Sunday, June 25, 2017

Saving Capitalism from Itself... Divine Intervention Required

Profiteering is illegal in some states. One is Florida.

Florida says those who have essential things like gasoline and food are not permitted to sell them at outrageous prices during an emergency, such as a hurricane. Even in Florida, a state not exactly well known for human rights or consumer protection, vendors are not allowed to rip off the public during a “declared” emergency.

So, what happens when the emergency is of the personal type? You know, like an illness. Say, kidney disease or liver cancer?

Well, in the good ole USA you are out of luck. Because the vendors, in this case Big Pharma people, can and do charge outrageous prices for life-sustaining and life-saving drugs which are only available through them. And, since the beginning of time, they have gotten away with it. (1.)
Please see reference 1 below.
To cover their tracks in the past they have declared that they must pay the heavy cost of their research and protect themselves from generic copying of their proprietary formulas. But when one ciphers out the actually dollars spent, that number is bogus because the industry actually spends more to market products than to develop them. (2.)

Please see reference 2 below.
It’s really an everyday example of profiteering by those that have over those who need. The difference, of course, is that Big Pharma is big - really, really big, compared to that tiny, Florida gas station owner.

No, Big Pharma is ripping Americans off to the tune of billions of dollars every year. And, has been doing it for years and years.

Believe it or not when Mr. Trump was a candidate for president he declared to the voting public that once he took over he would allow “importation of less expensive drugs into the U.S. to help bring drug prices” back down to earth.

The assumption that people, such as myself, made back then was that Trump says he would actually try to curtail profiteering by the big pharma and insurance industries to bring an itty-bitty bit of relief to the multitude of lowly, ill Americans.

Well, chalk another one up on the Big Deceptions Board. Mr. Trump appears to have made a sharp U-turn in favor of Big Pharma and the insurance people, selling out his supporters and the rest of us to the ravages of whatever illness we’ve contracted. (3.)

The whole story reminds me of a comment a friend made a few years back. I asked him why a CEO would take advantage of the buying public by outrageously overcharging for his product - which was only available from him. My friend gave this enlightening answer: “Because he can.”

No matter the industry, product or service, the American system provides few protections from profiteering. Now, President Trump has assured us… the average lowly, poor people… that we should expect to see profiteering sky rocket in the days ahead.

Contemplating how all this will play out for the countless people who are forced to choose paying for some life sustaining drug vs. putting food on the table (4.), my brain has become a bowl of jelly.

So, to help reconstitute it, my optimistic-self ferreted out a solution. Here’s how it goes…

Somewhere in the land where Jesus lived an archaeologist uncovered a wonderful artifact. Dusting it off, she held it in her hand and was immediately surprised as it seemed to come to life as the sunlight illuminated it.

She noted words, in Latin, and images of a balance scale inscribed on the sides of the small pyramid shaped object.

Beatus vir Dei es humilium respice: quoniam ipsi haereditate possidebunt terram.
Blessed is a man of God, look upon them that are humble, for they shall inherit the earth.

As she was translating the words in her mind she instantly recognized them as the third Beatitude from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, which is usually translated as, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”.

At the same time her smart phone buzzed into life with a text message: “Place this into the hand of the leaders of your corporations, banks, merchants of all kinds, government officials and clergy. It will instantly tell you the extent of their fraud and profiteering which they in turn must repay to every average, lowly person”.

Interesting, I thought. God* has given capitalism the tool it needs to police itself and eliminate the systematic avarice it sustains.

Do you think it will be used?

Nah. Not a chance.

* God in the form artificial intelligence (AI) e.g. Google algorithms.

1. Big pharma won’t stop raising prices in 2017 — it’ll just do it smarter, Emma Court, MarketWatch, 3 Jan 2017.

2. Pharmaceutical industry gets high on fat profits, Richard Anderson, BBC News, 6 Nov 2014.

3. Trump's drug price 'remedy' expected to be industry friendly, Sarah Karlin-Smith, Politico, 16 June 2017.

4. New Group Takes on Drug Prices and Big Pharma, Maggie Fox, NBC News, 22 Feb 2017.

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