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Capitalism Fails Again

Entry 1457, on 2012-11-05 at 20:41:34 (Rating 4, Politics)

Something has got to change. We can't let things carry on working the way they do now. It's one thing having the greediest, most mediocre, and most useless people having the most power but it makes it so much worse when we are expected to admire and thank these same people for the privilege of having them there.

There are endless examples of the problem, but the one which initiated this particular rant was the latest profit announced by one of the big Australian banks which operates here in New Zealand. The bank, Westpac, increased its profit by 23% this year while the rest of the country suffered through an economic decline.

Some people might say that they are operating their business efficiently and deserve the benefits. Others might say they are basically stealing from our economy when we can least afford it. And the fact that they are making very little back in their home country of Australia is interesting. Does that mean that they can't operate efficiently there? Or that they are subsiding the operations in their home country by exploiting us?

Many people would be fairly disgusted at this sort of behaviour, so how did the bank defend itself? A representative said that we should be thankful that we have a strong banking system! Yes, this scumbag thinks we should be happy that Westpac is siphoning off huge profits while our economy continues to fail.

Another big issue in the news today was the report on the death of 29 miners about a year ago in the Pike River coal mine. Why did these people die? Was it because of an unfortunate and unpredictable accident? Or irresponsible behaviour by the miners? No, it was because the mine management cared far more about making a quick profit than they did about the safety of their workers. They effectively killed them through pure deliberate negligence.

But it wasn't just the company to blame because previous New Zealand governments have reduced the powers of the authorities who monitor safety in mines so much that there was little monitoring of what was going on there.

Our Prime Minster calls it a "low touch, high trust" model. In other words we trust the companies to maintain their own safety standards. Who really thinks this could work? Clearly it's a further example of the attitude of the 80s and 90s where governments were convinced that business could be trusted. Unbelievably, some people think it's still true!

Finally, here's an international example. A new book has described how drug companies manipulate scientific research to push products which either don't work or are no better than those which already exist. They also deliberately produce new drugs which are almost identical to existing ones and which are not tested against existing options.

The big drug companies aren't doing any real research into the new drugs we need. They're just re-formulating existing drugs, falsifying the results, and using dishonest marketing campaigns to try to encourage doctors to use their products. The small number of genuinely new drugs which are produced usually come through university research which is taken over and exploited by drug companies.

Why would a drug company care about producing the drugs society needs when their only real motivation is to make money? The wouldn't, of course because this is just another example of where the commercial model simply doesn't work.

Yes, it's all a total failure really. If we ever needed any further proof that the free market and pure capitalism just don't work then surely this is enough. What's the answer? I don't know but the first step is just to admit things aren't right and to start looking around for alternatives. And for God's sake, stop admiring the useless scum in charge of these big companies and recognise them for the petty criminals they really are.


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