Communism is dead, socialism is dead, fascism is dead, god is dead, and now market fundamentalist capitalism is dying.
Of course all these things still have their True Believers, but as time goes on the ranks of those true believers dwindle and it becomes increasingly difficult to find serious and widely educated thinkers among them.
This is interesting. Ideology with a capital I is a big part of how human beings model and conceptualize the world. I think what we're seeing is that our cognitive modeling capabilities have limits. Our models break down. It honestly reminds me of the trends that sweep through the computer programming world: object oriented, aspect oriented, functional, MVC, late binding, strong typing, weak typing, multiparadigm, templates, and so on... all work well for a while and then show their weaknesses.
P.S. The big thing that killed market fundamentalism for me was doing a stint in business consulting and seeing what the average rich person actually is: a glorified street hustler. I was once a bit of a Randian... it was a real "the emperor has no clothes" moment. (I can think of a few rich folks who remind me of Rand heroes... a very, very, very few. I don't think I would run out of fingers. Elon Musk would be at the top of the list. Oh, but wait, his enterprises are quasi-philanthropic ventures...)
The nice part about markets is they can adapt very quickly. If we were to convince enough people malaria was worth curing, we could do it! There's no rule to a marketplace that says you can't.
I see two roads you can go down in solving this problem. We can convince the public that a cause is worth investing in, or we can force the public to support a cause (by means of a State actor or other monopoly on violence). Personally, I think historical evidence proves forcing people to do anything is unsustainable and counterproductive. Just one guys opinion.
I know you're getting hammered on this point already, but I feel like the other responses are coming from the angle that there are a ton of people in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and South America that don't have much money but would likely disagree with your count.
But I'll come at it from a different angle: My step-father has spent a decent chunk of change on hair-growth products. But I guarantee you if he was given the choice between curing malaria and curing baldness, he would cure malaria, and I expect this would be true of most people.
(This model is wrong, of course, but I doubt many people are aware of the expected disability-adjusted-years-gained-per-dollars-spent-on-mosquito nets statistics)
I think it's an unfair distinction. Would I spend money on a solution that directly affects me or would I invest in a possible treatment that doesn't affect me? That belief that the first choice is available and implemented heavily skews the balance.
But it seems like we all do this sort of thing, at least part of the time. Baldness is an issue apparently directly affecting furyofantares' stepfather, on a daily basis. Malaria isn't. Should we expect him to keep malaria constantly on his mind whenever making economic decisions?
Bu they aren't.
Social and cultural norms, advertising, pride, self esteem, distance and on and on influence people to choose the hair products over people's lives.
I'm not saying its wrong to want to keep your hair over saving people from malaria. But I am saying its wrong to think that "the market" is this perfect thing and "rational actors" actually exist.
The market is great, but it isn't right about everything, and people don't have enough information and are too easily influenced by everything else to be considered rational about anything.
At least if I was selling Rogaine, that's how I might spin it.
You are so very, very wrong. More rich people want to cure baldness than malaria, because pretty much all rich countries are in climates where malaria can't thrive.
How many people do you think care more about their thinning hair than an illness that can kill their children?
People who would be affected by Malaria wouldn't have the purchasing power to affect the market. Baldness is universal and so people who have money and care about cosmetic effects, can affect the market to a greater degree.
I'm curious, of all the things killing poor people, who decided malaria was at the top? Some people see clean water and food as a higher priority. Why should anyone tell me how to donate? Do people really have such level of faith in the benevolence of central planners?
This is a big problem of free market fundamentalism, in my opinion. It's far too optimistic about how rational people are.
I do still think that capitalism might be one of those "it's crap but all options are worse" kind of thing. At least for now.
I think it's a problem with your understanding, in my opinion. If you accept that people are inherently irrational, wouldn't a representative government be equally irrational? Unless of course one accepts the notion of the benevelent actor who burdens himself with the task of propellingn society foward against its will. A parental figure in a sense, who safeguards his sheep for the greater good. You essentially believe in batman, and I'm the optimistic one. I say this lightheartedly, simply trying to illustrate my view.
