Ceremonialism, Intellectual Property Rights, and Innovative Activity

Adkisson, Richard V.
June 2004
Journal of Economic Issues (Association for Evolutionary Economi;Jun2004, Vol. 38 Issue 2, p459
Academic Journal
This article discusses the importance of innovation in driving social progress. U.S. President George W. Bush recognizes the importance of technological innovation. Recognizing its importance, the granting of intellectual property rights has been long viewed as one way to encourage innovators to innovate. Innovators are granted exclusive control over the use of their innovations, including the right to sell or otherwise generate income through their control of property rights. Income thus generated provides financial support and incentives to innovators. Ceremonial encapsulation occurs when ceremonial values are allowed to alter or otherwise limit the application of technologies instrumental in the process of social problem solving. A simple, perhaps harmless, example of ceremonial encapsulation is the refusal to use the number 13 when applying the instrumental technology of numbering seats in airplanes or floors of buildings. Intellectual property rights (IPRs) have been granted in Europe since at least the fourteenth century. IPRs are intended to correct a market failure caused by the public-good characteristics of many innovations. The legal basis for the U.S. IPRs is found in the U.S. Constitution.


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