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Source of Economic Growth


Source of Economic Growth

What is the source of economic growth?  Trying times like these make this question even more important.  The chart on the left is particularly instructive about the sources of economic growth.  It defines what engineers call a boundary layer condition.  The chart shows per capita income from 1000 BC to 2000 AD, where income has been normalized to one for the year 1800.  The part on the left where per capita income final takes off is only true for western countries.  For instance, African countries still have incomes near or below one on this chart and incomes in Japan do not take off for almost another 100 years.

So the million dollar question is why does income take off around 1800 after millennia of going nowhere?  Let’s examine the standard answers for getting our economy growing today.  Is the reason that income takes off around 1800 because taxes suddenly get lower (or higher) around 1800?  No tax levels did not change significantly around 1800 and in fact they were lower than today until around 1900.  Tax levels averaged 10% or less of GDP during most of history.  Is it because the size of government suddenly shrunk (or grew) around 1800?  No, the size of government did not change significantly around 1800.  The size of government did not start to grow until around 1900.  Is it because we suddenly created the world’s greatest “cash for clunker program” – in other words was Keynes right we just had to stimulate demand?  Well during the period from 1000 BC until about 1800 AD is called the Malthusian period, after Thomas Malthus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthus.  During this period humans are just like every other animal and our population expands until we are on the edge of starvation.  I am pretty sure that there was plenty of demand during this period, at least for food.  Does income suddenly take off because we figure out how to control our money supply just right?  No the tools for controlling the money supply around 1800 were pretty crude.  The only reason we are wealthier today than in 1800 or 1500 or 1000 BC is because of our technology.  If we had the same technology as our ancestors we would be no wealthier than they were.

I am not the only one to point out that increases in our level of technology are the only reason for real per capita increases in income.  Robert Solow won the Nobel Prize in economics for essentially this point.  Other economists who have study this area include Paul Romer of Stanford, Jacob Schmookler who studied the relationship between inventions and economic growth and Gregory Clark from UC Davis.  This area of economics is often called Economics 2.0 or Innovation Economics.  One of the best books on this area (other than my book The Decline and Fall of the American Entrepreneur ) is a business book, entitled The Invisible Edge.

Not coincidentally 1800 is around the time the first modern patent systems are created.  Patents are the only free market system for encouraging people to invest in inventions and technology.  Patents are legal title to your invention.  The first patent statute in the US is passed in 1790.  The US becomes the economic and technological leader of the world because of our patent system, not because of some innate Yankee ingenuity.  We are the first country in history to recognize that inventors’ have a right to their inventions.  In fact, the only place where the US Constitution uses the word “right” is with respect to patents and copyrights.[1]

Despite the overwhelming evidence for the connection between patents, technology and economic growth, some detractors are going to argue that this is just coincidence.  The chart at the right shows per capita GDP for various countries.  As already explained US per capita GDP takes off around the time we create our patent system.  Japan comes to the US and studies why we are successful around the 1860s.  Their conclusion is that the US patent system is why the US is a technological and economic powerhouse.  As a result the Japanese copy the US patent system sometime in the 1870s, which is when their per capita income takes off.  A similar situation occurs in China.  On the other hand there are numerous countries with no patent system or ineffectual patent systems that are stuck in the Malthusian trap.

Patents are the free market system for conferring legal title to inventions and encouraging investment in technology.  Increases in technology are the only way to increase real per capita income.  A strong patent system is keystone upon which economic growth is built.


[1] US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8.  Note the Bill of Rights are amendments to the Constitution.




28 Comments

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PriorSmart. PriorSmart said: Just read this: Source of Economic Growth – http://bit.ly/causfY [via hallingblog] #japan [...]

  2. DB

    My intent here is not to rain on your parade because, at the end of the day, I agree that the patent system in the USA is a net benefit to the economy.

    However, it stretches credibility to argue that the patent system is at the heart of economic growth and prosperity.

    Our economy is huge and extremely complex. Your average consumer doesn’t really know what a “patent” is and doesn’t care. Your average consumer doesn’t know how high tech stuff works and doesn’t want to learn. They flip the ON button to “on” and it goes, simple as that. They walk into a modern sales shop and there is all the neat new stuff, ready for the taking if only you have the doe re me.

