Project Syndicate: IP for the 21st Century Economy

Intellectual property laws can be an obstacle when emerging economies are enduring a health crisis. Writing for Project Syndicate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Dean Baker and Arjun Jayadev describe South Africa’s battle against the global pharmaceutical industry as HIV/AIDS swept through the continent. Today South Africa’s leaders are working to develop intellectual property policies to expand access to medicines and other emerging economies may follow their lead. “The IP standards advanced countries favor typically are designed not to maximize innovation and scientific progress, but to maximize the profits of big pharmaceutical companies and others able to sway trade negotiations,” the article notes. “No surprise, then, that large developing countries with substantial industrial bases – such as South Africa, India, and Brazil – are leading the counterattack.” Intellectual property laws as written, by discouraging new applications around the globe, hamper rather than encourage research, and attempts to patent human genes is a case in point. A US court prohibiting such patents has allowed the research to flourish. The article concludes that health and wellbeing should take priority over the profits for a few. – YaleGlobal

Project Syndicate: IP for the 21st Century Economy

Developing nations push back against intellectual property rules imposed by advanced economies since 1990 – health and well-being should be priorities
Joseph E. Stiglitz, Dean Baker and Arjun Jayadev
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Read the article.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 and the John Bates Clark Medal in 1979, is University Professor at Columbia University, Co-Chair of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress at the OECD, and Chief Economist of the Roosevelt Institute. A former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and chair of the US president’s Council of Economic Advisers under Bill Clinton, in 2000 he founded the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, a think tank on international development based at Columbia University. His most recent book is The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe.

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC.

Arjun Jayadev, director of the Research Centre at Azim Premji University, is a professor of economics at Azim Premji University and the University of Massachusetts.

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