Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 June 2021
This concluding chapter seeks to reiterate themes and lines of argument, while laying a foundation for discussion and judgment about the place of intellectual property in our political communities today. To summarize: the modern nation-state system, powered partly by intellectual property law, is fundamentally an order of obligation, an organization of vast social networks, in which legal instruments with ancient roots performatively link people and organizations together with their national polities into a joint project of economic expansion. The social formation story that I have told in tracing the development of this system is one in which Roman law and Biblical law were drawn together under the authority of bishops and kings to support a very modern, and very strange, adaptation of Abrahamic faith traditions, an adaptation in which faith is placed in legality, and hope is placed innovation. A characteristic set of anxieties accompanies this modern faith tradition, anxieties that our nation will fall behind in the race for innovation, and will lose its fragile position of dominance in a global order of power.