The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a variety of responses, but one of the most inspirational has been the private sector’s response that has been marked by initiative and innovation.
That’s the assessment of James Edwards, executive director of Conservatives for Property Rights, and we wholeheartedly agree with him.
He points out that:
Private-sector medical research-and-development firms, such as biopharmaceutical companies and clinical labs, have been working nonstop to discover diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and cures.
Medical device companies have been making medical products of all sorts that are running in short supply and creating new devices for this unique situation.
Various manufacturers, food companies and other businesses are retooling factories and reorienting facilities to add capacity and to mass-produce badly needed supplies and essential goods.
And don’t overlook digital apps, delivery services, truckers, first responders, grocers and others filling necessary roles often taken for granted.
Mr. Edwards wrote, “At times like these, we do well to take stock of fundamental assets that enable America not only to survive but to thrive amid challenges. These assets include limited government, a republic, private property rights, the rule of law, due process, a free-market economy and popular sovereignty. And sometimes underappreciated as an asset is innovation.”
To be sure, medical innovation is at the top of list, but American ingenuity hasn’t been limited to that. It’s been seen — and will continue to do so — in a multitude of economic and industrial sectors.
At a time like this, it’s important to remember that inventors assume tremendous financial and other risks. They experience many failures along the road to success — remember Thomas Edison’s “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” formula.
Trial and error is a given for innovators. Dead ends come with the territory of innovation.
U.S. innovators devote millions and millions of private dollars to research and development. Some of these investments go into applied research geared to commercializing basic research discoveries.
An innovator’s success stems from inventing and licensing patents — a well-established path to success that benefits the person or company making the discovery but also those who eventually make use of it.
Inventors learn from other inventors’ patents and invent new or improved devices, methods, processes, designs and software functions. This may lead to new markets and consumer benefits.
As America comes through the coronavirus and its vast economic destruction successfully, it would only be appropriate to acknowledge innovation as a national treasure.