"When R & D* is aimed mainly for general scientific knowledge, the needs of the poor, the global commons, or rapid social uptake, public financing is advantageous compared with reliance on patents. When R & D is targeted mainly for the rich or private use or gradual uptake, the patent-based incentives are relatively advantageous. In general, a healthy innovation system will use a mix of public financing and patents. For global sustainable development, the mix of public financing and private incentives should be harmonized globally to ensure that the needs of the poor and the global commons are properly addressed and financed by shared contributions of the world's governments."
Jeffrey Sachs, Common Wealth, Economics for a crowded planet, chapter "Our crowded planet".
* Research and Development