    There are a myriad of factors that go into causing one economy to prosper (and create jobs) and another one to fail (and lead to poverty and collapse). Part of it is simply luck, culture and environment. (BTW, have you read Jared Diamond’s books, Collapse? or Guns Steel and Germs?) The details of a nation’s patent system does not figure to be high up on the list of causes. Pretty much all modern nations have patent systems. Some compensate the inventor more and some less. But that alone does not explain why various regions of a country that has same patent laws throughout are hot beds of innovation (i.e. Silicon Valley) and others are epitomes of stuck-in-the-mudness. There are more significant factors at play.

  3. Stepback,

    Your argument that people have to understand and care about the patent system for it to have an impact is clearly incorrect. People did not know what CMOs or CDSs were but they had a huge impact on the economy recently and affected the actions of consumers. It is irrelevant whether the average person understands patents, supply and demand, how the federal reserve works, etc.

    Yes I have read Guns Germs and Steel and it is consistent with my thesis. Technology is the only competitive advantage (e.g., cause of increase in real per capita income). Guns and steel were technological advantages – germs were somewhat coincidental. However, better technology allowed more people per square mile, which is necessary for social diseases and is the type of germs discussed in the book.

    I suggest you read a Farewell to Alms by Gregory Clark, which makes it clear that increases technology are the only way to increase real per capita incomes. Patents are the only free market method of encouraging people to invest in advances in technology. Clearly, you cannot have a strong patent system and 100% tax rates or weak real property rights and expect to get economic growth. However, low tax rates and strong real property rights without a patent system will result in anemic or non-existent economic growth.

    Many things that people often cite as necessary for economic growth were new technologies. For instance, fraction reserve banking, limited liability companies and stock markets were all new areas of technology.

    The lumpiness that you discuss is not inconsistent with my thesis. Inventions are built on knowledge and resources. Knowledge of new technologies is often confined to certain areas as are the resources to take advantage of these new technologies. In addition, you would naturally expect some randomness in any large group of people that would result in this lumpiness. A homogenous response to opportunities and new technologies could only occur in a command and control economy.

  4. Yes, but you don’t have to have a patent system in order to have technology inventions.

    Once again though, I am staunchly in the camp that supports having a strong patent system so as to “promote” the rate at which technological inventions happen. So we are each singing to a fellow choir member here.

    I was just trying to point out that the over all argument is a weak one. Most people cannot see the connection between inventions and a strong economy. They would argue that the competitive forces of the free market system cause inventions and we don’t really need no stinking patent system in the first place –I’m playing devil’s advocate here.

    (Farewell to Alms? No I haven’t heard of that book. Thanks for the pointer.)

  5. Modern economics is fairly clear on the point that advances in technology are the only way to increase real per capita incomes.

    The evidence does not support the point of view that you can have vigorous technological growth without a patent system as the charts above show. This does not mean you will not have any growth in technology just that it will be much slower. Historically this technology growth is so slow that it is less than the rate of growth in the population. Only when patent systems are introduced does this change.

    In order to understand why this is the case think about the type of houses that are built when you cannot obtain legal title to the house or underlying land. Houses are still being built, but they are merely shacks unless you can obtain legal title to the house and land. The same is true of inventions. If you cannot obtain legal title to your invention, you end up with inventions that are the equivalent of shacks.

  6. “Historically this technology growth is so slow that it is less than the rate of growth in the population. Only when patent systems are introduced does this change.” (@comment 5)

    DB,

    I meant to add one more point to my devil’s advocate argument about “market forces” being sufficient to propel innovation forward at an appropriate pace:

    If you look back at the Supreme Court’s decision in KSR v. Teleflex, you will see that this is pretty much the argument they make, namely, that patents are not needed.

    According to KSR, “market forces” alone may be sufficient to motivate an ordinary artisan to use his “ordinary creativity” to arrive at a new design (e.g. an electronic pedal design for an automobile) in which case the new design is not “nonobvious” but rather the inevitable outcome of market dynamics and ordinary craftsmanship, whereby a patent should never have been applied for in the first place or issued by the USPTO in the second place or validated by the CAFC in the third place.

    Hence, the Supreme Court is basically saying in KSR that there are market segments (e.g. the thriving Detroit segment –sarcasm intended here) where those stinkin’ patents are not needed because the market has matured to the point where market forces and “ordinary creativity” are enough (to deliver onto us the failproof brake pedals that surely Toyota and others always provide –sarcasm again intended).