Likewise, I wonder if it's reasonable to claim that people are "inherently rational", because we all know from experience that it doesn't require extraordinary circumstances for a person to make an irrational choice. People make both rational and irrational decisions all the time!
I know you're trying to make a lighthearted jest, but your benevolent actor = batman illustration seems a little too mean-spirited in its chiding. You start by misconstruing dscrd's meaning, and end by claiming that dscrd's "essentially believe[s] in batman".
I don't think it's unreasonable (irrational?) to presume that people are capable of increasing the amount of rationality they wish to apply to a problem based on its stakes (although we have plenty of anecdotes to support the counterpoint to this, as well), while still constantly making irrational choices on things which are (or appear to be) lower-stakes.
For example: I probably wouldn't build a house next to a coal power plant. I would consider that to be a rational decision. On the other hand, I may be a smoker, or really, really love doughnuts. There may be rational components to each of those (they give pleasure), but when viewed in the light of my decision to not live next to a coal power plant (I don't want to eventually get sick), they seem like pretty irrational decisions (because they'll eventually make me sick).
> There may be rational components to each of those (they give pleasure), but when viewed in the light of my decision to not live next to a coal power plant (I don't want to eventually get sick), they seem like pretty irrational decisions (because they'll eventually make me sick).
Sounds like value theory to me. It's a simple cost/benefit analysis. Donuts make me reeeaaally happy, so I'll indulge. To make up for it, I'll run a mile. I like eating a donut and running a mile over not having a donut at all. It's not a matter of rationality, but preference -- which is what value should reflect. The creation of value can't be institutionalized by a central planner because preference is so diverse and changes at a rate quicker than any beurocracy can address. Again, just one persons observations.
Yes, that was pretty much my critique: people are often irrational. I think you mispresented that critique by taking it to absurdity. Continuum or slippery slope fallacy?
Saying free markets aren't effective due to mans selfish nature is a reasonable observation. I agree that markets would be more effective with more altruistic agents. But then again, what wouldn't be? I believe whatever shortcomings in human nature that voluntarily interacting people face (ex, selfish agents in a market) will only be magnified in a Statist society. A "bad guy" trying to game the market with anticompetative practices sucks. What sucks more is this bad-guy gaming the government, and everything government regulates (hint, everything).
But for argument's sake... Even if people (as in, most people) are irrational, that wouldn't necessarily lead to their rulers being irrational, would it? After all, we supposedly* select people who are good at ruling to be rulers, just like we supposedly select people who are good at healing people to be doctors. They are expected to be better at it because they are interested in it, have studied it and are focused to do it, not because they're supermen.
* yes, this could be tad optimistic, especially under democracy because of the very irrationality of most people
The consumer is irrational, but the voter is rational? This is a contradiction.
The operative difference between a purchase and a vote is that purchases are (1) voluntary, and (2) continually adjusting to changing conditions.
Advocates of free markets tell you that the outcome is such and such if and when market participants can serve their interest as they see fit. They don't tell you that the outcome will be what you call "rational".
We can convince the public that a cause is worth investing in,
or we can force the public
Fixed that for you. Healthcare and medicine break down when they become for-profit instead of for-health ventures.
Saying for-profit and "for-health" (whatever that means) are mutually exclusive is simply not true. I just picked up some allergy medication yesterday for $10 that is performing excellent. My exercise equipment is manufactured at a very fair rate. I think a profit motive was critical in providing me this invaluable preventative care.. so I can't see it your way. I think a more true statement would be, ventures that are heavily regulated break down, and I would agree.
As for counterproductive, the US has a number of good examples of "forcing" people to do things being productive. WWII and the moon landing are the classic examples. Of course, since I'm not a free-market capitalist but a staunch advocate of democracy, I don't really view government-directed activities as forced but rather democratically directed.
Do you want to tell us, that it is the rich people that crowd the Walmarts and other temples of mass consumption? If that are your rich people over there in America, then GOD may have pity with you!
