Time to end a 400+ year old private monopoly

Is it right that a tremendously important literary work, also a work of religious importance to many, should be public domain throughout the world, except in the country whose people’s taxes paid for it? Is a 400 year old private monopoly, granted as part in order to further censorship something that should be maintained? This is exactly what has happened to the Authorised Version of the Bible (the King James Version), which, in the UK is still under a perpetual crown copyright, with a small number of private companies profiting from the letter patent or licences they have inherited to print it. Continue reading

The innovation slowdown IS a serious crisis

Rick’s latest post on the creativity crisis raises the possibility that the current slowdown in technological advance is merely a period of adjustment rather than a permanent slowdown. I have three reasons for remaining pessimistic.

  1. The slowdown is historically unprecedented, not just part of a cycle.
  2. The reasons for the slowdown are built into our economy and politics, so it cannot easily be reversed.
  3. Even if this is just a temporary phenomenon, the results could still be catastrophic.

Continue reading

An alternative to pharmaceutical patents

I have thought about this before, but a question my nine year old daughter asked me crystallised the idea. The (already existing) regulatory process can be tweaked to provide an alternative to patents that would make the market more competitive, reduce over-head costs of research, and reduce litigation costs and uncertainties. Continue reading

How big is the UK’s internet economy?

I am entirely unable to understand Boston Consulting Group’s much publicised claim that the “internet economy” contributes 8.3% of UK GDP. They do not define what they mean and I cannot reconcile it with the numbers. Most of the discussion in their document is of online retail so that is clearly important, but lets start with a key question. Continue reading

The unnoticed megatrend

Investors, and others who try to predict the future, are often fond of thinking in terms of megatrends. Changes in demographics, climate, technology and culture are often discussed. One that I believe to be the most significant of all is rarely mentioned, and I have never seen the implications discussed. It is also hard to accept, because it appears to be disproved by experience. Continue reading