Obama acolytes continue to deny human nature

Tom Elia links to an utterly fatuous statement from a 25 year old Obama supporter (who nevertheless gets a bully pulpit in a WaPo blog), saying that killing the profit motive will have no effect whatsoever on pharmaceutical innovation.  In the face of such stupidity, I have to drag out my family history once again.

My aunt was such an ardent Communist that, after WWII, she returned to Berlin.  When shocked friends in Israel asked, “How can you go back to the land of the Nazis?” she replied, “The Communists have cleansed that stain.”  She lived in Berlin until the day she died, sometime in the late 1980s.

In the early 1980s, my father had the opportunity to visit her.  Although she had retired by then, her status as a very high level party apparatchik meant that she had a “nice” apartment, which included having her own bathroom.  That bathroom proved to be very useful, because her kitchen sink didn’t work.  She had to do all of her kitchen washing up (preparing foods and cleaning up afterward) in the bathroom sink.

My father asked her why she didn’t get the sink repaired.  Her answer:  “I’m on the list for getting a repair.”  He asked, “How long have you been on the list?”  Her reply:  “Nine years.”

That is what happens when there is no profit motive.  If plumbers will get paid the same whether or not the rush out and repair your plumbing or sit back in the office, they will sit back in the office.

Humans have very few motivations:  passion (both physical and intellectual), hunger, fear, and a sort of overarching greed.  Unless the plumber is starving, being imminently threatened, or having sex with his/her customers, the only motivator left for him to get out and do the job is greed.  Harnessed through capitalism, you have a splendidly operating system; limited by communism, you have nothing but immobility and graft.

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  • Bill Smith

    Hiya Bookie,

    This is in NO WAY a contradiction of what you wrote, but there is another motivation besides greed, and the others. But this motivation never gets born, and is utterly unknown, and even inconceivable in a statist economy: The considerable psychic return of doing a good job, building a company, serving the needs of your customers, and helping employees move up the ladder, and provide for THEIR families.

  • Charles Martel

    One of the kid’s arguments is that since the government is the biggest source of research money, and the government is non-profit, we’ll continue to see great pharmaceutical innovations.

    Well, maybe, but what happens when the government has completely taken over research? What will be the incentive for researchers to find innovative therapies if the best they can hope for in the end is some meaningless government medal or piddling cash award?

    And what will the government do with a prize new therapy besides ration it? Or will it commit hypocrisy (easily done since it will be a Democratic government) and charge through the nose for it, reasoning that the taxpayers are entitled to get their money back after all that they spent to create the drug?

  • Danny Lemieux

    It’s obvious that only squeaky wheels will get greased with research funds. Citizens with health needs that fall into unusual categories, fringe categories, or that don’t translate into significant voting blocks…oh well!

  • Bill Smith

    Charles is right. The problem is that the govt never creates any value except in doing things govts are supposed to do like build, and maintain roads, bridges, aircraft carriers, emergency services, etc. Otherwise, it’s all a transfer payment. There is no magic of the free enterprise/capitalist/profit system in which society really CAN get out more than they put in. With govt run imitations society gets back way LESS than they put in.

  • BrianE

    It’s obvious that only squeaky wheels will get greased with research funds. Citizens with health needs that fall into unusual categories, fringe categories, or that don’t translate into significant voting blocks…oh well!- Danny
    This, IMO, is a central reason to slow the government expansion into the banking industry, the automobile industry, the medical industry, the energy industry, the education industry, the….
    By nature, beauracrats will please the political class when they aren’t settling political scores on their own.
    Politicization of every aspect of society is inevitable.

  • Tonestaple

    Every day in every way, things just look more and more like scenes out of “Atlas Shrugged.” I’d bet money that this Bright Young Thing, if pushed, believes that the drug companies will continue to crank out enormous benefits to mankind because they have been conditioned to do so: “It’s what they do.”

    These collectivists seem to not really believe in free will, but they still act to put the kibosh on it the minute they see a flicker of it.

  • highlander

    Spot on Bill Smith (#1). You nailed it in three sentences. What a tragedy it will be for America if Obama and company succeed in destroying the psychic return that comes from doing a good job and serving others.

  • Bill Smith

    Thank you, Highlander.

    Profit is often portrayed as overcharging or stealing, but what it actually is is an expression of the economic efficiency of a voluntary deal. I want what you’re selling, and you want to sell it to me.

    If I want a single 8 foot 2×4, I can go get the right to cut somebody’s tree, cut it down, saw it to rough length, split it into billets, dry them, rip them to 2″ x 4″ and then plane them smooth to the industry standard 1 5/8 x 3 1/2 — if memory serves. Who knows what all that would cost me.

    Or, I can go buy one 2 x 4. I will pay MORE than that board cost the lumber company, but do I feel cheated, or robbed? I do not. That whole transaction might take me 10 minutes, instead of the days the other way would. Ten minutes at 8 o’clock at night. On a Sunday.

    I’m willing to pay “more” and the dealer is willing to do “more” and we BOTH feel better off. And you know what? We ARE! I am a famous Automobile Advertising photographer, and I need that 2×4 to lift up one side of the car I’m shooting just a little bit more than the stuff I had in the studio. I’m going to hose the car company for that great shot, they know it, and are happy to pay me my price, because THEY are going to be better off selling all those cars.

    I can concentrate my time, tools, and skills on doing what I do best by paying someone else to concentrate THEIR time, tools, and skills to get me what I need. We will BOTH profit, and we will BOTH feel we got good value. That’s how the profit system multiplies wealth.

    The government……doesn’t.

