Kleptocracy

Having recovered the lamp the genie offers you a wish.  Having rescued his daughter the king grants you a wish.  Having suffered the tortures of the damn’d you can slip anything you want into the final draft of the industrial standard.  What do you ask for?  During his short time at Harvard I gather that Bill Gates mused that it would be nice to own the traffic lights.  I call that owning a standard.  We oft see patent trolls pop up after a standard builds it’s installed base claiming to own the right to tax the traffic.  Gates built his monopoly the old fashion way.  That is somewhat more ethical.

Patents are only one way that the king can grant his minion’s wishes.  The crude example: no-bid contracts are good, and why bother to audit them?    Clever wishing runs along the lines of Bill Gate’s thinking.  Own a piece of the transaction flow.  Find a place with a high traffic standard and get the option to take a piece of the action.  And so I’m very impressed by what Eaton industries managed to pull off in the UK.  They got proprietary ownership of a new light bulb socket, it’s written right into the building code.  The socket’s aren’t that expensive, but the bulbs that go into them!  Twenty dollars a bulb in excess profits!  And you have to admire the crust of greenwash (the intent of the standard was to increase the use of high efficency bulbs).

Institutional failures like this should be fixed.  There should be ways to taking the wish back.  While we wait for that, daring individuals can hack their sockets.

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