    ((Sorry, the devil’s advocate sometimes can’t help mocking his adopted master’s line of argumentation. Maybe somebody else can do it with more of a straight face than I.))

  7. SStepback,

    I understand you were not taking the Supreme Court’s side in this issue, but here is my response anyway.

    I agree with you that this is what the Supreme Court is saying in KSR and it is based on their ignorance of history and their arrogance. There is no historical evidence of great technological spurts without an economic system that provides an incentive to invent. If you cannot obtain legal title to your invention or keep it a trade secret (or you have so much market power that you can overwhelm your competitors) then it is clearly an economic disadvantage to invest in inventions. Your research and marketing costs in creating a new product and new market clearly increase your cost of doing business over your competitors who do not spend money on new product development. Those countries that do not have patent systems or have weak patent systems are not leaders in technologic creation or technologic diffusion.

    An analogous situation exists in the recording industry. While Mexico has copyright laws they are essentially unenforceable and meaningless. According to Pat Choate’s book, Hot Property, something like 96% of all music and video recordings in Mexico are pirated. Mexico has many talented musicians and being a top notch musician is not an expensive endeavor, however Mexico has no recording industry. Any talented musicians from Mexico who want to make it in the recording industry have to move to the US, where copyrights are enforcable. This is clearly not because Mexican’s are not talented musically or they cannot afford the recording technology, it is because they cannot obtain meaningful title to their creations.

    The Supreme Court is wrong that market forces will push technology forward without a patent system – legal title to ones inventions. The other point the Supreme Court is missing is that we want people competing based on new technologies not on me-too products. The real advances in our standard of living occur not from reducing the price of existing products but by creating new products and technologies. See http://hallingblog.com/2010/02/03/patent-and-antitrust-law/.

  8. If you cannot obtain legal title to your invention … (or you [do not] have so much market power that you can overwhelm your competitors) then it is clearly an economic disadvantage [for you] to [altruistically] invest in inventions [which will benefit everyone else more than you]. Your research and marketing costs in creating a new product and new market clearly increase your cost of doing business over your competitors who do not [need to bother to] spend money on new product development [because they can free ride on your back].

    +5

    Well done counselor.

    This devil’s ex-advocate (he fired me) has no clever come back to that well reasoned and rational argument.

    Now if only we could teleport your wisdom into the minds of the nine robed, market force fanatics who sit on the Supreme Court’s bench –wishful thinking. ;-)

  9. Thanks,

    I am afraid that is the hard part. Believe it or not according to the New Republic the reason we will be in an extended recession is too much productive capability. See http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/the-case-economic-doom-and-gloom. Clearly the answer is to eliminate the patent office so we don’t have any new inventions increasing our productive capacity. OMG

  10. thanks! :)

    lets write them until the admit it, or stop doing it! i am writing them now!
    :)

  11. If only more people could read this..

  12. “A strong patent system is keystone upon which economic growth is built.”

    Is not that a overstatement?

    Before attributing ALL credit to patents,think about this.

    1.There may be a critcal level of technology after which development of tenology accelerates.For example once faster communication and transportation is available.Electricity.

    2.The technology acceleration in 1800 is not out of nowhere.It was due to technology developed before 1800.We are standing on shoulders of giants.(And standing upon them we say to the next fella”Hey wait 17 years while i try to encash my idea,then you can stand upon me”)

    Do you really think if patents had been introduced say ,5000 years earlier then we could have had Computers 4000 years ago.(People moving about on bullock carts using PDAs.um…..No no some other tech is necessary before somebody patents the PDA)

    3.Consider the high profile patent cases.Comapnies innovate first and THEN fight case in courts.

    4.Maths was very well developed even before patent systems.And even now AFAIK maths is not supposed to be patented.

    5.Once industrial progress picks up Businessmen are bound to come up with ideas like encashing tech.So it may be the OTHER way round.Once development of tech picks up people start thinking patents.

    6.”Introduction of Patents” :- Is that the only major change in 1800?we need to think about other factors.

    7.When patents were introduced.We did not have the lavel of communications.Patents were necessary to bring out ideas in open,even if at condition of other people not using it.Now we have internet etc etc.Ideas can be incubted here.

