The New Role and Status of Intellectual Property Rights in Contemporary Capitalism
Authors: Orsi, Fabienne; Coriat, Benjamin
Source: Competition & Change, Volume 10, Number 2, June 2006 , pp. 162-179(18)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:While the importance of finance in contemporary capitalism is broadly acknowledged, this paper explores its relationship with the knowledge economy through the shifting regimes of intellectual property rights (IPR). Distinguishing between the public science model of Fordism, which saw IPR as a public good, and the IPR of the knowledge economy, which grants exclusive licenses to private firms, the paper demonstrates how new institutions have evolved which support financial accumulation through the commodification of IPR. The paper examines how legislation has been passed to protect the IPR of the North and then forced upon developing states. The commodification of IPR has been an important source of complementarity for financial markets, providing opportunities for speculation on the value of invisible assets in new markets. Unlike previous periods when technology transfer was made possible through weaker IPR regimes in less developed states, and so enabled catch up, in contemporary capitalism IPR regimes are specifically designed to maintain unequal growth. The paper illustrates the consequence of this inequality in relation to the inaccessibility of drugs to treat HIV and the maintenance of an unequal international system.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2006-06-01