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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Licensing of the unrevii email archives (wasre: Progress on...)

Peter Jones wrote:    (01)

> Eric Armstrong wrote:
> >The real issue here is that, for lack of profit, hugely beneficial
> >potential remedies go unadvertised, unpromoted, and unrecognized.
> I would just like to feed the plight of poor countries into that
> equation. Any patent just raises the barrier to entry of a remedy
> into a poor economy.
> And what are the chances that the chemicals from that remedy
> came from the purchase of land or knowledge at a snap from
> some hapless native, who then sees only fancy pill boxes in shops
> that he and his family can no longer afford, and land that he
> can no longer access.
> So maybe profit isn't the key that opens the door in all cases(?).    (02)

Hmmm. It's an interesting problem.    (03)

On the one hand, people living in industrial societies find themselves
in exactly the same situation as the folks who discovered polished
rice.    (04)

Since they subsisted on a diet that was mainly rice, and since the
new rice tasted a lot better (no bitter brown covering), it caught on
like wildfire.    (05)

But then Beri-Beri set in. So people who had been buying the new
rice (which cost more) now paid extra for the healthfood
supplement (which consisted of the rice tailings stuffed into a pill).    (06)

Of course only the very rich could afford the supplements, but
*everyone* was eating the cool new rice.    (07)

As tempting as it is to laugh at that predicament, we are in the
very *same* predicament with respect to our foods. However,
for lack of profit incentive, the solution is not even that readily
available! So we pay extra for other "remedies" (medicines) that
cause even more harm in the long term).    (08)

In my argument, I was focused on those industrial societies, seeking
to find a way to bring real solutions.    (09)

Now, in point of fact, poor countries have an even better remedy.
They don't need to find themselves in this predicament at all.    (010)

Three-dimensional, forest-based farming is currently being
practiced in Africa, India,  England, and Scotland. I have only
recently begun to investigate it, but it turns out that there is far
more information on the subject than I would have hoped.    (011)

A few tidbits:
   * Managing a 400x400 forest garden takes 4 hrs/week
   * There is no tilling, fertilizing, crop dusting, etc.
   * There are 7-levels of crops, rather than 1.
   * It produces at an equivalent of 15 tons per acre
   * It puts trees back on the planet, and we need them
   * I suspect it could transform suburia in a decade    (012)

Here we have a truly viable solution that creates problems for
many a seed supplier, fertilizer maker, and tractor manufacturer.    (013)

It would also decimate the medical industry, because a largely
healthy, vigorous population would no longer be flocking to
doctor's offices.    (014)

However, to return to your argument, I would say that the situation
with nutrional patents might be better than it is now, rather than
worse.    (015)

Here's why:
  * At the moment, the medicinal alternatives being recommended
     are drugs. (I consider *them* to be the "alternative" medicine.)
  * They'e patented, and they cost an arm and a leg, which hurts
     in a poor country, yes.
  * However, where nutritional remedies exist, they are unknown,
     unadvertised, and unprescribed.
  * So to the degree that a doctor's prescription is needed, what
     people are actually *getting* typically has adverse long-term
  * They're still paying out the nose for it, but don't even have
     more health-building alternatives to choose from.    (016)

So, while the effect you mention (greater prices) would most
likely occur, the result of that fact would be greater availability
and education on the subject, as described in a previous post.    (017)

The long term solution, of course, is backyard forest gardens
(also called homegardens,  or agroforestry). But for responses
to immediate health conditions (make my goiter go away!), there
needs to be an even playing field between poisonous, fast-acting
drugs and slower-acting, health-building nutrients.    (018)

Paul's interesting observation was that we could level the playing
field by removing the profit from the drugs, and I admit that is
another way to go about it. The political liklihood, on the other
hand, is near-zero, given the entrenched interests that would have
to be combatted.    (019)

I suspect that a more viable solution is the kind of "social judo"
that would gradually turn drug companies into vitamin companies,
over the course of the next few decades.    (020)