capitalist religion (was: NANO: _Forbes_ cover story)

From: Miriam English (
Date: Mon Jul 16 2001 - 07:49:21 MDT

At 11:08 AM 15/07/2001 -0700, Reason wrote:

> From the capitalist point of view, hard drives are an easier way to make
>money than medicine. It's a more predictably market sector. Capitalism is
>not perfect, but it gets the job of technological advancement done a hell of
>a lot better than any of the alternatives. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs
>to read more history and look at the world a little more objectively.

Hmmm... I don't wanna start a major war here. :-/

I have the greatest respect for you Reason, and love the good sense in most
of what you write...

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.

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.

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.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying the US medical system is crap. It has
its uses -- its advantages and disadvantages... but that doesn't make it
better than other systems. In fact American medicine is becoming irrelevant
to large parts of its own society thru its inability to attend to the needs
of the great numbers of poor.

Darn... I have this horrible, sinking feeling I have just started a
patriotic, capitalist, flame war... oops. :-)


         - Miriam

Q. What is the similarity between an elephant and a grape?
A. They are both purple... except for the elephant.
Virtual Reality Association

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