The key agenda at the center of all the so-called “free trade agreements” is the imposition, at the behest of the giant corporations that depend on “intellectual property” monopolies for their profits, of a form of protectionism far more coercive and harmful than tariffs ever dreamed of being. “Intellectual property” serves the same function that tariffs did a century ago; only now that corporations are global rather than national, the protectionist barriers are erected at corporate boundaries rather than national ones. But in either case, the protectionism involves a monopoly on the right to sell certain goods within certain market areas.
Drug patents have killed millions, and if the corporate pigs at the TPP trough get their way will kill millions more. And the enclosure of the knowledge commons erects toll-gates to impede sharing and building on knowledge. In so doing destroys the basic peer-to-peer ethos of science, which is the basis of the so-called “shoulders of giants” effect.
We need to continue fighting Aaron Swartz’s battle for information freedom, to hack academic journal paywalls and make the liberated articles freely available at file-sharing sites. And we need to seize on the opportunity offered by 3D printed drugs and open-source pharmacology to produce cheap, pirated knockoffs of patented drugs through so many different small, distributed outlets that the drug companies and their state can’t possibly suppress them.
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