But RMS, I want you to know that I recognize your contribution.
Are there other instances of Foreign Aid that also align with self-interest? Sure; but calling the funding of a proxy military in the most resource-rich area of the world Foreign Aid is really stretching the semantics. Why not go ahead and classify the entire military budget as foreign aid, since we only ever do things with noble intentions?
The other large portion of "foreign aid" used to go to the dictatorship in Egypt...
We don't know the details of Israel's nukes, but you are right that the Washington consensus is they developed them themselves.
The only thing preventing a nuclear-free Middle East is our veto in the UN.
PS: Want to pay people to pray for world piece? That's a tax break after-all we don't actually need to repair roads and bridges or pay down debt.
Not for capital gains if you sell the underlying asset. If I buy a stock for 1 cent and donate it then I avoid all capital gains even if it's now worth 30 billion. Considering the original baseline Gates working with it's ~30 billion * .15 ~= 4.5 billion tax savings. You also get to deduct the original 1 cent from your income, but as I said your avoiding the 50% income cap on donations.
I agree that his paper worth and taxes are separate issues, I am simply stating that having a charity sell stock is much better than having a person sell stock for the amounts involved. And it would be reasonable to charge capital gains at the time of donation for the same reason it's reasonable to remove the donation tax break. To further prove the point if your dealing with a deprecated stock it's better to sell and then donate.
PS: Wikipedia has a good example (Ordinary Income Producing Property and Short Term Capital Gain Property)
Again, I don't care what he does with his own money but as soon as the Government subsidies charities efficiency is something to consider. Panama had a huge problem with the disease and it was delt with they now have 36 cases per 100,000 people vs 75,386 in Guinea. http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_mal_cas_per_100-malari... And the simple truth is net's don't get you to 36 from 75,386.
I suspect that this will not last and that a new ideology will arrive (demand is high, supply is low, very few competitors). Any bets on what this ideology will look like?
The world is far too complex for a simple set of rules (Ideology) to be capable of providing all the answers to all the problems.
The simplest cell in the human body is unimaginably complex - why would the rules governing the interaction of billions of humans comprised of billions of those cells be simple?
I believe one of the reasons that large scale innovation was greater in the mid 20th Century than in the late 20th Century was the death of ideology but also one of the reasons that the late 20th Century and early 21th Century has been so peaceful.
I think some of this talk about ideologies is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Abstracting your worldview so that you can better explain yourself to others should not be looked down upon. That is how you will ultimately come to better compromise when it possible. You can't solve problems without ideas.
Ideologies are harmful when you take some text some Russian wrote years ago and try to bend the world to match that text. When you define your own worldview and don't rely only on the words of a dead guy that isn't there to clarify things, then you get into trouble.
>think some of this talk about ideologies is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Abstracting your worldview so that you can better explain yourself to others should not be looked down upon.
Agreed, and for the record I'm not against ideology or story telling in general. It is what humans do to make sense of their role in the world. It is interesting to me that we live in a time of old dying ideologies and it skews our perspective about the future since long term these treads have never lasted. For example the The_End_of_History(tm) claim that was getting some traction in the 1990s. What will come next?
Ideology played just as large of a driving force during the second half of the 20th Century yet the bloodshed was less. It is hard to say that withdraw from Ideology equals greater peace.
This is a fundamental fact of how humans make models. They're never perfect the first time, and rarely (if ever?) are models every truly perfect. The most important hurdle for us as a species to overcome is the advancement of new models that refine our old ones; specifically, we need to become less averse to change.
You obviously don't live in the south, do you? ;)
It's sad to hear what Gates has to say. Unfortunately market and monetary pressures are the pitfalls of a pure capitalistic society where humanity takes a back seat.
In almost every failed/criticized ideology there are parts which still make sense and should not be thrown away.
Let's not make the mistake again of blindly replace "all of communism" with "all of capitalism" f.e.
