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Home / Tim Worstall /This command of other peoples’ stuff is very popular, isn’t it?

This command of other peoples’ stuff is very popular, isn’t it?

Summary:
As we noted yesterday there’s a certain fashion for assuming that other peoples’ property isn’t in fact other peoples’.Effectively commercialising innovation and then defending it from being snapped up by overseas rivals are vital too.For overseas to have any useful meaning here it would be necessary for the innovation, or the organisation, to be owned by the country. Which isn’t what is being talked about at all. Rather, the results of innovation having been done and being owned by people who happen to be residents or citizens of the country. And that insistence that they may not sell them as they wish is an insistence that it doesn’t belong to them but to the country.From Arm to Deep Mind, the AI firm acquired by Google, and Imagination Technologies, the chip group acquired by China’s

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As we noted yesterday there’s a certain fashion for assuming that other peoples’ property isn’t in fact other peoples’.

Effectively commercialising innovation and then defending it from being snapped up by overseas rivals are vital too.

For overseas to have any useful meaning here it would be necessary for the innovation, or the organisation, to be owned by the country. Which isn’t what is being talked about at all. Rather, the results of innovation having been done and being owned by people who happen to be residents or citizens of the country. And that insistence that they may not sell them as they wish is an insistence that it doesn’t belong to them but to the country.

From Arm to Deep Mind, the AI firm acquired by Google, and Imagination Technologies, the chip group acquired by China’s Canyon Bridge, there is a long list of cutting edge UK technology companies which have been taken over before they have had the chance to emerge as national champions.

What is this national champion shtick? They’re private companies in a capitalist system. They’re owned by the people who own them who may, therefore, dispose of them as they wish. They can, a necessary condition of the system itself, leave them to the cats home, to medical charity (as with Wellcome), keep them, float them on the stock market or sell them to Johnny Foreigner. That’s what private property means.

Again, it’s hard to know how much of this may be cultural. Are UK entrepreneurs happier to sell out and enjoy the fruits of their labours at an earlier stage than their hungrier and more red-blooded peers in Silicon Valley?

And if this is so? Apart from proof that British entrepreneurs are well rounded individuals who realise that money isn’t everything that is.

UK must refuse to sanction sales of tech stars

This is the declaration that your property is not your property, Comrade. Or perhaps closer to that other collective aberration, fascism, where the role of business is to be at the behest of the State.

We really do need to remember that lesson of the 20th century. We did get that natural experiment in collective and personal ownership of productive assets. And, in the words of PJ O’Rourke, “The privileges of liberty and the sanctity of the individual went out and whipped butt.”

Why would we want to reimpose a system we’ve just spent a century proving doesn’t work?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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