When a pharma boss says, “We are in the business for booking profits for our shareholders, not for healing the sick,” people everywhere ought to understand the nature of attitudinal challenge they are faced with.
What it requires is rubbing these noses into ground until they confess to realising the business we all are in : life, living, enabling and empathising. Profit is not something to take home; that is how the wealth of citizens walks a one-way to the few. At best, profits are a cost people pay for the good work. Over 50% of US population, touted as belonging to the richest country in the world, have a saving less than $10,000.
Where has the people’s money, and hopes, gone ? We know where, with whom, it is now. That should give us the answer and the action plan now and here. But it doesn’t. Because, it is obvious, the whole operation is secured by consensus to an ‘idea’ … conveyed in the word : capitalism. And that is a holy cow and the daily grail, which has the protection of law, the backing of institutions, and hopelessness of TINA — there is no alternative.
Let us not talk of an anti-thetical ‘idea’ such as socialism. We do not need to. We can see the worst of capitalism and need to correct it, by revisiting popular consent and by changing the damned idea, by law as necessary and a movement that encourages and rewards public repudiation of its vulgar perversity in practice.
The US has lost space to Russia in Syria because Russian action is aligned with people’s expectations. The US brand of capitalism stands rejected the world over, and Latin America shows us how far. BRICS is an expression of the same rejection, of it oppressive form.
In India, the discourse is changed, hopefully for ever : with the people, for the people. Indian generic pharma offers disease management solutions at less than one-tenth of what capitalist brands cost. It’s a disruptive storm that the capitalist idea cannot weather for long. US MNCs like Monsanto, which take control of agriculture away from the farmer, will lose and shrink into nothing. Except for the wealth they have already cornered, and are currently using it to manipulate and buy out public mandates in national and local electoral processes.
The US championed ‘capitalism’ is excessive to extreme. We still need the human enterprise it sucks and corrupts, but directed towards common good. Maybe its profit motive needs to be moderated and regulated to about one-sixth or one-seventh of the focus it has come to usurp. The rest of it is required to be focused on people and their interests.