I ran across a blog post on Twilight Earth a while back, and couldn’t get this topic out of my mind. While I understand issues surrounding patent protection, and the desire/need/right to be compensated for ones work, it would be a shame (criminal?) if the planet suffers because critical technology is being held back.
Posing the Question
Watch the video, then think for a moment about the prospect of being denied a critical technology that could save your life simply because you couldn’t afford to pay for it. This is already the case with health care, where people around the world die every day because they can’t pay for treatment.
But this situation is a bit different.
Now let’s assume that it is you who holds the secret, and the other person can’t afford to pay for it, but if you refuse to share this patented technology, you not only harm the other party, you also harm yourself, and all those around you. Denying treatment to others now impacts you in a very negative way.
This is the global economy, where everything we do affects all of us, where there is no safe place to hide!
Let’s take this concept one step further. As all the world’s pollution (ultimately) spreads to every corner of the earth, what do you think about the prospect of poisoning your own children in order to protect your patent?
If India decides it’s cheaper to dump toxic chemicals into their rivers rather than implement new technology, and that act in turn pollutes the ocean, where the fish swim, and you feed those fish to your kids…what then?
Under the rubric of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was conceived as a vehicle for transferring cleaner technology to developing countries. However, projects implemented through the CDM are too small-scale and the processes too convoluted to deliver technology to the extent required for rapid climate change mitigation. Muthukumara Mani
In the coming decade this topic will become one of the main issues when it comes to mitigating climate change. How well we address the need to distribute advanced technology throughout the world will, to a large degree, determine the health of the planet, and all creatures who live on it.
What are your thoughts with regard to life-saving technology and the fate of the world?