Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
We all share the desire to live healthy and meaningful lives, in communities that keep us safe, provide us and our children with educational and employment opportunities and leave us the freedom to choose our own paths. Economist Amartya Sen challenged societies to pursue these ends – referred to as human development – rather than only narrower objectives like increasing gross domestic product. That is, we should measure individual endeavour and national wealth in terms of how well each of us can live rich rewarding lives, not just how much financial output we produce per capita. Moreover, we should organize our social institutions to help us in this broader effort.
This book brings a human development perspective to the complex institutions, laws and practices referred to collectively as intellectual property, or ‘IP’. What is the role of IP in human development? The answers to be found in the following chapters provide a fresh look at IP and how it affects the ability of people in developing countries to benefit from advances in medicine, agriculture, education, the arts and cultural traditions. The authors go further by looking at how trends and future changes in IP laws might impact people in developing countries, for better or worse.