Symbiosis in LOs LO11521

Michael McMaster (
Fri, 20 Dec 1996 06:57:39 +0000

Replying to LO11495 --


I do not share, exactly, the presupposition of your question:

> This discussion continues to bring out the question of how
> much more we (the human race) could have developed if the patent system
> (and all of its derivatives) had not been invented!

I do not think that patents as such have necessarily reduced what
might have been developed. I think it at least likely that without
some form of this we would have developed less.

Now maybe some other culture, some whole other social systems, some
other ethical base might have been developed and then some whole
other and better results would have been produced. But this wasn't
the case and is pure speculation that it is possible in any reality
that we can imagine might have been.

(This speculation is of the order of "what better life might the
planet have developed if it wasn't carbon based?")

The main issue, I think, is not one of patents and laws or even
customs but the ability to see the possibilities of collaboration, of
emergence and of the generativity of complex adaptive systems in
their interactions.

It is this view, supported by technology that distributes ideas (etc)
more quickly and more broadly, that might be the catalyst that will
change the world. I suspect that patents in some form will survive
even this based on valuable social functions they perform - and maybe

Michael McMaster :
"I don't give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity 
but I'd die for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." 
            attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes 

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