2000s >> 2006 >> no-1225-september-2006

Voice From the Back

Blinded By Capitalism

The following news item appeared in the Guardian (17 June): “Drug firm blocks cheap blindness cure. Company will only seek licence for medicine that costs 100 times more. A major drug company is blocking access to a medicine that is cheaply and effectively saving thousands of people from going blind because it wants to launch a more expensive product on the market.” People with wet mascular degeneration, a common condition among the elderly, have previously been treated with Avastin, which prevents impaired eyesight and blindness. The manufacturer Genetech have not presented it to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence because they are putting Lucentis forward instead. This treatment costs 100 times more. This is good business practice but bad news for the elderly workers suffering from the condition.
Conned By Capitalism

An example of how capitalism threatens lives is given in the Guardian (26 June):
“Drug companies are accused today of endangering public health through widescale marketing malpractices, ranging from covertly attempting to persuade consumers that they are ill to bribing doctors and misrepresenting the results of safety and efficacy tests on their products. In a report that charts the scale of illicit practices by drug companies in the UK and across Europe, Consumers International – the world federation of consumer organisations – says people are not being given facts about the medicines they take because the companies hide the marketing tactics on which they spend billions.”
Kicked By Capitalism

Sport according to most dictionaries is a “pleasant pastime; amusement or diversion”,
but inside modern capitalism it is no such thing. It has become, as most other human endeavours have become – a ruthless competitive business. In the business pages of the Observer (16 July) we learn that Leeds United borrowed over 25 years’ future earnings, were relegated and had to sell all their good players; we also learn that Leicester City borrowed on future earnings to the extent of £26 million, and by the way, they were relegated too. So while supporters on the terraces sing their songs of devotion and undying support the banks, investors and other money lenders count their gains.

Disgusted By Capitalism

In a world where 8 million kids die every year through lack of clean water and sanitation the following news item disgusts us, how about you? “Forget the salt and
lime, you’ll need a mint to enjoy this tequila. Producer Tequila Ley.925 announced
Saturday that it had sold a bottle of Mexico’s best-known beverage in  a gold and
platinum casing for a whopping $225,000. This is a really unique bottle of tequila and our client, a US based collector of fine wines and spirits, will treasure this prize to add
to an already impressive collection”(Associated Press, 23 July).

  Abandoned By Capitalism

President Nixon’s praise for the US moonlanders was a cynical vote-catching ploy
as can be seen by the following press report. “America was so eager to beat the
Soviet Union to the moon it launched its 1969 mission before it was ready, a documentary claims. The documentary reveals that the crew had to use a pen to fix a
broken switch on their lunar module to return to earth, the Daily Mirror reports.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had accidentally snapped off a circuit breaker switch. According to Apollo 11: The Untold Story, US president Richard Nixon prepared an
address announcing the deaths of Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins. The US
ordered NASA to cut links with the astronauts if disaster was imminent, not wanting the world to see images of astronauts spinning off into space” (Herald Sun, 25 July).
  Shunned By Capitalism

“Las Vegas councillors have made it illegal to give food to homeless people. In an
effort to curb charity that is said to be having unintended consequences, the city council has decided to ban food handouts to the homeless. The law targets so called mobile soup kitchens. It carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and six months in jail.” (New York Times, July 31). It is all so logical, isn’t it? You are trying to con workers into the fantasy that capitalism is a wonderful society and that they can become capitalists too, when some poor worker in Las Vegas tries to ask for something to eat. Solution? Ban the soup kitchen.

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