This would maybe get a higher chance for the next idea to "succeed better"
Capitalism isn't just about the rich people. Small business owners are capitalists, too, and most of the ones I know don't fit your description.
> god is dead
god likely never existed, but the idea of god will continue to cause humans to kill and oppress each other. Ideas don't die so I'm not sure what you mean when you say they are dead.
You can find a ton of people who will argue that capitalism quote 'magically makes perfectly rational allocations of funds'.
If no system in use anywhere is making rational allocations, it's misleading to try to name one as the problem. (And it's the sort of misleading that leads people to solve the wrong problem, so it's not harmless, either.)
Just because no perfect system can exist isn't a reason to not try for a better one. Right now, we need a mix of government, capitalist, non-profits, and perhaps others to actually solve these collective action problems.
I would go further and say that no system can make rational allocations because definitions of 'rational' vary quite radically.
When I first realized this, the irony kind of threw me for a giggling fit.
Goverments that operate inside "capitalism" are still a product of a "capitalist society".
His main argument seems to be that, without people acually trying to solve unpopular problems, they are not going to be solved "by the system" (product of the emergent behaviour of the "system").
The market is not moral, and nobody ever said it was. It is the outcome of the decision of the market participants, no more, no less. Whining about markets that are not moral is a primitive, yet very effective form of anti-capitalism.
Not sure how much value is to be found in an argument that basically says "if it weren't for humans, this would be great" * . Reminds me of Basil Fawlty - who believes he could run Fawlty Towers perfectly if it weren't for all the guests. In the end, everything we do is kind of about humans.
* Ironically, I mutter that under my breath at least a couple of times per day. So there.
As far as malaria is concerned, DDT turns out to be real effective at killing mosquitoes, the major problem in the developing world of LOTS of infectious diseases. But those of us in the developed world got more concerned with the eagles and stuff and essentially go out of our way to keep DDT from being used even though it's use in the developing world would literally save tens of thousands of human lives. The governments of the developed world did that, not capitalism.
It's a grey world out there and while it's much easier to get clicks with "male baldness gets more funding than malaria so capitalism doesn't work", it's not really very helpful in actually fixing things.
Or perhaps breast cancer gets more funding because it's far more common? Here in the UK, the incidence rate for breast cancer is 125.7/100,000, whereas the incidence rate for pancreatic cancer is 9.3/100,000.
And before you say "but pancreatic cancer kills more people", that's also not true. Again, in the UK the mortality rate for breast cancer is 24.3/100,000, whereas for pancreatic cancer it's 12.6/100,000 .
More people die from breast cancer than pancreatic cancer. That's why the former is funded more than the latter. Not "because, you know, the boobies".
 All these stats are from http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats
We should look at normalized figures of funding per death, or funding per incidence.
Yes funding happens because breast cancer happens more but also because the breast cancer lobby exists and the pancreatic cancer lobby mostly doesn't.
And there are some nasty politics related to that, including prostate cancer researchers being labelled "misogynists" or "patriarchalists" just because they called our that breast cancer has more funding.
0.01% of 30 year old men will develop prostate cancer within ten years, as opposed to 0.44% for women/breast cancer. That's a huge difference.
One of the reasons there is more funding for breast cancer is that it often manifests itself earlier, meaning the benefits of treating it in terms of years saved is much greater.
Mosquitos have developed DDT resistance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT#Mosquito_resistance
In many impoverished areas it is largely ineffective as a mosquito pesticide now. If we'd use it more liberally, it's possible that resistance would have developed more quickly due to the increased selection pressure. DDT is not a silver bullet.
But the market still does not reflect what people want?
Most people don't have malaria, they don't care about malaria, and they will only care if it affects them.
It is not that capitalism is evil regarding that, but why a person living in Japan for example will care if someone half planet away that have zero interaction with him will die?
Now suppose that farmers that make your food are plagued with some disease... This would make your food expensive, and this would make you want to heal them, so they make your food cheap again.
