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

Ryan Lanham rlanham1963 at gmail.com
Sat Nov 7 05:11:54 CET 2009

On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 10:48 PM, Paul D. Fernhout <
pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:

>  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
>> invention.
> I don't see how you get to that. When Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals
> or the Franklin stove, I think he was just trying to make the world a better
> place and ease the burdens on people around him or increase their comfort
> and happiness. He refused to patent them on purpose.
> http://inventors.about.com/od/fstartinventors/ss/Franklin_invent_2.htm
> "Benjamin Franklin developed a new style of stove with a hoodlike enclosure
> in the front and an airbox in the rear. The new stove and reconfiguration of
> the flues allowed for a more efficient fire, one that used one quarter as
> much wood and generated twice as much heat. When offered a patent for the
> fireplace's design, Benjamin Franklin turned it down. He did not want to
> make a profit. He wanted all people to benefit from his invention."
People do selfless things, but it's not the current way economies tend to
work.  People make things for profit.  There may be a few exceptions, but
those really are few--though hopefully growing.

Inventions are almost exclusively (P2P notwithstanding) for profit
ventures.  Even universities turn everything they can into cash flows.
Inventions typically create intellectual property.  Property is a right to
use or not use an asset.  The very discussion of it is the basis, of course,
for P2P.  Communal property (i.e. communism)...and no P2P because no
property rights--people are compelled to a commons.  If you are going to
share...you've got to share something.  The thing is property...even if it
is an idea or a process (like computer code).   No private property, no
sharing...commons yes, but no sharing.  Sharing requires a moral act of
offering.  If a gangster sticks a gun in my face, I am not sharing.  If a
government threatens me with punishments for having property, I am not
sharing it.

Money is a tool. Some people know how to use it well to effect social
> change. Others treat money like an end in itself.

Money is capital.  So is a tool.  Money isn't a tool.  A tool is used to
directly assist in improving productivity.  Money can't do that.  It can
only transfer into something that can improve productivity or utility.
Treating it as an end in itself is, I agree, silly.
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