Sunday, October 21, 2007

Non-harmonic harmony

For anyone that has had the dubious pleasure of listening to my classes, presentations or other instances of verbal incontinency, the fact that my academic and intellectual pursuit is dedicated to the search of regulatory harmonization in the international arena is well known. The portal towards the study of IT and IP issues took the form of my MA and PhD in International Cooperation at Nagoya University, Japan, within the area of the Legal System of International Cooperation, and from there the current endeavours into global IP, knowledge industries regulation in general and ICT law in particular, but even when dealing with some purely domestic very technical issue (technical as per legal technicality) the idea is to clarify it so to allow greater international harmonization, and the choice of IT/IP issues relates to the understanding that the only solution to effective, rational and market-enabling regulation in those areas rests on international agreements. However, today is one of those days that my quest seems to be stupidly naïve and unachievable: I am here waiting for my mother to hang-up with whoever is calling her, so I have my turn to tell her “Happy Mothers’ Day”, which I would have to say on the fourth Sunday in Lent in UK, second Sunday in May in the US and countries as close from Argentina as Uruguay, and a vast array of days if I were to move to other country (Wikipedia has a list of countries with its respective days). Can it be so difficult to harmonize a unique global Mothers’ Day? OK, the issue is irrelevant unless you live in one country and you have your mother, mother in law, and sisters in law who are mothers in three countries, but there are other more relevant examples to show that international harmonization is a very distant goal perhaps not a goal at all. Voltage? Although it is true that there have been some improvements in the collage of voltages used around the planet, mainly through successful regulatory harmonization, it seems quite odd that we are trying to harmonize very complex standards when something as simple (and relatively easy to convert) as voltage is still so different in many countries. You then go into the issue of the electric plugs and things go bizarre: there are 13 different types of electric plugs around the world, and no process of harmonization in sight.

So, if harmonising things as simple as how many blades and of what shape an electric plug should have seem to be impossible, you can imagine how incredibly more difficult is to harmonize regulation to anything because, in addition to the different ideologies and interests behind each kind of regulation, most regulatory changes have a cascade effect onto the rest of the legal system. If you harmonize regulation to privacy, that would have impact in banking laws, health care, contract law, and a long list of etceteras, and in the IP arena the impact is bigger and not easily quantifiable…so, today is one of those days that I think that it would be better to change the subject-matter of my intellectual journey towards something more productive and fulfilling as origami

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