If there’s one thing that really pisses me off about the traditional capitalistic system, it’s the fact that people feel they have a right to patent ideas and technology in perpetuity. This is one reason why climate change prevention is being held up. Rich countries who want places like India to urgently reduce emissions, refuse to subsidize green technology that will help developing countries do just that. Instead, they want to be paid expensive license fees. Kind of like having your cake and eating it.
So it makes me happy when I see a company in India showing how things should be done. Ahmed Khan’s company in Bangalore is using discarded plastic to make roads which last longer – removing the need for the plastic to enter landfills. And it seems to be a success in Bangalore which already has around 1200 km built using this technology.
Image Credit: Himalayan Trails
Here’s my favorite part though: “The Khans’ business spread to other cities and states, and although they patented the plasticized pavement in India, other companies are copying the technology. The Khans said they had decided not to object”
Don’t you just love that? Inventions like this help the entire country and can speed up the process of making our living space a bit cleaner. Now with competition, prices can be cut and made more affordable. If this was a traditional western company, they would not only have not allowed anyone else to use it, they would also have charged triple the price of a regular road to maximize their profit and milk their monopoly.
Incidentally this highlights the difference between a professional corporate company and a smaller personal firm. The former doesn’t belong to any one person and has no morals other than profit. A smaller firm on the other hand is linked to a person and can behave ethically as well as make a profit. Can you for example imagine a corporate like AT&T giving away a technology to other people because it’ll be good for the country? Never! Till a few years back, I used to dislike smaller businesses, but now I understand why they’re better than large faceless organizations.
Profit isn’t the sole motive of innovation and human kind has adapted and succeeded in the world only because people copy others and when one person discovers something, the entire group shares the benefits. Here’s hoping that more of common sense prevails!