Understanding Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual property rights, TRIPS, patents-they sound technical, even boring. Yet what kinds of ideas, technologies, identification of genes, even manipulations of life forms can be owned and exploited for profit by giant corporations is a vital issue for our times. Vandana Shiva shows how the Western-inspired and unprecedented widening of the concept of intellectual property does not stimulate human creativity and the generation of knowledge. Instead, it is being exploited by transnational corporations and used to increase their profits. This is done at the expense of the health of ordinary people especially the poor, and the age-old knowledge of the world’s farmers. Intellectual protection is being transformed into corporate plunder. Little wonder popular resistance is rising around the world to the World Trade Organisation, the group that polices this new intellectual world order, and the pharmaceutical, biotech and other dominate corporations. This resistance is also being directed towards the new technologies foisted upon us.
Two authors, one an economist, the other a physicist and philosopher, come together in this book on a controversial environmental agenda. Using interview material, they bring together women’s perspectives from North and South on environmental deterioration and develop and new way of approaching this body of knowledge which is at once practical and philosophical. Do women involved in environmental movements see a link between patriarchy and ecological degradation? What are the links between global militarism and the destruction of nature? In exploring such questions, the authors criticize prevailing theories and develop an intellectually rigorous ecofeminist perspective rooted in the needs of everyday life. They argue for the acceptance of limits, the rejection of the commoditization of needs, and a commitment to a new ethics.