LI was never a Maoist. Although we have a lot of contempt for the way the Western powers, for decades, subvented the Nationalist fascist forces, who were as bent on mass murder as Mao, but less successful at holding power, we’ve always thought Maoism was rural idiocy’s revenge on Marx. However, according to this scolding article in the NYT, have to credit Mao’s heirs with an activity that contains at least a true relic or two of good old Marx, not to mention Adam Smith. They are destroying the American constructed international IP standards.
We love it. IP is a misnomer – intellectual property is what Adam Smith called monopoly. In the nineteenth century, there was a gradual acceptance of the need for very limited monopolies of intellectual products – books, music, designs. However, the sponsors of monopoly were very clear about what this entailed – the capture of an economic gain through a state supported monopoly does not and should not have the characteristic of ‘property rights” – it is a lease, rather, and it is founded on that rarest of justifications for capitalist activity, ‘fairness.” You will notice that fairness only comes out of the mouths of economists when it favors the class for which they labor – the propertied classes. Otherwise, you hear the word efficiency. One thing a state monopoly does is create massive inefficiencies – hence, the price of those drugs still under patent.
As is the way of state monopoly, the monopolists invest some of their profits in the political market, buying senators, representatives, and presidents. These investments have created such absurdities as the extension of copyright to close to a century, sponsored by the late, unlamented Sonny Bono.
China, however, has taken the healthy view taken throughout the nineteenth century by Americans – IP is a rip off. So they have coolly ripped off American designs, copyrights, etc. Good for them. It is unfortunate that other countries in the third world aren’t strong enough to do the same. Nothing would please us more than to see some African country manufacture, at a much cheaper price, every drug that is now under patent in the U.S. Pull the completely corrupt system down to the ground, pour gasoline and piss on it, and light a bic.