What happens today, is that the news about the world are faster than the economic interactions, you feel pity for people in blasted places, but you don't need them, most people don't need them, so most people won't care for them. Now tell me, if someone had asked for donations to do more research on the cancer that killed Steve Jobs, I am sure lots of people would help, not because they like Steve Jobs or because it is noble to do so, but because they like what he did.
Face it, even collectivist humans are still thinking about themselves, humans either think about themselves only (the ultimate individualism) or about their immediate community.
Few people care about a person with no genetic relation to you, that live half planet away, and have no economic interaction with you, either as buyer or seller.
"If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse." - Henry Ford (possibly apocryphal, but probably true)
Markets pander. They do not elevate. I do not want what I want. I want things that are so much better than what I want that I have not imagined them yet.
Think about when you see a movie or read a book. Isn't it boring if someone's already told you the plot? You want to be surprised, and you're usually disappointed if things turned out the way you expected them to.
Of course, markets do have virtues. They excel at solving multi-dimensional resource allocation problems in the short term, and they excel at taking new things and delivering them to customers. Big science bureaucracies and such are good at discovering and inventing, but they suck at shipping. The "pirates of Silicon Valley" invented little, but they shipped.
A market that decides what I want is the dream of every communist dictator.
Sometimes invention is the mother of necessity. That doesn't mean it's a bug. It means there are innovative and resourceful people who realize what people want before they ask for it. Capitalism gives those people a better chance to succeed than any other economic system.
It also has room for the guy trying to treat baldness.
P.S. Is there evidence that Henry Ford actually said that? Because he definitely didn't invent the automobile; Karl Benz did.
The real answer is "most people with disposable income don't have malaria"
From Wikipedia: The World Health Organization has estimated that in 2010, there were 219 million documented cases of malaria
(That would represent nearly the entire adult population of the US)
It is not just related to disposable income.
Why the average chinese for example, would care about malaria? He has other problems, the malaria mosquito does not do well in China, but other diseases do, they will care about their own diseases for example.
So do the (South) Koreans. They get a lot of malaria cases along the demilitarized zone, which has basically been left to return to a state of nature. This leads to stagnant water, which allows mosquitoes to breed.
But, of course, they spend a lot more money on malaria control in their own countries than in, say, Equatorial Guinea. Also, China and Korea are lucky in that the prevailing form of malaria is Plasmodium vivax -- which actually used to be called "benign tertian malaria." In terms of death rate, it's about as benign as the flu. Which is to say, not benign at all -- until you compare it to the other form of malaria.
A lot of people want a cure for Malaria. A minority with all the money don't care so much for it.
So the market isn't reflecting what people want, it's reflecting what people with money want.
I'd prefer a system where money didn't vote, and people's needs take preference over people's wants.
Even accounting for overlap, the hyperbole is a bit excessive there.
Malaria, on the other hand, is not a product or an answer to a research problem. It's a symptom of - basically - bad government in certain parts of the world. We're not looking for a cure because there is no cure, or we're not interested in using the only cure we do know of - recolonialisation. That's the only cure which might work within 10 years.
All of these issues that come under the umbrella term of "poor people problems" are of this category. They're actually bad society/government problems, and they're a devil to fix, and simply throwing money at the problem arguably just makes it worse.
So we do what we can - slowly, slowly, carefully try to help them build a better society and a better class of living for their citizens. And it does seem to work, kind of, slowly.
Want to help them? Look at their native populace and find outliers (people that have least amount of malaria), then analyze what these people do that reduces their contact with malaria, and spread those methods to other people. If those methods are successful spread them, if not go back to start of paragraph. Rinse, repeat.
Ironically, your "solution" requires either being, or having the cooperation of, the government in the affected territory, so you're actually agreeing with me.
My "solution" doesn't require much cooperation, other than having a NGO and government tolerance of such NGO. IF NGO count as colonization than colonization is pretty meaningless.
Narrator: The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections.
