People can get angry about this if they want to, but that Roche official spoke the plain truth.Swiss pharmaceutical maker Roche made Multinational Monitor's "10 Worst Corporations of 2008" list because of a statement made by one of its executives regarding the company's HIV drug Fuzeon.Roche made $266 million from worldwide sales of the drug and had created a firm sales price of $25,000 for a year's supply [source:Multinational Monitor]. Typically, drugs -- especially life-saving ones -- are sold around the world on a sliding scale, with developing countries paying less than industrialized nations, which pay the highest prices. Roche bucked this trend with its global price for Fuzeon.When South Korea's Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs valued a year's supply of Fuzeon at $18,000 -- essentially setting the limit Roche could charge for the drug within the country's borders -- Roche balked and refused to sell the drug there any longer. Because of the lack of alternative drugs, the company effectively withdrew treatment for South Korea's HIV patients, despite the fact that the company still would've realized a profit from sales, even at the $18,000 price limit.When the decision was challenged, the head of Roche's Korea division reportedly said, "We are not in the business to save lives, but to make money. Saving lives is not our business"
I've been following the conversation surrounding THIS Facebook post by For Black Women Only. It's been a high-quality conversation over there, and I was especially impressed by the following exchange:
From the earlier part of this post, you can probably guess my views about this topic. Yes, I agree with what For Black Women Only and a commenter named Kia Richards have been saying in the comments to that Facebook post.
That's a high quality conversation that ties into some earlier discussions within BWE circles. Like the comments to THIS post at the Not Your Girl Friday blog.
It also ties into some things I've mentioned before over here.
The "Factory Age" of Rising Income Equality is OVERFrom a 1997 book, The Sovereign Individual, by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg:
"[Otto Ammon, a 19th century German economist] believed that high abilities naturally result in people rising in income and social position. . . . He also believed that the 'true form of the so-called social pyramid is that of a somewhat flat onion or turnip.' . . . Modern industrial societies are indeed all turnips, with a small wealthy and upper-professional class at the top, a larger middle class, and a minority poor at the bottom. Relative to the middle, both the extremes are small.
. . . All of this is intriguing, but the immediate interest of Ammon's work lies in the major long-term shift we are experiencing in the relations, financial and political, between the top and the middle. . . . Most people could master the skills required for operating the machines of the mid-twentieth century, but those jobs have now been replaced by smart machines which, in effect, control themselves. A whole arena of low- and middle-skill employment has already disappeared. If we are correct, this is a prelude to the disappearance of most employment and the reconfiguration of work in the spot market. " pgs. 212-213.
"Societies that have been indoctrinated to expect income equality and high levels of consumption for persons of low or modest skills will face demotivation and insecurity. As the economies of more countries more deeply assimilate information technology, they will see the emergence---so evident already in North America---of a more or less unemployable underclass. [Khadija interrupting the quote here: Guess who this is? You get one guess.] This is exactly what is happening. This will lead to a reaction with a nationalist, anti-technology bias, as we detail in the next chapter.
The Factory Age may prove to have been a unique period in which semi-stupid machines left a highly profitable niche for unskilled people. Now that the machines can look after themselves, the Information Age is pouring its gifts onto the top 5 percent of Otto Ammon's turnip." pg.214 [emphasis added].
No More "Good Jobs"
". . . The model business organization of the new information economy may be a movie production company. Such enterprises can be very sophisticated, with budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars. While they are large operations, they are also temporary in nature. . . While the people who work on the production are very talented, they have no expectation that finding work on the project is equivalent to having a 'permanent job.'" The Sovereign Individual, pg. 237.
Also, read the following blog post about how, in a connected world where "productivity is portable," the artificial differences in salaries between workers in different countries are evaporating. http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2009/02/journal-normalizing-wagessalaries.html Please note the linked CNN story about how IBM offered its laid-off employees the "opportunity" of moving to India, Russia, and Nigeria and working at LOCAL salaries in order to keep their jobs.
Do you want to have your salary "normalized" with that of a similarly-educated worker in China? I didn't think so. Well, that's what's heading your way unless you make yourself as "sovereign" as possible. This means as independent as possible from your employer. This means having multiple income streams.
People, Get Ready.