Nobel Prize Winning Economist Explains How IP Rights Are Part Of The Globalization Problem
from the not-the-solution dept
In particular, he points out how this is done with intellectual property. This is something we noted last year when we couldn't understand why a "free trade agreement" would guarantee monopolies on intellectual property. That seemed like the opposite of free trade. As Stiglitz notes:
"The Uruguay Round TRIPs Agreement, which is Trade-Related Intellectual Property, has nothing to do with trade. They just put "trade-related" because they had to put that in there to have it in a trade agreement. That was the real ingenuity.The entire piece is a good read, but as Kevin pointed out, it's interesting to see how Stiglitz fits some of these pieces together to show why globalization hasn't lived up to its promise.
There was already an intellectual property organization, called WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization. But they wanted the trade ministers to do it because the trade ministers didn't know anything about intellectual property, and that meant they were much more vulnerable to the influences of the special interests."
They put in provisions that were explicitly designed to reduce access to generic medicines. Just to highlight why that's important, a generic AIDS medicine, for instance, costs under $300 for a year's treatment. The brand name is $10,000. If your income is $500 a year or $300 a year, or even $5,000 a year, you can't afford $10,000 a year for the brand name. So when they were signing that agreement in Marrakesh, they were signing the death warrants for thousands of people in sub-Saharan Africa. That was the consequence.