Musk Opens Patents at Tesla Because “We’re All On the Same Ship”

elon-musk-teslaIt is more common to see pigs fly than to see a corporate entity in America understand the importance of collectivism. Imperialist capitalism oft doesn’t make room for civic responsibility. Instead, the emphasis is almost always on dividends and profits over ethics and accountability. For these reasons, Silicon Valley CEO Elon Musk‘s decision to open all of Tesla’s patents because they want competitors to use the technology “in good faith” seems more like fable than fact.

According to the company’s website, Tesla “was founded in 2003 by a group of Silicon Valley engineers who set out to prove that electric vehicles could be awesome.” The company has been around for less than two decades but has dominated the electric automobile industry handily. While some argue that Tesla’s goals are not entirely altruistic (since more competition in the industry means a higher demand for their technology), it is hard to see this as a bad thing. Since their core business model improves the environment we all live in, I find it refreshing that this move benefits their company and the rest of us simultaneously.

You’d be hard-pressed to find Apple do something similar. And, for companies like McDonald’s and Walmart, issues like climate change have to be some of the absolute last things on their corporate agenda.

Last week, Musk sat with MSNBC Host Chris Hayes to explain his reasons for such an unprecedented move.

Noting that we all have a responsibility for the planet we cohabitate, Musk makes it clear that his goals are primarily about changing the expectations of automobile companies. Yes, Tesla will benefit from more charging stations along the road. Yes, companies like Ford using Tesla’s batteries means more congruence across the industry therefore less isolation for their brand. Yes, these things are true. But, there is no reason that Tesla shouldn’t be lauded anyway.

I, personally, am here for this. Competitors now have no excuse for making second-rate electric vehicles. Not only that, equity and transparency in the auto industry might help to assuage many of the concerns Americans have for leading us into the auto bailout.

Tesla earnings continue to stay strong even amidst a weakened market. Consumers love their cars. And, no other brand has thrived while making only environmentally friendly, luxury vehicles. They are winning right now. I say other brands – American ones in particular – seize this opportunity to capitalize on and build upon the technology Tesla has already developed. At least one car company has adopted the “we’re all in this together” mentality. Hopefully, it becomes an epidemic.

What do you think about Tesla opening up its patents? Good move or bad move? Will this change the electric car industry? Sound off in the comments below.

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Jenn M. Jackson

Jenn M. Jackson, PhD is a co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Water Cooler Convos. She is a native of Oakland, CA. Jenn is a radical Black feminist scholar who believes none of us are free until all of us are free.