* Laws and social status
* Time-to-adulthood for your culture
Educated, middle-class people in Western countries have stopped having kids en masse largely because the first and last factors on that last have risen, massively. It now takes large amounts of time and money for educated, middle-class parents to raise a child to their own level (ie: an educated, middle-class adult), and the process has extremely many points of potential failure. It's often not even likely enough to succeed; for instance, if you live somewhere with bad schools or need your entire 20s to establish your own career before you can afford to feed a child.
> Takes a bunch of effort.
100% with you on that one.
However, poor and uneducated does not mean genetically dumb. People with really low IQ's are far less likely to have kids. Comparing people with sub 60 IQ's with over 140 IQ's the smarter people have more kids.
The fact that lots of people currently believe exactly this theory about societal decline due to the lower classes breeding too much just underlines this.
There was some vague sci-fi mashed up with societal critique, but really this was a pretext to get Gun toting presidents, morons and scantily clad chics on screen with a fish-out-of-water present day man.
I have a problem with people saying that it has some sort of profound message. Yeah, it satirizes current-day stupidity pretty well (and I like that) but I do not think it makes any reasonable statements about humanity’s future.
Except instead of Ow my balls we have reality tv (though wipeout is pretty close to the former).
There are plenty of stupid things in the movie but that doesn't mean the social commentary isn't without insight.
No, we do not need to find a cure. Sure, it would be nice if there were one, but that surely ranks far below curing Malaria. Baldness is a minor inconvenience. It doesn’t kill people, it doesn’t make people sick, unproductive or reduces their lifespan.
Personal note: whiney bald people who act as if baldness were some sort of serious ailment are the worst.
(I’m not sure whether you are serious or just joking. I have read bald people write like you, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you were serious.)
Yes, really. The fact that it's [alopecia] linked to some of the leading causes of death in the developed world might help to explain some of the research money.
Of course that doesn't mean he isn't still essentially right that malaria deserves to get more money. This still, of course, reflects an implicit difference of focus between rich people and poor people. Rich people have money and they spend it on themselves, not others -- but it [the research funding] isn't just an outgrowth of simple vanity.
Also, the reason we have treatments rather than cures is that the cure is horrifying. AA is caused by -- on a simple chemical level -- androgens. Read: testosterone. Finasteride et al. inhibit them. You want a cure: cut your balls off, that's the cure.
In other words, how useful the Private Sector is to you is a direct function of your income. The Public Sector may be inefficient and costly, but if you don't have money, it's the only Sector that gives a shit about you.
Which is why it infuriates me to see invariably affluent, educated professionals preaching the Gospel of Free Markets and Small Government to the shiftless masses, with their petty concerns like Health Insurance. Why can't they just buy anything they need?
Conservative/Libertarian types like to pontificate about how the 47% will always vote for policies which take from the Randian Supermen (which they fancy themselves) to distribute to the Moochers, yet they fail to recognize how easy it is for someone with an income in the top 10% to dismiss the Social Welfare programs which they will never themselves be in need of as "wasteful spending". The Hypocrisy!
In Software Development, we like to say that to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The experienced developer knows that different tools have different uses, and does not get caught up in holy wars advocating for her favorite design pattern or algorithm. I wish that people would look at the public/private sector debate with that kind of maturity - the Public and Private sectors are well suited for some issues, and poorly suited for others. The question is to determine which is the better fit for a given scenario. To reflexively advocate for either Private or Public solutions in every scenario is foolish, like the undergraduate Comp Sci student who just discovered recursion and wants to solve every problem that way.
Let's try to move past Ideology and on to Problem Solving.
Your understanding of their motivations is deficient. You seem intelligent, maybe you could spend some time understanding their argument. If you do understand their argument, why misstate it?
It's not so much they think, "Why can't they just buy anything they need?". It's that they (we) think, "These masterminds who lie by telling voters that they can set up this magical one-size-fits-all healthcare system and work it efficiently are just trying to grab power and votes for themselves. It's a horrible idea to set up yet another governmental dependency that is doomed to fail like all the others. Already, the system will cost triple what we were told. We have seen that 'You can keep your own insurance' was a lie. It contains numerous hidden taxes and costs. When will we ever learn?"