  • Quisp

    It’s obvious that only squeaky wheels will get greased with research funds.

    Oh, you mean like this?


  • highlander

    Yes, Bill. Liberals keep thinking of commerce as a zero-sum game where one party (the seller) gains while the other (the buyer) loses. As you have pointed out, it’s normally a positive-sum game where both parties win, each in a different way.

    It reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw a few weeks ago which instantly set my teeth on edge. It read: “People, not Profit!” The sentiment is based on the false premise that these two are mutually exclusive.

  • Bill Smith

    People, not profit?!!!

    The ONLY logical pre-clusion is that these benighted souls think that ALL — and I mean every last bit of — wealth that exists today must have existed from day 1. And Fred Flintstone and Barney had it all stashed in caves while they CHOSE to live like cavemen. That is, the Zero Sum Game requires that the quantity of wealth be fixed, and unchangeable.

    If it did NOT always exist, it must have been created. Digging up minerals, and refining them, or clearing land, irrigating it, and growing carefully selected seeds are both human activities that CREATE wealth, or VALUE if you prefer. Some people are going to be better at farming than others. Some will be better at mining for gold, or copper, or iron; others at turning these raw minerals into useful implements. That, and vastly more than that are ALL examples of creating wealth.

    These radical leftists love to think that wealth is always stolen, or just gotten by pure luck. That an uneven “distribution” — you know, it just falls from the sky, but unevenly — of wealth is unfair. They use the condemnation of this “stolen” wealth as an excuse to — you guessed it — STEAL it for themselves in the name of redistributing it.

    Folks, the cheapest, fastest, most efficient way to get something done, improved upon, or invented is to let people make a PROFIT doing that. Do you feel the guys who invented sticky notes, antilock brakes, aircraft collision avoidance systems, the MRI, and computers should all be PUNISHED for having done so, and their wealth confiscated? Or would you like to continue to encourage people to invent things, and discover new drugs, and medical devices?

    Just askin’

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    I think you’re preaching to the chorus here, Bill — and doing a damn fine job, too.

  • Bill Smith

    Well, Bookie, go offer free govt cheese — meaning, of course, Chardonnay and brie with a nice string trio playing Mozart on our dime like they are used to in DC — and pull them people in here!


  • Charles Martel

    Bill, the next time you post here, I’m going to pull out that bad boy stogie I’ve been saving up, pour myself a splash of brandy, and just lean back and savor.

  • Bill Smith


    Thank you. Coming from you that makes my day.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    There is an additional aspect to government control: corruption. If you seek out to eliminate greed and profit from the economic system, what you will naturally get is a re-allocation (redistribution if you will) of profit to some other place. In this respect, that other place is where the power is redistributed to. That would be government, of course.

    So instead of individuals that worked at A getting profit from A, now we have elected or unelected megalomaniacs in power that get the profit of ALL individuals. That’s redistribution. A good thing, you know. Like the redistribution of jobs from America to China/India. Never forget to tell the wealth redistributionists that this is a good thing. Hold them to their standards, not to your own.

    If you would recall Diane Feinstein, she used her political position and authority to funnel Defense Contracts to a company that her husband was working for. Give people like her, in government, the power to decide what gets researched, how much gets researched, and who is going to get this “research money” and I’ll give you 2 guesses as to what she will do with such power. What they will all do with such power.

    The fundamental principle behind the functionality and the ethical framework of the free market system is consequence. Every action has consequences: both good and bad. If a certain individual performs an act, he takes the consequences of that act. That is justice. If his action produced bad consequences, it is justice that he suffer. If his action produced good consequences, then obviously his judgment was good and he will be justly rewarded for it. This is the ethical framework of the free market, of free will.

    Now in a Leftist Utopia, there is no such thing as free will. The Left does believe wealth is static, which is why they believe America is wealthy only because we stole natural resources from more primitive cultures (like oil). (But how many people in the media ever expose the Leftist claptrap thinking behind such views?) Since wealth is static, thus unearned, there is no reason to give one person more than another. Thus the wealth redistribution theme.

    The reason why Leftists, anti-Americans, and America’s domestic insurgency wishes to teach hatred and disrespect of the Founding Fathers is that the Founding Fathers were not corrupt. Thus, they are in the way of corrupt government officials and politicians who want just a tinsy little bit more redistribution of the wealth and power in this nation. Redistributed to themselves and their preferred people, of course.

    It’s not about Jefferson owning slaves. It’s not about Washington’s past or the apple tree. It’s not about any of that. It’s about greed. It’s about the thirst for power.

    And until the American people are made to hold such people accountable for their views and their actions, the system will remain corrupt and self-serving.

    The primary reason why these government pigs and wannabe Hitlers are seeking scapegoats in the private sector is because if the rage and anger of the American poor and the guilt of the American rich were ever directed towards government waste and corruption, that would be very very bad for the Obamas, the Bidens, the Reids, and the PillowCs.

    Have any here ever heard about the “Short Victorious War”? It’s a small niche phrase that generally means that an organization believes that they can achieve great benefits on the domestic front if they waged a short victorious war on the foreign front. These organizations tend to have domestic issues that they either won’t or can’t solve. (Honor Harrington’s People’s Republic of Haven is a good example) So they set out to conquer or loot a target, preferably a weak target that they believe will fall in a very short amount of time: hence the ‘short’ part.

    The Left also likes using this little concept to further their propaganda goals in the US. For example, by using it against Bush and us. Calling us war mongers, you know. But the concept of a Short and Victorious War doesn’t just apply to wars. It also applies to any scapegoats. It applies here. It applies to Obama.