    8.Obviously the Creater of the ideas needs to encash it.But can there be other methods.Like government paying for patents so everyt body can use it.(OK OK bad idea Government will go bankrupt in 6 seconds.)

    9.While on one hand some Things which should not be patented are being patented(including yoga postures,uses of plants traditionally known since 1000 years… etc etc),

    On other hand true innovations do not get their due credit because other companies circumvent them.

    10.17 years was in 1800.Shold not that change.

    11.(A case of OVER patenting)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karmarkar's_algorithm
    Quoting from above mentioned article.

    “Karmarkar’s algorithm is an algorithm introduced by Narendra Karmarkar in 1984 for solving linear programming problems. It was the FIRST reasonably efficient algorithm that solves these problems in polynomial time.”

    AND YET
    “The patent, however, proved to be of limited commercial value to AT&T.They built up the KORBX system, an 8-processor Alliant computer incorporating linear programming software using Karmarkar’s algorithm, priced at US$8.9 million each, and unsurprisingly they only managed to sell TWO such systems.Opponents of software patents have further alleged that the patents ruined the positive interaction cycles that previously characterized the relationship between researchers in linear programming and industry, and specifically it isolated Karmarkar himself from the network of mathematical researchers in his field”

  13. Abhisek,

    1. Yes, I have considered that there is a threshold or tipping point in technology. This does not answer why Africa, India, China, Russia, Eastern Europe did not take off in 1800 or shortly thereafter. Through trade they had access to the same technology. In addition, there is clear evidence that countries with weak or non-existent patent systems did not take of technologically.

    2. I am uncertain how fast technology would have accelerated if a modern patent system had been introduced earlier. A modern patent system would not work without a sound basis of real property rights and an understanding of reason and logic. However, this hypothetical is absurd, because a patent system is based on reason, logic, and natural rights, which is the only rational basis for real property.

    3. Do you read what you write? Of course companies innovate first, they cannot file for a patent until they have created an invention and they cannot sue someone for using their technology until the patent is issued.

    4. Yes, math, science and even technology will advance without a patent system, however all the evidence shows that the advances in technology will be so slow as to not keep pace with the growth in population.

    5. You are incorrect. Businessmen have no interest in innovation. The cost of innovation is a competitive disadvantage without property rights in the resulting inventions. This is why many large companies are pushing for a weak patent system.

    6. We know that the growth in technology is the only way to increase real per capita income. We also know that patents are the only free market method of encouraging investments in technology. In the West, property rights were well established before 1800 as was the rule of law and market systems. The modern bank, stock market, and limited liability companies were over 100 years old. Note that all of these are advances in technology and were critical for future economic growth. But, the major change was the advent of the modern patent system.

    7. Yes the Internet is a great advantage, as was the printing press. However, as pointed out in 5 above, investments in inventions are an economic disadvantage if you do not end up with property rights in the investments.

    8. Yes, other systems for encouraging invention have been tried. That is essentially the idea behind the NSF, NASA and government research institutions. Like all government programs that pick winners and losers, they are very ineffective compared to free market property systems. See The Democratization of Invention by Zorina Khan, which shows that the genius of the American patent system is that it encouraged people from all walks of life to become involved in the inventive process. It was this system that created the phrase “Yankee Ingenuity” and lifted the US from an agricultural backwoods to an economic and technological leader in 50-60 years.

    9. You are incorrect about what “should” be patented. Any person who uses technology to solve a problem in a unique way is within the subject matter of patents. You may think that these inventions are silly, but that does not mean they should not obtain patent coverage.

    10. I assume your point is that patents use to be enforceable for 17 (from the date of issuance) instead of 20 years (from the date of filing). I do not think the length of patents is too long. I know that we are under-investing in new technologies because our patent system has been weakened significantly over the last decade.

    11. Investing in new technology (patents) is risky, much like investing in technology start-up companies. From a societal point of view “over investment” in areas of technology results in society having a more optimal solution more quickly.

    Patents are property rights and key to both economic growth and human rights.

  14. Very very thank you sir.
    Can you please express your view about maths, science,algorithms and business methods.I think these were not allowed in patent system until a couple of decades ago.And as per your graph economy was doing great since 1800 anyway.

    The 11th point was not about just about Over patenting or risky-element but a question on weather “Algorithms”(that too mathematical) should be patented.

