Wednesday, January 04, 2006

TV, Collectivism, and Charity

Ok, doggies are eating dinner.

Earlier this evening, Lisa and I watched this week's episode of "House". You know, the show about the asshole-genius doctor, who can diagnose the most difficult of diseases?

I love that show. I love to see geniuses getting to be assholes, just because they can, because nobody else can do what they do.

This episode had a character I thoroughly despised. And it was written well enough that I had FUN despising him!

The sick person of the week is a doctor who works in Africa, treating TB... and comes down with TB and something else that's tough to diagnose (of course).

But what makes me hate him is he is a classic collectivist - near the beginning of the episode is a scene where he's addressing a pharmaceutical company's board, trying to get them to donate more medicine. Board member says, "We already donate ten thousand doses a year-" "But it's not enough", interrupts the TB doc. "Noticed you have a new sports car - saw it on the way in. Expensive, huh?" "Don't make this personal", says the board member. TB doc - "German - lots of expensive red tape, wasn't there?" Board member - "Unlike you, I don't mind earning a living."

Classic collectivism.

"If you produce something, of have something, you OWE IT to the people who don't produce anything, or have anything - just because you have it, and they don't, so you shoud GIVE it to them."


In this episode - "Oh, you evil pharma company, you have warehouses full of this stuff that people need - give it to them!"

Nevermind what it cost the pharmco to make it.

Nevermind what it cost the pharmco to DEVELOP IT. That's the real cost of pharmaceuticals, in case any of my Gentle Readers didn't know it. A drug maker can work for years, or DECADES, trying to develop a treatment for a given disease. Years and DECADES of paying for expensive researchers and chemists, years and DECADES of building and maintaining expensive research labs and the associated equipment. Years and DECADES of work, with no payoff in sight. Yeah, high-profile diseases like cancer and AIDS get plenty of donations and gov't grants that help pay those costs, but they don't cover them completely. Drug makers fund that research, in hopes of a future product they can market, out of their PROFITS. Yeah, the ugly (to the collectivist) P-word - profit. Guess what? No profits, no future research. Not to mention that most drug makers are public corporations, and if their boards GIVE AWAY all their product (aka profit), and harm their shareholders by doing so, not only will said drug maker lose in the stock market (and thus have less capital to invest in research), they will be LIABLE, civilly at best, criminally at worst, for mishandling their investors' money.

Drug makers are in the business of selling pharmaceuticals for a profit. They are not a charity organization, and they shouldn't be. Charity organizations don't come up with answers to fix problems, they use other people's money to treat the problem, usually without fixing it.

Don't get me wrong - charity is a GOOD THING. Most pharmcos make generous donations, either in money, or in their product, to charitable organizations. But FORCED charity is theft.

Personally, I'm more in favor of 1-on-1 charity - find someone that needs help, find out HOW they need help, and provide help that they need.

That was Dad's preferred form of charity, and it's mine too - that was the impetus behind my trip to Mississippi last year, as well as how Dad (indirectly) and I took care of one particular Katrina victim who ended up here in the DFW Metroplex after being evac'd from New Orleans.

There's room in this world for BOTH profit AND charity.

Leave charity to those who are motivated to "care for their fellow human", and leave finding answers to those who are motivated by being paid for said answer. Things work pretty well that way.


Blogger Cap' Mo said...

On the pharmco's side, I have to jump in here bud. My cousin works for a big (I mean super-major big pharmco) and has told me about the uberstupid regs that they have to go through just to get the FDA to evaluate a product. Now lets put our collective political know-how together here and acknowledge that there will never be a new drug that can be released without a federal payoff. Between the two of us we may come up with a 100% proven cure to the common cold but without buying an FDA approval we would never be able to move forward with this prospect.

11:07 PM  
Blogger David said...

Well said, Aaron!

1:21 PM  

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