High technology (or magic) available to characters never seems to trickle down to the populace. In particular, if a villain is in possession of a weapon which would be worth millions to the Pentagon, why would he limit himself to robbing banks with it? This especially applies to one-shot enemies on SpeculativeFiction series with amazing inventions that have never been seen before -- and are never seen again, unless that villain recurs. One suspect is the short half-life of the necessary [[{{Unobtanium}} Plotonium-186]] required to power this type of technology.

See also NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup, CutLexLuthorACheck, ReedRichardsIsUseless.


[[folder: ComicBooks]]
* This was the original rationale for changing ''Comicbook/{{Superman}}'' villain ComicBook/LexLuthor from a MadScientist to a CorruptCorporateExecutive.
** The villain Bloodsport had a [[HyperspaceArsenal teleporter capable of summoning weapons from a cache]]. Both the weapons and the teleporter were supplied by the corporate Lex Luthor, who could surely have made a fortune selling this stuff to the military.
* The Four in ''ComicBook/{{Planetary}}'' are described as having stockpiles of technology like this. Which they intentionally keep to themselves. The Four are also shown to be plotting to sell mankind to alien monsters, then leave their Earth for some other world to conquer. All that ultra-tech would come in pretty handy. Logical, really.
** After they're beaten, the Planetary Group switches from fighting them to distributing all that ultra-tech. Utopia ensues.
* ''IronMan'' once went on a campaign to destroy all the armor suits that he knew were stolen from him or based on his old designs.
** There are shades of this in ''Film/IronMan2''.
* After the registration act, the ComicBook/NewWarriors were reformed by members with stolen parts and prototypes of devices used by other {{Creator/Marvel}} characters. A Doc Ock harness, Scarlet Spider Web shooters, and a patch work IronMan were notable and they operated out of a deserted villain's base. The group did eat up some funds keeping everything working however.
* First {{lampshaded}}, then subverted by ''Comicbook/{{Starman}}''. When Jack Knight agrees to take on the mantle of Starman, he castigates his father for having had this incredible technology for years, but [[ReedRichardsIsUseless never doing anything with it]] except fighting {{supervillain}}s, and only agrees to be Starman if his father works on the civilian applications. At the end of the series, he delivers. (Though these were undone to fit him into Franchise/TheDCU.)

[[folder: {{Film}}]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', [[spoiler: the last stage of Syndrome's plan was to release his technology to the public and complete his image as the last super, but the heroes stopped him before he could set himself up as one]].

[[folder: {{Literature}}]]
* Justified in the ''Literature/WildCards'' series, wherein some examples of amazingly advanced technology ''appear'' to exist (independently of things brought by genuinely more advanced aliens); however, it turns out that the ability to build such machines is among the powers granted to some by the Wild Card virus. Most such devices will only work for the Aces who build them -- they're not really working machines, but a form of MagicFeather -- while the exceptions can't be reproduced by engineers whose brains haven't been rewired by an alien genetic weapon.

[[folder: WebComics]]
* ''Webcomic/AMiracleOfScience'' throws a spin on this by having "ScienceRelatedMemeticDisorder" as a plot device, and after the Mad Scientist is treated for said disorder (and prevented from doing stereotypical mad science activities, another parody AMOS uses), the "Plot Tech" devices ''can'' be used by the general population. For example, early in the series the Lunar Cannons - remarkably similar to those used in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' - were introduced as made by the ''first'' {{mad scientist}}.
** In fact, reassuring them of this is the final step in getting mad scientists to give up!
* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' there seem to be a handful of [[MadScientist Mad Scientists]] with extremely advanced technology, but at most they share their inventions with one corporation, not the entire world. Riff ''has'' tried selling his inventions on occasion, but they tend to be [[http://sluggy.com/daily.php?date=021228 too dangerous]] for most people to handle.

[[folder: WebOriginal]]
* Justified in {{Literature/Worm}}. Tinker technology tends to fail without constant maintenance by the original creator, so most Tinkers just use their technology for personal use (costumed adventuring mainly) rather than trying to mass produced and sell it.
* It's a major plot device in Whateley. In fact, Gadgeteers can release technology to the general public. Devisors cannot, at least normally. One clever thing, is a Devisor, whose powers only work for himself...who has the power to make REALLY GOOD BEER. The system he develops is promptly marketed, and since only he can install and maintain them, but the system is very, very good for mass production...he is a very rich man. Similarly, Iron Man style powered armor is quite common.

[[folder: WesternAnimation]]
* It seems in ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'', there is a level of super-technology ''only'' available to billionaires; as David Xanatos and others have access to airships, robots, etc.
** This is probably justified by having super-technology be so expensive that only billionaires could afford it. One is mentioned as having risked bankrupting his company making said airship.
** That seems like TruthInTelevision, as most shiny new technology costs millions (on the low side) to develop.
** ''Gargoyles'' also averts this and justifies FamilyFriendlyFirearms in one swoop by having an arms shipment get hijacked and distributed on the black market.
* All over the place in ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'', especially with her MadScientist ArchEnemy Dr. Drakken and GadgeteerGenius MissionControl Wade. With only a few exceptions, many of their creations appear once and [[NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup never again]].
* Norton Nimnul from ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'' invents all sorts of crazy gadgets that would make him a kajillion dollars if he sold them instead of using them to rob banks and otherwise bilk the populace. To his credit, he tries in a few episodes, but everyone laughs at him despite the inventions clearly working, mostly because Nimnul himself is a bit of a nutcase.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'': the innumerable hi-tech devices devised by infant genius Stewie Griffin, generally but not always with the idea of wreaking a terrible, painful, and undignified death to his mother Lois, who is blissfully unaware. It is made deliberately ambiguous as to whether Stewis really is a child genius, or if the weaponry and the adult-level dialogue is a dramatisation of the stage every parent knows as "the terrible twos", where the infant attempts to assert control, resents parental restriction, and gets really angry with its parents at the slightest provocation. Certainly, nobody else except Brian the dog hears Stewie's dialogue - nobody is perturbed at a toddler speaking and acting like a bile-filled Dr Evil. The possibility exists this is only wish-fulfilment, as Stewie's immense armoury of Plot Techology gadgets exists in an impossible space that the house in Spooner Street cannot possibly contain.