“Ol’ Billy was right: shoot all the lawyers; shoot them tonight.”
In a world of bailouts and crony capitalism – which is to say, in the world we live in today – a rational businessperson has to compare the return on investment between improving a product or service, or lobbying the government for goodies.
Frequently, the latter looks better: If you spend $1 million on lobbying, and get a $1 billion subsidy from the government, that’s a thousand-fold return on your money.
My own take is that this is just part of the “I, me, mine” mentality of the boomers institutionalized by a leadership composed primarily of Boomers, writ large, and extends to areas beyond the government.
For example, I know a fellow who is being sued by a patent troll. This patent attorney is suing my friend and a number of other companies on a junk patent for a basic technology patent which is arguably functionality predating the patent, on a fundamental concept (a mobile phone sending data captured from a user to a remote server and getting a response) that is essential to most networked mobile applications, and which, even if it were a reasonable patent rather than junk, doesn’t apply to any of this fellow’s applications anyway. (No data captured by the user is transmitted remotely.)
The patent doesn’t cover a core discovery or invention; it is simply a license for an unscrupulous lawyer to pad his own pocket by suing people whose applications may or may not fit within the parameters of the junk patent, based on the idea that it is expensive for a non-lawyer to either represent himself or find a lawyer.
This is simply legal blackmail.
Courtesy of a system constructed by lawyers, from the laws that favor issuing a junk patent and thus requiring expensive litigation to sort out, to the laws that establish a licensing scheme that makes hiring lawyers expensive, making litigation an expensive option to begin with.
The takers are winning.
We’ve become a nation where “I, me, mine” has been institutionalized, where “fair” has been replaced by “what can I get away with”, where reasonableness has been replaced with litigation and legally blackmailing people with the threat of litigation.
You can’t run a nation this way forever. Eventually it collapses or someone snaps.