Re: capitalist religion (was: NANO: _Forbes_ cover story)

From: Randy Smith (
Date: Mon Jul 16 2001 - 16:48:47 MDT

>From: Mike Lorrey
>Subject: Re: capitalist religion (was: NANO: _Forbes_ cover story)
>Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 18:11:59 -0400
>Miriam English wrote:
> >
> > I just think it is a little rash of you to say that. Profit motive sees
> > much more "sense" in promoting expensive medical maintenance programs that
> > keep people on medications for the rest of their lives. Medical companies
> > don't like to spend money on researching ways to prevent or cure ills. That
> > cuts out their market.
>I wouldn't say that. I would say that they only focus on health problems
>for which there is a significant market, generally, and when they find a
>drug treats a rather rare disease, with lets say only a few hundred
>cases in the entire world, they have to not only divide the cost of
>tooling up, producing, and distributing the few doses of the drug to
>such a small market, that market has to absorb the huge amounts of
>research that went into discovering that drug. If, say, one dose costs
>many thousands of dollars, the drug company generally won't even put it
>through FDA trials (which is necessary to make it coverable by
>insurance), because such trials would require the company to treat the
>entire population that is sick, which kills the market, and you can't
>get paid for it after the fact by the insurance company.

 All true...but what does that have to do with what English said?

> > Many of the great success stories in clobbering diseases are publicly
> > funded. They drive such things as health and sanitation education, and
> > vaccination programs. Of course these then provide the market and incentive
> > for corporations to refine and supply the vaccines, etc. Both sides
> > (capitalist and publicly funded organisations) need each other to create a
> > balanced environment.
> >
> > If we had just capitalism managing medicine then we would see incredibly
> > expensive medicine that would serve the rich (that's where the money is),
> > but not much else.
>You are improperly assuming that no capitalist would engage in
>philanthropic activities, which is actually how much of the non-profit
>research is funded.


Drop. Bucket....

> > If we had only publicly managed medicine then we would see medicine ossify
> > and become more and more entrenched in tradition.
> >
> > Neither is the whole solution. Diversity, as in most things, is important.
> >
> > I worry when the economic rationalist religion is propagated as the
> > ultimate truth. It isn't. The world just isn't that simple.
> >
> > Did you know that many people who travel to USA worry about getting ill
> > while over there and accruing massive and crippling medical bills for
> > treatment that in Australia or UK or Europe would be relatively
> > inconsequential? Your medical system is heavily privatised and the most
> > expensive on the planet.
>Part of the reason it is so expensive is because socialist health
>systems externalize their highest costs onto our market, which drives up
>demand and therefore prices. How is this done? By purposely rationing
>expensive treatements such that the waiting lines for these treatments
>are longer than the life expectancy of the patients, so they instead
>come here to the US, pay out of their own pocket to get treated, and
>their buying that treatment here drives up the price here for our sick
>people to get the same treatment.
>If socialized health care systems provided the same access to care that
>we provide here, then our system would not be so expensive.


Let's see:  If our health care is the most expensive, it's because of all the people coming over here and getting medical care b/c they can't get it at home? How very strained....


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