Monday, March 01, 2010

Monetizing the World

On the dashboard*, the page that does all of the nuts and bolts for blogs on blogspot/blogger, they is button to 'monetize' your blog. Needless to say as an anarchist I won't be monetizing my blog, I'd like less monetization in my life, not more. But, it's mere existence reminds me of a constant annoyance: seeing everything be monetized.

The first time I was really made aware of this was at a conference on intellectual 'property'. One of the presentations was on a program in India that patented or registered traditional remedies for various different diseases and maladies. This program was started in response to a major pharmaceutical company taking a traditional remedy, patenting it and making boat loads of money off of it. People clearly saw a problem with this. The solution, which was developed by a group of non-profits, was to register the various traditional remedies so if another company tried to do the same thing there would be legal recourse and the local communities would receive compensation.

During the Q & A one of the attendees asked if this was really the right way to go. Shouldn't the remedies be open and available for use by all, because they had been developed over centuries, if not longer, by hundreds or thousands of people. How could you consider this some sort of protected intellectual property in terms of monetization? Who exactly was deserving of the money from this? Why was the paradigm of intellectual property necessary at all in these cases, especially when many of these traditional remedies had been around for centuries?

Of course, the answer was eminently practical, and in a way right. This registering was necessary because without it the people involved would get screwed by the pharmaceutical companies. But it shouldn't be right. We really do need to stop the monetization of everything. Personally, I'd like to see huge swaths of the world, if not all of it, demonetized.

A I noted in my previous post, I've recently made the rather rash and probably bad decision to become an artist. I really don't expect to make money off of it. Sure, I recently hung some of my paintings at a show and priced them, but I priced them so high I knew they wouldn't sell. I didn't want to sell them for a number of reasons, first and foremost because I didn't want to let them go. They were some of the first things I've done and I'm rather attached to them. More than that though, I can't stand the idea of selling art. All that emotion, and sometimes even thought, that goes into it just makes it feel so much more than money.

But, I guess that's just the way the world works. For the time being at least.

*Please, don't get me started on how much I hate the car metaphors sprinkled throughout our daily lives. I don't drive a car, I drive my bike, mainly because I can't stand cars.

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