Tagaytay, it suddenly dawned on me (as I read the article from Commondreams, dated April 24, 2012, by Slavoj Zizek, titled “Occupy Wall Street: What Is To Be Done…Next?“; go to http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/24-6?print) that Zizek hit the nail right smack in the head, though not in so many words as he was writing about the OWS phenomenon while “elevated it to the metaphysical”.  All this time, whenever the masses – or, at least, a significant critical number – clamors for change, somehow, the so-called “change” is only superficial, at best.

Zizek elucidated it, brilliantly, when he wrote, “…the problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corruptThe solution is neither Main Street nor Wall Street, but to change the system where Main Street cannot function without Wall Street.” – you have to read the article to get what I am referring to.

Anyway, simply put.  In other to get the change that we want, not noly must (to quote or paraphrase Mahatma (or Mohandas) K Gandhi), “You be the change that you want the world to be“, we have to explicitly provide or outline the outcome.  In other words, you have to specify what the “new order” should be, the solution and neither just the problem nor the process of change, otherwise what you dislike will simply be substituted for another that you will not like either.  You have to be very specific about the change that you want.

If you are hungry, do not just ask for food.  Unless you are not picky and any ol’ food will do, you have to specify what food you like, what goes into the food, the way it is to be prepared, and when how and when it is to be presented to you, otherwise do not complain (again) when the food you get is not to your liking or expectation.

It is not enough to rant about wanting to stop corruption and to stop greed, you have to be very exact.  You have to explicitly specify everything, down to the details.  This is the reason behind the saying, The devil is in the details.  Want change?  BE SPECIFIC, BE DETAILED, BE EXACT, BE METICULOUS, DOWN TO THE LAST PUNCTUATION MARK!

TaN: Rejonder to myself: Patents are (and should BE) only applicable to man-made things that originated from the creator or originator of the man-made thing.  This means that, even though something is made by man does, it does not automatically follow that it is patentable by any person – other than the one who created or ideated it.  It is, precisely, this unethical and immoral act that is the wrongful application of intellectual property rights and the root of intellectual piracy.  Ideas and products (of man) that are in the public domain or in the commons either by tradition or by anonymity (i.e., the creator or originator is undeterminable) or by philanthropic or altruistic gestures (i.e., the creator or originator has expressedly indicated or manifested his/her intention for his/her idea or creation be in the public domain, in the commons, or freely available to all) should no longer be subject to patents or claims by anyone, especialy if the intention is to attain exclusivity of rights and of benefits over it.

Among the many prime examples is biopiracy of folk or traditional medicines (by pharmaceutical pirates) and many indigenous tribes have become victims.  Traditional herbal medicines that they have been using for centuries and through the generations – for FREE – have, suddenly, become prohibitive.  This is because the tribes have always considered their herbals part of their heritage and of common property.  Since the medicines are available to anyone, it never entered the minds of the tribes to have their medicine patented.  As a result, the sly, greedy, and shameful pharmaceutical companies had them patented and, consequently, become the “owners” – earning billions from medicine that used to be FREE.  What used to be free has been hijacked, stolen, commoditized, (bio)pirated.  The creators/originators have been depirved of what is rightfully theirs and, more importantly, the people has been deprived and disenfranchised – robbed of their right.

Going to what is not in the public domain or the commons, it must be admitted that people – the creators and the originators of both physical and intellectual products – have the inherent right to enjoy the fruits of their labor.  However, this inherent right, like all other rights, as well as everything in the universe – is not infinite and absolute.  The ideal is the creator/originator will be provided with sufficient opportunity to recover any expenses/capital icurred and to benefit, usually financial gain, from their labor, but the gain should be modest, just enough to be worth his/her while.

No renewable nor extension of the exclusivity period, terms and conditions, or any other reason for not moving the product or idea to the public domain or the commons should be granted.  To do so would be greedy, selfish, and outright unethical.  After the creator/originator has enjoyed or benefited from his/her labor, it is high time that the community should have free access to it.

In law as in the penal system, the usual equivalent of a life sentence is 40 years (or the death/demise of the convicted, whichever occurs first) – because it is impractical for it to be literal – the same should apply to patents and exclusivity rights to man-made products and ideas.  But, this is for individuals.  For corporations and other juridical entities, the duration should be much shorter because there are more people who can create and innovate more products and ideas so there is a greater possibility of other sources of revenue upon the expiration of the exclusivity over the product or idea without having to rely on the revenue generated by a particular product or idea.

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