The Oil of the 21st Century
Tuesday 16 September 2008, by mond
„Intellectual Property“ is called the „The Oil of the 21st Century“. Workers here are told that strong protection of that the protection of this so called „property“ is necessary for our economy and a means to protect jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth.
With the ACTA-negotiations, the protection of this IPR should be made stronger once again. What is really behind it?
Global corporations need to maximize their profit. One way to do this is to offshore production into countries with lower wages. There is one problem with this approach. By transferring know-how into these countries there is the risk that these countries will produce product on their own and this breeds competitors . And competition is bad for profits. Thus the global corporations need to find a way where they can utilize the cheap labor while protecting them self from competition.
Where the enforcement of copyright only protects them from direct clones the protection of trademarks ensures that only those who have the financial power to run a marketing campaign on a global scale can sell products at inflated prices. The most important tool is the enforcement of patents. This allows to „protect“ abstract ideas which potentially cover a wide range of similar products and technology.
So while it is true that IPR protection is „good for the european economy“ the workers here will not benefit from it. It will increase the profits of the global corporations but it will increase the trend towards offshoring protection. Your boss will get rich but you will loose your job.
It will not help the developing countries neither as it ensures that the profits are extracted out of this countries while access to cheap medicine and other goods is prevented. Most developing countries now oppose the WTO-TRIPS treaty as they are now forced to implement it. This is why ACTA was started. Now that the developing countries are ware of the neo-colonial effects of IPR it is not possible to conduct the IPR protection within the WTO anymore. So the rich countries decided to take it in their own hands.
ACTA is a way of economic warfare that is pursued against developing countries and against the working people in Europe, the US and Japan at the same time.
This should help to explain why the negotiations are held in complete secrecy.
Franz Schaefer, September 2008