The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The problem with the profit motive

Now there has been a lot of criticism, and rightly so, of China's use of organs from executed prisoners.

But yesterday I heard on Nat Rad about a massive scandal in the USA, where a New Jersey company that trades in human tissue, in particular bone marrow, has been found to be illegally sourcing some of its wares from funeral homes. Those who run the homes have acted to increase their own profits with little thought for the families of the corpses they have raided, or the dignity of those who have died. In fact they haven't even considered the safety of what they are doing - the radio story mentioned that the cause of death has been changed on some of the death certificates, so that the human tissue is more likely to be accepted as useable (and thus more money is made).

This is what happens when people put profit and greed first. And what does capitalism do? Encourages it.

11 comments:

Gerrit said...

"Massive Scandal" How big and compared with what?

Ah, those evil capitalist, encouraging all this badness.

Is anything bad in your opinion not encouraged by capitalism? Or is it the root of all evil to be replaced by ?

A very shallow post in my opinion.

mike said...

[strawman] = [slur]. [strawman] does not = [virtue]; in light of [anomaly presented as commonplace] and also the [slur 2] it makes you do. So in conclusion [keyword] is why things are bad.

I mean, God forbid that things were more complicated than that. This is the same oversimplistic dribble that is the reason I don't read No Right Turn any more. Span, you were the last New Zealand blog worth reading. Sorry to see you go.

Span said...

Thank goodness you two aren't my target audience then.

I'm assuming you'd be happy to discover that your dead relative had had their thigh bone replaced by a piece of plumbing tube? Or perhaps that you yourself receive a bone marrow transplant from someone who died of a cancer that affected their own bone marrow?

You two don't come here to open-mindedly read my arguments, you come here to oppose them, so forgive me if your dissatisfaction with my post doesn't rock my world.

mike said...

I had no idea you were looking for sycophants. My mistake.

Span said...

I don't think I've ever had a sycophant comment here. But I have noticed a particular increase in the nasty level from some RW bloggers and commenters in the last two weeks, which is one of the reasons I haven't been posting much. Your comment, based on one single post that I've made, rather seems in that vein mike.

I don't do this for a living, I don't even do this for pocket money, so I'm unclear about why my posts must please you or in fact anyone other than me?

Gerrit said...

"You two don't come here to open-mindedly read my arguments, you come here to oppose them, so forgive me if your dissatisfaction with my post doesn't rock my world."

I read them with an open mind and came to my own conclusions.

No I dont like the nasty trade in dead human body parts. But keep some perspective. It is not massive but it is a scandal.

And as for a display of the ills of capitalism? Nah.

Just greedy people in organised crime.

Who is your target audience?

People that only agree with you and praise you? Or are you open for erstwhile discussion?

Span said...

As to your last two questions Gerrit, I'm sure the over two years of evidence on this blog will speak in my defence, however I am getting pretty damn irritated that rather than engaging in actual argument some are just slagging with no point but to attack the perceived leftie.

I'm mystified as to why you don't see that an economic system that encourages greed does result in these abuses pretty much inevitably. Making our system a purer form of capitalism would only make it worse, imho, as common sense regulations went out the window in the cause of the free market.

Gerrit said...

Attacking the left is not my scene not is defending the right. My views are centralist.

I want the best from the left and right for the betterment of all people. My position is quite clear.

I support capitalism because there is no demonstatably suitable alternative "complete" replacement.

Greed is a human condition which you are arguing is exascerbated by capitalism. I would disagree and suggest that it would be found whatever the economic system, affairs of commerce were conducted under.

However I will be less incredulious in my queries and comments on your posts in future.

Josh said...

I don't have anything to add, so I'll just be an annoying pedant: "erstwhile" means "former" -- I think you meant "worthwhile".

Span said...

And that, dear Josh, was indeed a worthwhile contribution :-P

libertyscott said...

Actually it is not capitalism at all. Taking organs or any part of people's bodies regardless of their death is theft and given that a hallmark of capitalism is defence of private property rights, this is where the state should be protecting such rights. Given that the actions in the US are illegal, you can hardly say it is acceptable under capitalism. You may as well say murder is.

In short, this is the difference between anarchy and laissez-faire capitalism. China capitalist? Hardly - it is a one-party fascist state with the market controlled and enforced by the state.

How do you discourage greed, which is self interest? You encourage people to sacrifice themselves for a "greater cause" and the result of that can be seen in the rivers of blood which have swastikas, hammers and sickles, crosses, crescents and all the other symbols of collectivism.

Between a state promoting self interest (and protecting everyone's personal and property rights) and one promoting self sacrifice, I'd take self interest any day - at least I have a chance.