NOTE that this is a continuation of my post found here, so if you haven’t read, I highly recommend going back and reading the first part of this essay.
I first looked at international law, and the various laws that govern international trade. Then I began to look at how those laws evolved and for whom many of them were written. There was an underlying theme to non-governmental bodies and international law, they are primarily multinational corporations, with a lot to gain from intellectual property law. Before reading into IP law too much, I had always assumed that things like the United States patent system were slow and unwieldly but ultimately necessary for innovation to occur. But after looking at the function of IP law in developing countries where these corporations are able to wield their patents, trademarks, and copyrights indiscriminately it became clear to me that this was an area that needed to be developed for us to transform into a new society, one that I could call H+.
In university I had learned about the terrifying role patented seeds had in India from an Indian Physicist that visited our university, named Vandana Shiva PhD. She had led protests against these patents and argued that it was a slippery slope from patented seeds to patenting more complex things, like people. And the idea of owning the rights to a lifeform seemed very dystopian to me. This remained a shelved fear of mine though, until much more recently, when faced with the reality that many new innovations were being created, and were choosing not to buy into the patent system the same way. After seeing that innovation could occur outside of the proposed system, mainly research, test, patent, sell, and instead in the forms of crowd funding projects and open sourcing intellectual properties, so that they can be improved (such as Wikipedia, Linux, etc.), I realized the old system and what I feared about it wasn’t just that it caused unnecessary struggle and poverty in developing nations unable to purchase the rights to use these IP’s, it was that these laws and the system they protect are the vanguard of the 20th century economic system, developed after the end of world war II(I should note here that a lot of the problems I see in society today I attribute to the 20th century mindset, and that I believe that a good amount of society have yet to realize they are no longer in that time, and the solutions given then just won’t continue to work, such as ignoring environmental effects of industry). And indeed, I believe that the world has changed significantly since the beginning of the green revolution and the introduction of Moore’s law to the introduction to efficiency as a metric of profit growth and lost in private industry! But while the economy has continued to develop with such amazing speed, increasing efficiencies per labor hour drastically since the 1950’s, the average global citizen’s work week isn’t affected by these increases. Instead, often times people are working longer hours for less pay, while the owners of these companies continue to see increasing wealth. So what’s to be done?
I would argue that the transhuman solution is to do away with traditional IP law, in order to end the reign of the economic vanguards of our society, and in its place, not more legislation but instead foster an environment where people enjoy innovating because they like what they are doing, and can now do so openly, without fear of ramifications (take for example farmers not permitted to repair their John Dear tractors because of IP law, or not being able to tweak your OS because you can’t legally play with the source code). This seems like a stretch for feeding poor folks in third world countries, but the tie isn’t as tedious as it may seem.