[p2p-research] Building Alliances (invention vs. innovation)

Ryan Lanham rlanham1963 at gmail.com
Sat Nov 7 02:08:28 CET 2009

On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 7:49 PM, Paul D. Fernhout <
pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:

> To invent something takes enough money to stare out of the window for
> years, which is a lot to an individual, but not much in the scheme of
> things.
> To take an invention, and dominate the marketplace with it, calling it an
> innovation, that generally take a lot of capital. :-) And it seems to me,
> that is more what Andrew is talking about.
> It's easy to confuse the two.
The laws surrounding invention are well established.  They tie fundamentally
to the ideas of property and ownership.  My guess is that if one disputes
the ideas of property and ownership rights, one will not make much sense of

Innovation, by comparison, is a messy term that usually is linked in
economic literatures to productivity improvements.  Output changes may be
influenced by inventions but they may be influenced by other things as
well...better processes for instance, which are generally not
inventions...though they legally may be.

If you are not going to subscribe to economics or law conventions, you've
simply got to define your terms.  Else, no one can make sense of any of it.

Without a theory of market, I have no idea how you measure output changes in
relationship to utility.   The crisis of P2P political theory is that it
doesn't know what it wants to ask for.  Underneath it needs to be happiness
theory (e.g. a Dalai Lama sort of idealism) or utility theory, or equity
theory or something that is a goal set.  Without that, we generate noise in
a dark vacuum to no effect.  What do we want to happen?

VC firms are trying to realize one goal only--economic returns.  A
foundation like the B & M Gates Foundation is striving to solve certain
well-stated problems.  Governments are generally in relatively unclear
businesses...that's why a lot of people don't like them spending money.
Right now, P2P theory is like a government.  No one can be sure it is trying
to do something positive.
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