From China, with love
My mother recently retuned from a trip to China, a two-week tour guided–remarkably enough–by one of the student leaders of the Tiananmen Square uprising. He’d fled the country after the uprising was crushed, but had returned to care for his ailing mother, and was supporting himself by guiding tours. When she returned, she sent along a box of souvenirs including my children’s name in traditional Chinese characters, t-shirts with pandas and the great wall, and other knick-knacks, along with an opinion piece from the English-language Shanghai Daily by economics Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. Stiglitz’s four-column piece describes the damage that is being done to innovation and developing countries by the IP regime put in place by the TRIPS agreements in the early 1990’s, which he says was enacted to suit pharmaceutical and entertainment industry interests. Braithwaite and Drahos back this assertion up convincingly. I can only hope this argument begins to be made more strongly and from more quarters here in the States.