Morning Must-Read: Paul Krugman: TPP at the NABE

Paul Krugman: TPP at the NABE: “As with many ‘trade’ deals in recent years, the intellectual property aspects are more important than the trade aspects…

…the US is trying to get radically enhanced protection for patents and copyrights… Hollywood and pharma rather than conventional exporters…. Well, we should never forget that in a direct sense, protecting intellectual property means creating a monopoly–letting the holders of a patent or copyright charge a price for something (the use of knowledge) that has a zero social marginal cost… a distortion that makes the world a bit poorer. There is, of course, an offset in the form of an increased incentive to create knowledge…. But do we really think that inadequate incentive to create new drugs or new movies is a major problem right now? You might try to argue that there is a US interest in enhancing IP protection even if it’s not good for the world, because in many cases it’s US corporations with the property rights. But are they really US firms in any meaningful sense? If pharma gets to charge more for drugs in developing countries, do the benefits flow back to US workers? Probably not so much…. Why, exactly, should the Obama administration spend any political capital–alienating labor, disillusioning progressive activists–over such a deal?

March 11, 2015

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