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Against Monopoly

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Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Innovation Easily Imitated? --- Fifty Year Anniversary of Containerization

Without patents, innovations will be imitated, and hence not developed. So goes the logic underlying most economic models of innovation. The case of the development of containerized shipping (a major transportation innovation) offers valuable lessons regarding this logic. If an innovation was to be easily imitated, the innovation of putting cargo in a box would seem to be a good candidate. Someone would load the first box on a ship, and then everyone would start doing it. Yet as Marc Levinson discusses in the 25 April, 2006 edition of the Financial Times, "Unforeseen consequence: how a box transformed the world," it took the industry a long time to understand how important the box would be, and how to use it. In fact, "the most remarkable aspect of its [the box] history is that no one foresaw how the box would change everything it touched, from ships and ports to patterns of global trade."

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If inventors had known they could patent putting stuff in a box they would've invented putting stuff in a box sooner! :-)

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