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Project data
Authors Joshua M. Pearce
Completed 2022
Instance of Nuclear disaster
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Although international law forbids nuclear attacks, only nine states have mutually assured destruction available to prevent direct attacks against themselves, while non-nuclear states have few substantive options to deter a nuclear attack. This study analyzes the economic impacts of a theoretical international agreement that eliminates patent rights for any nuclear aggressor (i.e., free global compulsory licensing of all intellectual property (IP) for a nuclear aggressor). The results found that all but one of the nuclear states would have a significant economic disincentive to start a nuclear attack if the proposal was put into force. Payback times ranged from 1.2 to 40 years, where the entire GDP of a nuclear aggressor would be needed to offset the loss for aggression, indicate such a mechanism as a whole would be an effective nuclear deterrent. This method would not be universally effective without ensuring all nuclear states are members of the international economy and IP processes. With the growth of open-source products and reduced value of patents, this mechanism does have a limited effectiveness time. Currently it appears to be a policy trajectory worthy of future work that can enhance safety from nuclear threat without causing harm to countries of goodwill.

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