Browsing Posts in Political Economy

When Adam Smith first published The Wealth of Nations in 1776, I highly doubt he would have foreseen the current climate of a global imperialist system propagated solely for the interests of what we can describe as the Capitalist Class.

By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Smith

Within the historical context of Smith’s time, corporate charters were controlled by the state, somewhat similar to current no bid contracts granted various industries who service government projects of varying degrees. However, in Smith’s time, the state had complete control over these corporate charters, such as the the British Empire’s East India Company, which served as a sort of trading company gaining much profit from Opium among other resources to be exploited by British Colonialism. Just for a reference, Colonialism has manifested into modern Imperialism to a large extent, though that will be explained in greater detail further down the road.

Smith felt the government control of capital and business hindered the free flow of capital, thus slowing economic — or capital — growth. Smith believed the free flow of capital would ultimately lead to greater opportunities for all people to share in the wealth of this free flowing capital. This theme of capitalism without government restriction, or Laissez-faire capitalism, is the backbone of the modern libertarian movement. It’s understandable the sentiment of Smith given the historical context of state, or in Smith’s case, Monarchistic control over capital markets. Unlike what we now consider Communism, this state control of capital did not result in equal distribution of wealth, but rather the wealth being  hoarded by the Monarchy. continue reading…

I am going to officially be an evil, faceless, corporate-fascist machine; exploiting our resources and labor for profit (mwah-hah-hah-hah: I’ve got a fat cigar and a brandy snifter in my hand).

Well, technically I’ve been a corporation for about two and a half years — at least the President, Sole Proprietor and Chief Executive of a Corporation I started. Probably not quite as nefarious as I make it out to be. I had intended on starting a business and decided to incorporate it. The business never took off, so recently I figured I might as well file for dissolution considering it was “dead” for all intents and purposes.

My father however, suggested I look into changing the name and the charter of my corporation to relate to my blogging/writing. Well, I did look into that and I am now filing the proper paperwork to change the name of my corporation. I won’t give that out until everything is finalized and approved — suffice to say “publishing” will be in the name since I will be a publisher. continue reading…

This is the only Tea-Bagging I want to see!

I am not one that typically likes to involve themselves in issues or social movements that anyone with moderate intelligence could deduce to be completely irrational and/or counter intuitive to one’s well-being. But lately I’ve been barraged by the “small government is better” crowd, not necessarily a part of the tea party, but coming from the same philosophical ilk nonetheless. Hell, I’ve even talked with some “liberal” democrats buying into to some of this toxic rhetoric from the ill-informed.

To give them a simplified critique: the oppressive taxes you pay (the lowest Americans have paid in over 60 years) go toward building and maintaining roads, schools, fireman, policemen, protecting us from foreign invasion, making sure our food and water is (somewhat) safe to eat and drink and on and on and on….

Again, that is a very simplistic analysis — don’t worry, it’ll get more pedantic as the caffeine kicks in. This leads to the clever title; when will, if ever, cognitive dissonance kick in for those of the belief that government is always the enemy no matter what? For those who aren’t up on social psychology, cognitive dissonance is simply holding two contradictory views at once. continue reading…

With the costs of name-brand drugs rising exponentially over the past 20 years and higher premiums and co-pays, US citizens have, to a large extent, been able to count on lower-priced generics, which have always been assumed to be the same as their name-brand equivalents. This is not the case anymore as Teva Pharmaceuticals, based in Israel, has been swallowing up many of the leading generic drug manufactures over the past few years, making them the sole producer of many important generics that so many of us count on for a myriad of medical conditions. The fact that Teva is buying up the competition is not the focus here–though corporate monopolies are never good for consumers. It is the fact that so many of Teva’s generics are poorly produced in third-world countries and are not the same as their brand-name equivalents. While the chemical components of their drugs are the same, or bio-equivalent,  as the main chemical compound of the name-brand, it is the low-quality precursor chemicals, inferior manufacturing facilities and lack of production oversight that is causing adverse reactions in consumers that have begun taking generics produced under the Teva Umbrella.

Teva takes over

Teva was officially created in 1976 after the merger of three pharmaceutical companies created in Israel by European Immigrants. In 1982, the FDA approved its main manufacturing plant — and so began the path to market domination.

Teva is not solely interested in generics as they have produced some very effective and useful proprietary drugs such as Copaxone and Azilect. Despite their own research and development, Teva’s meteoric rise atop the pharmaceutical food chain has come through buying and merging with other large drug manufacturers. Most recently, the acquisition of Barr Pharmaceuticals in 2008 for over 7 billion dollars has further entrenched them in generic manufacturing. continue reading…

A blow for consumers

For those not following the FCC as of late, the issue of Net Neutrality has been a hot-button issue. For a few years now, mega internet providers such as Comcast and Verizon have been of the mindset that they can dictate the bandwidth allocated to whatever services they deem acceptable. In 2007, Comcast decided they had the god-given corporate right to slow down the bandwidth of BitTorrents, among other things Comcast didn’t find appropriate—-Oh Crap, I’m using Comcast Broadband right now, better watch my tongue, otherwise my faithful readers will be going back in a 1998 dial-up time machine when they visit my site.

My conspiratorial delusions aside, Comcast fought the FCC–who’d a thunk it–and on April 6 of this year, the US Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC did not have the authority to stop all mighty Comcast from doing as they please; essentially ruling that the FCC can’t impose net neutrality at all. Here is the FCC’s response to the decision:

The FCC is firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans. It will rest these policies — all of which will be designed to foster innovation and investment while protecting and empowering consumers — on a solid legal foundation. continue reading…

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