KEI remarks on accepting the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions
James Love
Knowledge Ecology International
October 5, 2006
Thank you. Thanks in particular to Elspeth Revere and Kathy Im.
This award recognizes the collective efforts of our very devoted and talented staff and board. The money and the recognition will make it possible for Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), our new corporate entity, to do more.
What is KEI about? At one level, we are concerned about fairness, and access to knowledge. We also are supportive of creative and inventive communities. To reconcile our interests, we promote new paradigms for the creation and management of knowledge resources.
Why knowledge goods? Because knowledge is essential for so many things, including freedom, the exercise of political power, and economic, social and personal development.
Knowledge goods are also fundamentally different from physical goods and services. They can be copied. They can be shared. They do not have to be scarce. The rich and the poor can be more equal in knowledge goods than in many other areas.
One KEI focus concerns medical inventions, including medicines. We have played a key role in persuading the world that governments should override exclusive rights of patents when necessary to obtain less expensive generic medicines. We have promoted the idea that governments should refashion trade agreements to focus on global sharing of the costs of R&D, rather than dictating rules for patents or raising drug prices.
In the United States and elsewhere we are asking for a radical change in the system for incentives for supporting medical R&D. We want to replace marketing monopolies for new medicines with new rewards for inventions that improve health care outcomes. By this time next year there will be a much larger national and global debate on this new paradigm for supporting medical R&D.
This work, as well as our other projects, will benefit from the resources and prestige of this award. Thank you.

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