My first point is that there is a definite tendency, especially in the more extreme right, to 1) make a knee-jerk reaction any time a solution involving government is proposed, 2) hold up private sector solutions as inherently superior to anything the public sector does.
Second, I wish to point out the plank in the eyes of the affluent who seek to destroy programs that cater to the disadvantaged, while simultaneously accusing those who vote for social programs of mooching off of their heroic economic efforts.
It's fine that you have the Left and Right starting with different default answers to problems, but both need to recognize that their "pet" solution (public/private) is not always the best one in a given situation. In a perfect world, the two sides would engage in a civil debate, considering data or even precedent in other nations facing similar issues, and come to a reasonable conclusion. Maybe some day. :)
But we can hope.
The only two medical treatments for male pattern baldness were found by accident... Minoxidil was created to treat blood pressure issues and Finasteride was created for prostate issues.
That may be a very jaded view of what the average person would do, but tell me it's wrong.
Or else you'll make a suggestion that we all move to slums because it's not fair that we get to live in an actual house when not everyone can afford that.
There are public policy numbers which generally aren't talked about. In most western countries you can figure the value of a life on order of about 10 million dollars or so.
Empirically, lives are valued on the high side of lifetime possible earnings, something like double the average wage * 100 years or so.
Do we fix an intersection to prevent the high statistical likelihood of a death? What about a swimming pool danger PR campaign? Political swing matters more, but the dispassionate (and rational) way of doing it uses life valuation.
Giving people with money hardons and a full head of hair is enormously more profitable than public spending (or charity expenditure) in poor countries. To the point where it is rational expenditure based on numbers :(
Also, you can't really charge people for not getting malaria. You can try and get their government to pay for it though.
I'm not saying this is right.
What I mean is that on a wider level, public policy decisions about saving lives need to have a ballpark dollar valuation on human life in order to make allocation decisions.
It would not make sense to spend $20MM on an intersection upgrade which saves 2 lives per year when spending $10MM each on two other intersections might save 5 lives per year. It gets more complicated when you're comparing different things, like a dialysis machine versus a PR campaign for type II diabetes versus a traffic upgrade.
The minute you acknowledge that line of reasoning makes sense, it is easy to get trapped in this messed up alternate reasoning where the market cap of facebook is 5,884 American lives.
A coalition of African governments could create an X Prize for a malaria cure, committing to a certain level of expenditure, e.g. 30% of the population within 10 years, for a cure or vaccine that meets certain efficacy and cost hurdles. Theoretically, taxes on the salvaged incomes would pay for the safety net - this presupposes a reasonable level of productivity. A coalition willing to levy a conditional tax on its population for when a cure meeting certain efficacy and cost hurdles becomes available should also qualify for some sort of multilateral backstop, thus increasing the probability of the "prize" being paid.
Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations did not speak about the economy alone, but of the political economy. Talking about capitalism absent the institutions that frame the market is vacuous. Philanthropy is a good balm, but I reject that malaria is immune to the vectors which are fighting male baldness.
If you want to improve the lot of people, give them capitalism.
Bill Gates is a great example of the aphorism "trust capitalism, not capitalists". He's a capitalist, but he himself does not believe in capitalism. It's like the quip about Karl Popper's Open Society and its Enemies: "by one of its enemies". Gates lacks the authority on this subject that his success would appear to lend him. Beware!
That's of course bad. The immediate alternative: government allocates funds to locally insignificant and because of prestige, buy-in and general politics, eventually globally worthless investments, is also not very attractive.
Actually, one may see Bill Gates as an example of why capitalism is advantageous. Being allowed to amass a significant portion of wealth, he can now choose to spend it on efforts he considers good. As long as his interest is to use his money for purposes he considers the greater good, the money will certainly have a greater effect than government's spending of the same resources would.
