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The Eagle Is Grounded

From Wired, Issue 12.02, February 2004

The Eagle Is Grounded

While America works to protect intellectual property, everyone else is innovating.

By Thomas Goetz

In the late 1960s, the US cargo shipping industry was in trouble. The 2,000-vessel fleet that ruled the seas after World War II had dwindled to fewer than 900. New technologies – containers, automated loading – were taking hold on foreign ships while America clung to old methods. As a result, other countries were transporting nearly 80 percent of worldwide traffic.

So the government threw a lifeline: the Merchant Marine Act of 1970, which provided new protections and massive subsidies for the industry. As President Richard Nixon described it, the act would “replace the drift and neglect of recent years and restore this country to a proud position in the shipping lanes of the world.” >>Read more

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