Forget SOPA/PIPA – This is the root of the problem

It is rare that a single short Reddit comment so perfectly defines the problem, but this says it about as good as I have ever heard anyone put it.

“As much as I hate the role that the entertainment industry played in the creation of SOPA and PIPA, they are simply taking advantage of a much deeper problem. As long as corporations are allowed to buy politicians, bills like SOPA and PIPA will continue to be written, for the benefit of all sorts of industries.

Those bills may have been more blatant than most, but that is likely due to the fact that the film, television, and music publishers are extraordinarily desperate at this point, as the internet is threatening to make their entire business model obsolete, and we have seen equally harmful government policy adopted for the benefit of the telecommunications industry, the financial sector, oil companies, defense contractors…”

I really fear the US is about at the end of its time being an innovator in the world. There is a perfect storm of supremely corrupt politicians more than willing to sell their vote for a dollar and several large conglomerates interested in doing everything possible to maintain the current status quo including buying politicians to make it illegal for their business model to never not be profitable, or to prevent competition. We see it today with industries such as Pharmaceutical, Telecommunications, and Entertainment who outwardly pretend to bemoan government interference. In reality depend on the FDA, FTC, and their pet congresspeople to design regulations that keep barriers to entry in their fields to prevent new competition and maintain their monopolies or oligopolies.

Look around, we might become a static civilization here. The last several decades of rapidly advancing technologies could continue forward into the future we all dream of, but today any new technology, any new major advancement or breakthrough in any field poses a direct threat to existing corporate interests and will be actively fought with near unlimited money. Money that now purchases congress and the whitehouse to introduce, vote for, and sign laws that will prevent anything from happening that could risk the current earnings. The US as effectively stopped R&D on a mass scale and now we want everything to remain exactly as it is. When we look around and wonder how the rest of the world passed us up so thoroughly in physics, information technology, space exploration, biology, medicine, etc. we should know that it was because we consciously decided to stop and focus our efforts on keeping things exactly the way they are.

As an example, look to the pharmaceutical industry. Significantly more money is spent on marketing and lobbying than on actual R&D. A conscious decision was made to focus on increasing the profitability of existing medicines through research and development in complex legal ways of extending patents and locking out generics rather than research and development into new medicines. The lack of new drugs on the market is not because of an over reaching or draconian FDA (the pharmaceutical conglomerates effectively own them anyway), it is because that is more risky and less profitable than just purchasing government protection for your business model and existing products.

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