The Simplicity of Eliminating Monopolization of Technology
Restructuring exclusive patent laws to pay inventors well and place those patents in the public domain would erase those centuries of carefully crafted monopoly laws creating values above and beyond intrinsic values created by labor and socially-collected resource rents.
Under that simple legal change to conditional patent titles, the inventors are well paid and their patents placed in the pubic domain. The monopoly structure, at least 85% of the offices and labor within stock markets where those profits are collected, disappears and the price of consumer products drops by half. Capitalized non-tangible values within stocks and corporations have been transposed into equally-shared use values.
Combining those social savings with free trade between equally developed regions, with managed trade between unequally developed regions, and dropping protections in step with the harmonization of previously unequal economies, would protect both labor and capital worldwide.
The masochistic destruction of jobs and capital under current internal economic and world trade structures based on monopolization of technology and control of resources would be eliminated.
Royalty Conferring Monopoly Rights, Origin of Patent Royalties
That the owners of patents are entitled to royalties exposes the feudal origin of the term. Patent rights to land and inventions were conferred upon favorites by kings and queens, with the understanding that the person so favored would share the earnings, royalties.
In short, the origin of patents is indistinguishable from paying bribes for the privilege of doing business. Such bribes were the precursors of today’s patent royalties.
Exclusive title to patents, as opposed to conditional title, is the remnant of feudal patent law which must be restructured to attain full rights, a social right or even a human right, for all to the benefits of ever-more-efficient technology.
Exclusive Patent Titles Copied from Exclusive Land Titles, Structure of Technology Monopolies
The original meaning of a patent was, “A grant made by a government that confers on an individual fee-simple title to public lands.” A land patent as the original meaning of title to land affirms our analysis that patent monopolies were patterned after aristocratic exclusive titles to land. Copying the legal design of land and patent monopolization, later monopolies were established through licenses.
Before the advent of title to social wealth through industrial capital and finance capital, all sustenance for life and all wealth were processed directly from land. Finance capital is the money symbol for industrial and distribution operating capital and these factories and distribution systems are only extremely efficient tools to process and distribute products from the land.
So the monopolization of finance capital and industrial capital (both are stored labor) are only extensions of the monopolization of land. When wealth began to be produced by industrial capital as well as land, powerful people undertook to lay claim to (monopolize) those tools for the production of wealth just as historically they had monopolized land to lay claim to an unearned share of the wealth produced.
If you claim technology is produced by labor and is not a part of nature, put yourself in the position of the rest of the world when denied its use even if independently invented.
Or consider technology thousands of years old, patented within monopoly capitalism’s exclusive property rights laws, and denied its free use even to those who have used it for those millenniums.
We addressed a money system as a social structure known for centuries so, unless it is monopolized to lay claim to unearned wealth and thus create a capitalized monopoly value, there is little there to own.
All technologies are a part of nature waiting to be discovered and thus honest ownership can only be under conditions protecting the rights of all to their share of the wealth produced by efficient production and distribution technology.
Communication technologies are as much a part of nature as any other technology. Communication systems are a natural monopoly in the same sense as are sewers, water systems, electric systems, natural gas, roads, railroads, and garbage collections. It is well understood that duplicating such services through competing private ownerships is highly wasteful economic nonsense.
It is important to understand that social technologies are a part of nature and such key knowledge has been monopolized whenever possible, typically by license We address exclusive title licenses within a monopoly system in the next chapter.
Systems of government are also social technologies and any thought of monopolizing governments would be ridiculed. Yet most governments are monopolized through power, witness the firm control of imperial governments throughout history by the very monopolies we are exposing.
Restructuring Patent Laws is a Key to Efficient Economies
The importance of societies retaining and furthering technical knowledge is demonstrated by China having the basic knowledge required for an industrial revolution at least 800 years before Europe used these technologies.
A millennium ago the Chinese were producing massive amounts of iron and steel, including stainless steel. They had invented the compass and rudders for large ships. They had paper, movable type, and the printing press. They built suspension bridges. They had matches, wheelbarrows, wheeled metal plows, mechanical seeders, horse collars, rotary threshing machines and a drill to tap into natural gas.
They knew the decimal system, negative numbers, and the concept of zero. And they once knew how to produce primary tools of world conquest, gunpowder and large ships. But that technological knowledge was forgotten because of disuse and the lack of a recording system such as today’s patents.
Inventions and innovations are the cornerstones of prosperity. To establish them in social memory, those technologies must be recorded and used. It is necessary to reward both those who had the original innovative ideas and those who first put them to work.
The present policy of restricting access to technology should be changed to one of easy access with proper compensation for inventors, developers, and producers while returning the maximum savings to society.
The patent system could do all that, be far simpler, and administration costs lowered to almost nothing by evaluating the value of a patent, paying inventors and developers a reasonable capitalized value, and placing their innovations in the public domain.
This creates a modern technology commons with full and equal rights as per conditional titles to nature’s wealth. The inventors and developers would be well paid, all would be free to use the inventions, and there would be no cost for accounting or for disbursing royalties.
Most inventors would want their inventions to have maximum use and opt for instant cash, recognition, and free use by all. Inventions not originally recognized as valuable, a frequent occurrence, would be proved by developers who would then file development patents, each would be paid a capitalized value, that patent would be released to the public domain, and inventors, developers, and consumers are all well paid.