    I mean are there some things being patented which should not be?

    Would you suggest any changes in current patent system?

    WAIT A sec…
    I missed my black hole doubt..
    12.Not having patent system is supposed to give disadvantage to Innovator because while he has invested in the idea others will simply reap the benefit for free,others will have a ready to use idea/tech.THEN in that case countries with weaker patents should be world leaders.All US tech for free….Just make a trip to US ,buy a few products and use the new ideas for your own…Heck no need for trip ,just use Google patents etc

  15. Math and science principles are not patentable and never have been. All inventions use or take advantage of mathematical or scientific principles however. Thus you cannot patent Newton’s 3rd law of motion, but you can take advantage of Newton’s 3rd law of motion to create a steam powered ship.

    Algorithms: The Supreme Court has made some very confused statements about algorithms not being patentable. Every method claim is a claim to an algorithm for accomplishing a task. The first patent issued in the US was for a method of making potash – in other words an algorithm for making potash. What I believe the Supreme Court meant or should have stated is that a patent cannot be had an algorithm per se. This is similar to the idea that source code per se is not patentable, however when that source code is used to wire a computer then the resulting machine is clearly patentable. This is a distinction between what is copyrightable versus what is patentable.

    Business Methods: Every patent is a business method patent. A method of making potash is a method that will be used by a business. The business method distinction is non-sense. There is no consistent definition of a business method patent that does not include computer implement patents or method patents. For more information see http://hallingblog.com/2009/06/08/bilski-software-patents-and-business-method-patents/

    12. As I pointed out earlier, a patent system is only possible in a country that respects private property and understands, science and reason. A country that does respect private property will not become rich by stealing other people’s technology, because there will be no incentive to even do the minimal investment required to steal other people’s technology. Some countries have tried respecting property rights except patents or other IP. This is often a successful strategy for catching up economically. China and India are trying a variation on this strategy right now. Japan implemented this strategy in 1970s (with the help of the US government – see http://hallingblog.com/2009/10/21/jobs-the-economy-and-patents/) with great success. Pat Choate, author of Hot Property, argues that even the US, England and Germany used this strategy at one time. However, the problem with this strategy is that you do not learn how to invent only copy and at some point you run out of stuff to copy. In fact, I believe that part of the reason Japan has suffered two decades of economic stagnation is that they never learned to invent. When the US strengthened their Patent System in the 1980s this shut down the ability of Japan to steal US technology with impunity. Since they had not learned how to invent or how to grow technology entrepreneurs, they have stagnated economically.

    A thief can never be richer than the group from which he is stealing.

  16. [...] I suggest the radical notion that logically the nonobviousness standard, 35 USC 103, should be repealed.  If it is not repealed then we should demand a statutory definition that is as objective as possible.  One objective solution would be to codify the CAFC’s teaching, suggestion, motivation (TSM) test.  I have proposed an alternative standard for 35 USC 103 that I believe is even more objective, clearer, and more consistent with reality than the TSM test – see Obviousness Flow Chart .  By adopting any of these solutions we will reduce the cost and uncertainty of obtaining a patent and litigating patents.  This will increase the value of issued patents and increase the investment in new technologies, which are the only way to increase real per capita income – see The Source of Economic Growth. [...]

  17. [...] The Court does not understand that inventions are the only method of increasing real per capita income and are property rights not monopolies. By forcing people to invent instead of copy or perform redundant research we increase our wealth and protect property rights.  For more information see Source of Economic Growth. [...]

  18. [...] What was new in the industrial revolution was not coal, but the machines to use coal and numerous other inventions.  The book argues that these inventions were not in general due to new scientific discoveries, p. 255, and I agree.  So why at this particular point in time did we have a sudden increase in rate of technological advance, including machines that used coal?  The beginning of the industrial revolution coincides with the recognition of property right’s in inventions.  The US constitution states (Article 1, section 1, clause that inventors have ‘RIGHTS” in their inventions.  Patents, which are legal title to an invention, are the only free market system for encouraging people to invent.  While Britain had a patent system at least back to the Statute of Monopolies, 1623, it did not recognize a right to property in one’s invention.  It was a royal grant, subject to the whims of the ruling monarch.  As a result, it was expensive and arbitrary.  However, when the United States recognizes that inventors have a property right to their invention, this provides a whole new incentive to inventors and their financial backers.  No doubt this attitude towards inventions also infected Britain.  For more on the correlation between real per capita increases in income and patent systems see Source of Economic Growth. [...]

