Washington Post Op-Ed Miserably Fails Business 101

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

We are in the Age of Stupid.  We the Thinking have been concussed into a stupor — and forcibly submerged beneath the waves of idiocy.

There is so much dumbness coming at us from so many directions, it is impossible to deal with it all, let alone fight it all off.

The best one afflicted with intelligence can do is choose one’s spots and pick one’s battles.  You aim for the biggest targets, the most fundamental errors.  If you’re going to highlight Stupid, get back to basics.

Jeff Bezos’ plaything periodical The Washington Post this weekend afforded us one such opportunity.

Our Patent System Is Broken. And It Could Be Stifling Innovation:

“Patents were never supposed to reward failure.”

This is a two-channel avalanche of stupidity.  It is an assault on the most successful patent system in the history of the planet — and on basic economics:

“Patents are supposed to incentivize success. Across more than 200 years, they have emerged as an important tool for advancing society by encouraging inventors to create and share successful innovations, in exchange for the right to exclude others from the market for a limited period of time.

“And yet that’s not how patent law works today. Rather, we are at risk of incentivizing failure. The courts, Congress and boardrooms are advancing a simple logic that turns the patent system on its head. The consequences are on display in the pharmaceutical industry, which uses patents on successful drugs as vehicles to compensate for the losses companies incur when other research doesn’t pan out….

“For example, a Johnson & Johnson report argues that the cost of a drug should not only reflect research costs related to that drug, but also should include expenses from ‘drug candidates that fail in development.’ The company contends that ‘pharmaceutical companies and the rest of the scientific community can learn from these failures to improve the research process,’ suggesting that consumers should pay for these failures.”

The author of this nonsense is Robin Feldman.  She’s a college professor, so of course, she knows absolutely nothing about how the world actually works.

Feldman is also the author of a book — “Drugs, Money, & Secret Handshakes: The Unstoppable Growth of Prescription Drug Prices.”  So she has myopically fixated her stupidity on pharmaceutical drugs — when you’re a hammer, all the world looks like nails.

But Feldman’s stupidity isn’t limited to her analysis of drugs and their patents.  It is as wide, deep, and all-encompassing as all the Earth’s oceans.

EVERY company in the history of companies “uses (products) as vehicles to compensate for the losses companies incur when other research doesn’t pan out.”  Because that’s the only way every company in the history of companies generates any revenue — on its products.

A company’s successful products must pay for ALL its operational costs.  Its employees, offices, supplies, electricity, water,….  And its research/work in search of possible new products.  Not all of which pans out.

The price of your gasoline at the pump reflects, in part, the cost of oil companies drilling a lot of dry holes.  Not every derrick drop is a gusher.

But you don’t know if research/work will result in success or failure prior to engaging in the research.  Because duh.

So companies roll the dice and take their chances.  And thank God they do.  Else we would have stopped having new stuff a LOOOOOOONG time ago.

And they have to make up for their losses — on their wins.  Because duh.

This Feldman/WashPost act of inanity is presented as yet another Leftist assault on patents and our uber-successful American patent system.  Because Leftists love to assault patents and our uber-successful American patent system.

But the dumbness is so much….more than just that.

It is a flagrant display of a fundamental misunderstanding of basic business practices.

It is an F- in Business 101.

Best leave the thinking to others, Ms. Feldman.