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

From: Miriam English (
Date: Wed Jul 18 2001 - 09:35:09 MDT

At 02:19 PM 18/07/2001 +0200, Anders Sandberg wrote:
>Odd. Here in Europe ulcers are commonly treated with Losec to get the acid
>concentration down, combined with an antibiotic to get rid of the
>Heliobacter. OK, it won't cure *all* ulcers, but it has moved most gastric
>ulcers into the minor problem category. BTW, diet and lifestyle seems to be
>less relevant to the illness than previously believed.

Oh, okay, it is an antacid. I thought you were referring to something that
specifically knocked out the bacteria. Then it isn't a cure. No worries. I
should find out more about it nevertheless. It sounds interesting.

>I think others have given more detailled answers to these arguments. On a
>more general level I think it is more important to think in terms of
>how well different systems work in different situations, and which can be
>implemented ethically. Saying that capitalism is not an universal solution
>to every problem is a truism; it is more interesting to look at questions
>about what alternatives exist and when they might be applicable, and
>whether one can propose systems of allocation that are better.

I agree completely.

>You can get capitalism to solve your problems if you find a way of
>converting your wish into money. If people show that they are willing to
>pay for a solution, then a market exist. It might require some lateral
>thinking of finding a way of making money from selling drugs to the very
>poor, but I think it can be done. As a first approximation, what about
>something similar to that publishing scheme where for every book sold a
>copy goes to the third world? If for every second (or tenth) aspirin sold
>in the west an antimalaria pill was given to (say) WHO. "Ethical drugs"
>might be a great marketing trick (which incidentally might force a
>reconsideration of the heavy bottom-line thinking in publicly funded health

Interesting idea. Wouldn't it be cool if things like this could be used. It
would be such a coup for the advertising industry, which has such a bad
name at the moment, to pull off something like this -- to be the saving
force for millions in the third world! Imagine the friends and allies it
would make in the third world. It might even undo some the public relations
damage done by pharmaceutical companies' refusal to allow cheap anti-AIDS
drugs to be sold in the third world.

Nice conversing with you Anders, as always.

Best wishes,

         - 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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