The last several centuries have seen a transformation in the ways in
which wealth is generated. As society has transformed itself in the postindustrial
era, "knowledge" and "information," as opposed to land and
physical property, have increasingly become the primary sources of wealth
generation. For example, historically, it was ownership of the forest that
was the principal channel for the derivation of riches. Today it is the
possession of the patent in the pharmaceutical product derived from the
leaves of the trees of the very same forest that is the fountain from which
the greatest wealth springs. It is not surprising, therefore, that the strategy
of wealth maximization has shifted from the desire to accumulate physical
property to one in which the domination of intellectual property rights
("IPRs") has become preeminent.
The "Tragedy of the Commons" in Plant Genetic Resources: The Need for a New International Regime Centered Around an International Biotechnology Patent Office,
Yale Hum. Rts. & Dev. L.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yhrdlj/vol4/iss1/3