Think what you will of the Malaria problem. But I think that giving larger amounts of resources to certain individuals (just kings) is one of the most efficient ways of allocating resources. Now, the main problem with modern capitalism is this: Why do so few just kings arise from the very wealthy? Most very rich seem incapable of creating or living by any sentiment or value-system that goes beyond their own self-indulgence. Why is that? And how to make a system where the people that rise create value and values?
Monoculture always leads to death.
So, socialism and enviro-wacko statist intervention gets people killed by malaria through bans on insecticides, which turn out to be the most effective counters to malaria.
And if a country with malaria suddenly started to grow quickly, it itself would also quickly solve its malaria problem.
So what do charities do? They fund malaria cures, not government reform. They fund the treatment of symptoms, not the root cause.
And why don't we fund the root cause? It turns out it may well be much harder than curing malaria. How do you un-corrupt a thoroughly corrupt government?
And Europe has a horrific colonial history with the developing world, especially Africa. First worlders attempting to dictate what and how 3rd world leaders should do would be embarrassingly reminiscent of colonialism. And here embarrassing means leader might lose the perceived power which keeps them in office.
And lastly donor countries tend to have laws against corruption which would punish charities for paying off foreign leaders. Even if they are paying them off to reduce poverty or something good like that.
So here is a totally crazy idea. Make an exception to foreign corruption laws if the cause is worth it.
Then offer secret payment to developing world leaders if they meet certain metrics. And also offer them advice on what to do to meet the metrics. And do it all in secret.
Imagine Kim Jong Un one day suddenly starts slowl and steady market reforms. Imagine 10 years later North Korea is growing quite fast, and Kim Jong Un is a dedicated fighter of corruption. Imagine Kim Jong Un himself starts to encourage direct democracy, first at village level and then higher. Imagine a few years later Kim Jong Un gives an emotional speech about the two Koreas being one, liberty and democracy in the North, and then resigns leaving a Swiss like democratically chosen group of people in charge, and a North Korean government structure looking quite similar to that of Switzerland. Then Kim Jong Un moves to southern California with a mysterious fortune of several billion dollars, a universal pardon from the US president, and protection from foreign prosecution in the states.
For example, we pay for Moore's law by buying new computers and iPhones every few years. We will start paying for huge advances in robotics once they can do more of the house chores and yard work. We need to get to the tipping point.
As for advances in biology and the cures for diseases, I'm not sure how to approach that. However, if we could funnel billions more from the consumer sector, we'll cure cancer, the common cold, etc. years sooner.
Samsung and Apple are fighting a war to make the better phone. Billions are spent. Likewise, Intel and ARM are competing for the future of the CPU. Someday soon, someone like iRobot will be competing with another company to automate the home. The "Apple II" of home robotics isn't too far off? The race starts then.
Now find a way to commercialize companies that will also do more medical research. We do have big pharma but that research takes many years.
But to expect folks to cash their paychecks, run out to the store and buy some new cough syrup just because it's so cool?... that's what happens with phones, but it seems unlikely to happen with medicine.
And in fact that'd be ridiculous. If one isn't even feeling ill, why should they go out and buy medicine? Unless they are buying it for someone else, but this sort of gets us into the realm of charity and donations.
I don't know; what do you think? What sort of situation can you imagine in which a consumer treats funding medical research the same way they treat buying a new phone?
The alternative to capitalism isn't a different economic organization. The alternative to capitalism is not-freedom. Those who say (like @api in the first post) that capitalism is dying and imply (or state) that we need an alternative, either mean to take freedom away from us, or don't know that that's what they mean.
What if most rich people do not give a damn, and just keep all their money for themselves, where would medical research be then ?
It seems like pharmaceutical companies come under a lot of fire for that kind of approach.
That means, you (not capitalism), as the owner of a computer or an iPhone, value watching cat videos higher than helping people not to die.
This, of course, is such a heavy moral burden that you're happy someone comes along and blames it on "capitalism".
Now it does not. In the future it will be more profitable to cure malaria than male pattern baldness.
How do we get there? I am not sure, but having one of the most respected business figures in the world holler about it will help.
You can google for the story to get beyond the paywall if you need to.