We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, July 16, 2010

Rich countries set intellectual property rules in secret: What’s ours will stay that way

by Philippe Rivière from Le Monde Diplomatique

Rich capitalist corporations of the West are secretly attempting to secure more rights of ownership over ideas. The private ownership of economic property is the foundation of the capitalist system. Intellectual property which includes many life saving drugs, even life forms, are the latest battles being waged by capitalists to secure the benefits for them to the detriment of the many. 

This is not about individuals being rewarded for their creative efforts. Individuals mostly work in corporate settings where the corporations own, under the property laws of capitalism, everything that is produced there. Or they work in public institutions where the institution owns the ideas and inventions, and in turn sells them at bargain prices to corporations.
From their start in 2008, ACTA negotiations were held behind closed doors by an ad-hoc club of rich countries. No one knew where the negotiations were taking place and who was representing which country, let alone the contents of the text, made available to a few select lobbyists for the music, cinema and pharmaceutical sectors in the US.