Waiving COVID Patents: A Step to Socialism

America’s credibility and strength are not a partisan matter or even up for political debate — when America loses, the American people loses.  When America’s respectability is weakened internationally, the American democracy suffers.

After the disastrous — and very unfortunate for the American people — job reports of last month, President Biden decided to give a golden opportunity to European countries and the European Union (as an organization) to humiliate the USA.

Recently, the land of creativity, innovation, the free market, self-determination, and individual ingenuity seemed to have turned into the land of coercion and government control in the international arena.  For the first time, the country that created the system that (with its flaws and merits) allowed social mobility, freedom, and hope in the unlimited boundaries of human capabilities appeared worldwide as a socialist country.

I am referring to the Joe Biden’s administration’s announcement of its support for the waiving of COVID vaccine patents.  Even European countries — the most socialist ones — are refusing this proposal.  And the irony is that the European countries turned the Biden administration’s suggestion away in a convention held in Oporto, Portugal about a “Pledge for a Social Europe.”  The European leaders pledged to enhance the so-called “European social model” despite the fact that they had rejected the Biden administration’s idea of waiving patents for the COVID-19 vaccines.

Quite ironically: The socialist European countries rejected an idea supported by the current U.S. administration basically because…it is too radical.  Only the political parties in Europe that support regimes such as those in Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and Communist China are cheering Biden’s announcement.  Thus, Joe Biden, with this amateur and reckless move, undermined American leadership of the Free World. This must not happen again.

To be perfectly honest, President Biden’s motive is noble — to allow mass production of the vaccine to end the pandemic.  However, there are many other solutions.  The reason for the existence of patents is to allow innovation, to protect intellectual and industrial property as an incentive to push the boundaries of possibilities in each time of history.  Patent-waiving would be practically an eminent domain situation: the government would have to justly compensate the (American) pharmaceutical companies for the infringement of their private property protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Additionally, another really relevant question must be asked: should be the United States offer vaccine patents to the world?  Should the United States have announced its openness to waive the vaccines patents prior to other countries, mainly China, Russia, and Germany?  Prior to countries where the private property protections are not — putting it mildly — so strong?

For so many years, we have been hearing about the vices of (American) unilateralism compared with the merits of multilateralism.  Multilateralism would be the salvation of the world.  Therefore, one must ask: where is the U.N.?  Shouldn’t the U.N. step up and find some solution?  Do something useful for a change? 

Let us be clear: the U.S. already pays for USAID (more than 35 billion dollars), pays major contributions to the WHO (which Biden administration decided to rejoin — the United States is the major contributor to WHO by far, paying more than double what China pays), and now has joined COVAX (Joe Biden announced $4 million to COVAX, which is the lion’s share of the funding!).

The generosity of the American people to the world is beyond doubt and well proved again and again throughout the years.  There is absolutely no need for Joe Biden to put another burden on American private creative agents, making them pay to finance other countries by establishing a mandatory international sale of intellectual property.

This is even worse when you take into account that this major burden put on all Americans — through general taxes, which finance international institutions, and the “hidden tax” that the Biden administration was open to imposing on the American pharmaceutical sector — would be made without pursuing any American foreign policy priority.

On the contrary, the massive transfer of knowledge to foreign countries and to the international institutions would benefit America’s main enemies: they would learn from the best and use it against America in the future.

In fact, waiving the COVID-19 vaccines’ patents will allow the Chinese Communist Party access to American pharmaceutical knowledge at no cost, improving the Chinese vaccines and allowing cheaper production to surpass America.  Next time, America and the world would be dependent on Chinese Communist Party’s goodwill, even to develop a new vaccine that might be necessary in the future.

We cannot mince words here: once America waives the vaccines’ patents, setting this dangerous precedent — China would immediately create a system of intellectual property rights protection to attract the pharmaceutical corporations and other powerful players to move there.  This would be the perfect cocktail to destroy the free world: some strong protections of intellectual property rights combined with low wages and no worker’s rights.  America and the free world would be economically dead pretty fast.

Do not forget a simple premise of world politics (and life): knowledge is power.

All things considered, I do trust that this was nothing more than a stunt by the Biden administration.  The U.S. will not back waiving COVID-19 vaccines’ patents.  This is not a question of liberalism versus conservatism.  Rather, it was a matter of America’s vital interests.  Americanism is not (should not be) a partisan issue.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.

Leave a Reply