  19. [...] Kinsella is also wrong about the evidence of the utility of patents. The evidence is overwhelming that patents increase real per capita income. Advances in technology are the only way to increase real per capita income/GDP. Real per capita income did not take off in the world until modern patent systems (private property rights in inventions) were introduced. Japan’s real per capita income does not take off until they copy the US patent system. Countries with weak or non-existent patent systems are the poorest countries in the world, have the fewest inventions, and have limited technology diffusion. Most of the studies suggesting that patents do not encourage technological advance are based on misunderstandings of how the patent system works. All of them ignore the overwhelming evidence outlined above. For more information see Source of Economic Growth http://hallingblog.com/2010/05…..c-growth/. [...]

  20. Even though a patent system is valuable, a lot happened in the 1800′s. This may be a case of correlation != causality…
    Even if the patent system was key, it might have been key for being different and opening paths for akin competition. Take a look at India, I believe they are making fortunes by legalizing the breach of Intellectual Property…
    While copying technologies, they generate revenue to fund their own research and are leading the path in some areas of knowledge. Some companies are taking advantage of Open Models of Innovation, and while there is space (and it should too) for IP, the key here is OPEN. I don’t mean to be impolite, but a statement that American economy took off in the 1800s due to the Second Great Awakening movement would be equally valid from my perspective.

  21. Daniel,

    Yes, India is making a fortune by stealing other people’s property. If I could steal Saudi Arabia’s oil wells I would be rich also. If I could steal the rights to the Beatle’s songs I would be rich. However, I would not have created wealth and neither has India’s pharmaceutical industry.

    The only way for humans to increase our per capita wealth is by increasing our level of technology. This is a fact. There are only two way to encourage the creation of new technologies 1) government subsidies or 2) property rights in inventions (patents). The major change that occurred around 1800 is the understanding that people have property rights in their inventions. That is not correlation; that is causation – but perhaps you do not know the difference!

    Religion does not increase our level of technology. It is impossible that Second Great Awakening created wealth since it does not result any new inventions.

  22. [...] People did not escape the Malthusian Trap because of charity.  The only reason people escaped the Malthusian Trap is because we increased our level of technology.  The only way to increase our level of technology is by inventing and then disseminating these invention.  This occurs when we have strong property rights, particularly for inventions (patents), and free markets.  Why don’t we celebrate people and companies that create and disseminating new technologies instead of charity?  If you truly want to help the “poor,” then you should support free markets and strong property rights, particularly for inventions.  For more information see Source of Economic Growth. [...]

  23. [...] However, there is plenty of evidence that a lack of a patent system or a weak patent system inhibits innovation and economic growth.  For instance, North Korea has no patent system and has absolutely no innovation.  Those countries that first adopted a modern patent system have been the most innovative.  When the patent system was under attack in the US in the 1970s the US suffered stagflation.  For more information see The Source of Economic Growth. [...]

  24. [...] Yes and the price of all goods would decline if we would just get rid of property rights.  Of course, no one would produce anything and the same is true of weakening patents.  Innovation will come to a virtual standstill.  History shows that without secure property rights in inventions, innovation grows so slow that humans are stuck in the Malthusian Trap.  See The Source of Economic Growth. [...]

  25. [...] The birth of Industrial Revolution corresponds with the creation of property rights in inventions, i.e., patents.  I make this point in my post, Source of Economic Growth. [...]

  26. [...] This double standard between inventors and artists is illogical.  (For more information see Source of Economic Growth)  Inventors are vital to our long term economic success as a country.  While artists deserve to [...]

  27. [...] Now is not the time to elect more timid leaders, we need leaders who would make Reagan and Thatch seem timid.  Failure to do so we lead to economic collapse.  Unfortunately, some of the so-called pro-freedom organizations are pushing weakening the most fundamental of all property rights – patents.  Property rights correlate almost perfectly with economic growth, the beginning of real per capita increases in income correlates exactly with modern patent systems.  Yet, detractors expect us to see the connection between economic freedom and human happiness, but deny the obvious correlation with patent rights.  Increases in our level of technology are the only way to provide sustained long term economic growth.  See the Source of Economic Growth. [...]

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