Businesses and communities would no longer have to shut down because their market was overwhelmed by a competitor with a patent monopoly, capital destroying capital. Communities would be quite secure as all gained maximum benefits from the newest technologies.
New inventions would be available for all to use. The inventors, developers, and producers would be adequately paid for their ideas, capital, labor, and risk. Society would be well paid through low-priced products and services.
By restructuring the current monopolized patent titles-stock markets to a modern technology commons, paying inventors well and all having equal rights to use any technology, those huge blocs of finance capital owned by monopolists, currently buying and selling monopoly values on the markets, are transposed into relatively equally-shared use values. A
Assuming all other monopolies and their huge accumulations of what is properly others’ wealth were eliminated, economic efficiency would double and, since each would have full and equal rights and thus obtain their share, poverty would quickly disappear.
Patent monopoly profits are collected through the stock market. With each having full and equal rights to the fruits of nature, the need for 85% of the offices and staff overseeing, and the businesses and labor servicing, the patent-stock market industry disappear and the remainder becomes as stable as bond markets.
Economic efficiency gains from these relatively small changes, but huge effects, in property rights establishing a modern technology commons would, assuming buying power is protected through sharing the remaining productive job, equal the invention of electricity. Such massive economic efficiency gains require democratic, communitarian oversight to prevent stripping the earth’s resources and to protect the environment.
Again it must be pointed out that wealth appropriated from truly productive labor through exclusive title to nature’s technologies is invested; through taxes or overpriced products and services that principal, plus interest, is paid for by those from whom it was first appropriated; it is again reinvested; and it is again paid for on into perpetuity.
That impoverishing cycle continues is broken only by economic collapses as the wealth is concentrated into too few hands, leaving the majority without adequate buying power. The elimination of those huge blocs of appropriated wealth and resultant large increase in economic efficiency and elimination of poverty is the essence of full and equal rights under inclusive property rights.
Patent marketing rights (monopolization) has been replaced by a social right, the right of all to use any technology. Privately imposed monopoly costs are transposed into equally-shared use values priced at 50% less than previous monopolized values, all this under greater freedoms, fiercer competition, and full and equal rights.
A list of the common attributes of all monopolies and the enormous gains from their elimination are on pages 17 and 65-66 of Money: A Mirror Image of the Economy.
A study of the four books on property rights law in this endnote will alert one that property rights are in continual discussion in America’s courtrooms and collective rights trump private rights if it can be shown as imperative and just.
Though those court cases do not go, and cannot go, to the depth that this thesis does, the principles are all there. Legislatures and referendums can go to this depth and we can only hope they will if, rather when, a full fledged crisis does arrive. And this 2007-09 financial collapse may be that opportunity.
Bringing the World’s Markets under Control
Buying and selling investments is the legitimate purpose of stock markets; any activity beyond that is gambling. Eliminating monopolization through restructuring primary monopolies—money, land, technology, and communications—into a modern commons and eliminating secondary monopolies, next chapter, through full and equal rights for all will eliminate those massive appropriated funds which are reducing economic efficiency at least 50%. The ethereal world of high finance will have disappeared, economic efficiency will have doubled, and poverty will soon be history.
If the serfs had won those struggles in the Middle Ages and established rights to nature’s resources and technologies as we have laid out, production would have quickly doubled. In a few years it would have doubled again. And again. And again.
If as they explored the world they had told the already cooperative habituated natives, “We will teach you how to read, write, smelt iron, build ships, etc,” the world would have been developed a hundred years ago and all without poverty or war.
Those crucial 170 words describing an honest, efficient, capitalist economy. Does anyone have the ear of President Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Team?
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 Grant, Wonderful Wealth Machine, pp. 301-306.
 As both finance capital and industrial capital are stored labor, title to the wealth of other people’s labor has been claimed by capitalists, primarily through exclusive title monopolization.
 Lester Thurow, The Future of Capitalism: How Today’s Economic Forces Shape Tomorrow’s World (England: Penguin Books, 1996) p. 15; Lester Thurow, Building Wealth: The New Rules for Individuals, Companies, and Nations in a knowledge-Based Economy (New York: HarperCollins, 2000), pp. 85, 102.
 Michael Goldhaber, Reinventing Technology (New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986), p. 185.
 For another study see Vandana Shiva’s Protect or Plunder: Understanding Intellectual Property Rights.
 Laura UnderKufler, The Idea of Property: Its Meaning and Power (NY, Oxford University Press, 2003); see also Janet Dine and Andrew Fagan, Editors, Human Rights and Capitalism (NorthHampton, MA, 2006); Marjorie Kelly, The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning Corporate Aristocracy (San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler, 2007); Jeremy Waldron, The Right to Private Property (Oxford U Press, 1988).
More pages in the “The Simplicity of Eliminating Monopolization of Technology” section
- Invention, a Social Process
- Half the Efficiencies of Technologies are lost
- Communication Superhighways Can Shrink Trading Costs 50%
- Monopoly Patent Profits Collected Through the Stock Markets
- Communication Super Highways Educating the World for 5-to-15% the Cost of Brick and Mortar Schools
- Monopolization within Social Structures