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David Fitzsimmons
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Al Gore is correct to note that the provision of intellectual property to developing nations for free, as per treaty, is inconsistent with the profit-driven economic model with which we are familiar. Prof. Bhagwati seems concerned that publicly funded research might lead to private profits, to which I say, is it not ever thus ? (or did I just forget to pay my Internet license fee this year ?) bottom line: I don't see how giving away IP works as a development process going forward.
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Try charting Ireland and Spain. The hypothesis is that all three nations endured a housing bubble, and therefore, due to the inventory overhang, employment in construction is impaired.
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All resource-extraction processes are polluting, to a greater or lesser extent. REE mining and refining is more polluting than most; that truth is at least half the reason Mountain Pass was closed. China has historically been less concerned about pollution and avoided the costly pollution-abatement regime the US had required, so they got the business. Now China is reorganizing the REE mining and refining sector, putatively for environmental reasons. I say "putatively" because there is also some sense that China would like a look at the various innovative products and processes that use these materials. Given their record on Intellectual Property, this is a real concern to the affected manufacturers, and even potentially a National Security issue. Mountain Pass is back in (limited) operation, under Molycorp. That said, the proximity of that mine to the populated regions of California will always be a limiting factor. The truth, however sad it may be, is that horribly polluting processes are best undertaken as far from populated areas as is practicable. Of course, there are alternatives. Lynas Corp, of Australia, operates a REE mine, in a limited way; and ships the raw ores to a Malaysian extraction facility. The people of that part of Malaysia have apparently accepted the trade-off of pollution versus employment.
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Aug 30, 2010