I'd like to start this post with the caveat that I'm not Mr. Laissez Faire and completely and fully understand how greed can be bad. There are no hidden messages of "Love the Rich" intended here and I haven't been secretly reading Ayn Rand on the sly (my supply of Hefty Barf Bags would run out before finishing the first chapter, I'm sure). If anything, I find money to be a huge inconvenience and would prefer a world that didn't require it to get shit done.
Thus said, money gets shit done. I'm sorry, that's just a fact. Money is a materialized form of power, and if the rich were satisfied with their wealth and decided to live happily on what they've got, we'd all be a lot worse off than we are. Trust me, I'm a ridiculously gifted person, yet I haven't produced jackshit. Why? Because I'm already satisfied with my life and don't really care about money. It's the people with issues who get shit done, not the happy people.
Just as the Internet would have likely never been created without the helping hand of Big Daddy Government, were it not for the greed of a thousand Richie Riches, you wouldn't be reading this right now. Argue with that all you want, but you'll look silly and most definitely lose the argument. Even the open source cultists would be sitting around twiddling their thumbs every night, were it not for the greed of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and whoever started IBM.
Sorry, but the rich aren't keeping you down. That's all you, pal.
Blaming Modern Science
And the same goes with drug companies. Yes, they're greedy. Very greedy. And they do some outrageous things that cause me physical pain when I think too much about it. But...were it not for their greed, they'd have no incentive to use their money to invent new drugs and we'd all be a lot worse off right now because of it. That's simply undeniable.
Because the reality is that researching new drugs and testing them is incredibly expensive. That's why they're doing it and you're not. No one's preventing you from curing cancer. It just costs lots of money and they're the only ones putting up enough of it to do it. And if they spend all their money investing in drugs that can't earn profits, then they'll soon be out of money and won't discover new drugs. There's just no other way about it.
And again, that's not a defense of drug companies. That's simply a statement of fact. I'd like it if drugs didn't cost millions upon millions to make, but unless you're willing to throw away all your income on discovering new drugs, then you have ABSOLUTELY no right to complain.
After all, nobody's stopping you and your buddies from inventing new drugs. Yet you don't. Why? Is it because you're too greedy? No, it's because you're not stupid. Well, neither are the greedheads who invest in these companies. No one expects you to volunteer all your time and money discovering new drugs, nor should we expect it of them.
Believe it or not, Big Pharma is people, too; and while some of them are despicable people who really deserve a special circle of Hell; the problem isn't greed or capitalism. Those are the solutions to the problem, not the cause. And were it not for the greed of Big Pharma, we'd all be stuck with soft weiners, acne, and angst. Call me crazy, but I prefer things as they are.
Curing Cancer for Free
And I mention all this after reading an article about a potential cancer cure that isn't getting much funding because it's a common drug that isn't patentable and will lose money for anyone who researches it. Why? Because modern science is expensive and it costs about $500 million to get a drug approved. But that's not Big Pharma's fault. That's because we don't want to make people sick by giving them worthless or bad drugs. That's our fault for wanting drug studies to be scientific and safe.
Now, I don't know about you, but I don't have $500 million sitting in my couch cushions to pay for this. Neither does Big Pharma. And yeah, sure, maybe the government could fund this. Or maybe the American Cancer Society should, or the Bill Gates Foundation; which many commenters on that story attacked because they haven't ponied up the millions it'll take to test the drug. But should they fund EVERY potential cancer drug?
Sure, this one looks more promising than snake oil, but it'd be far from the first cancer drug that fell flat after looking this promising. And unfortunately, we can't really know if it's worthy of funding unless we, duh, test it first. And those tests costs lots of money. It's a catch-22 and Big Pharma's in the same boat we are. They also would like to know the results before paying for the tests, but it doesn't work like that and they really do risk all their money if they bet wrong. That's why it's so profitable for them if they guess right.
And the main point here is that capitalism and greed didn't create the problem. Rather, they grease the wheels and make people do things they wouldn't do otherwise. And that's exactly why we need good government, too. Greed makes people do good and evil, so we just need to make sure we get more of the former than the latter.
I'm a Big Government Capitalist who wants a strong free market to give us things we wouldn't have gotten otherwise, but with the government on our side to make sure we're not getting screwed. And that's what works best for everyone; including the greedheads.