A left-wing perspective offers a structural critique of capitalist firms, arguing that they are focused only on profit, and not issues such as safety or the common good. In reality, however, the modern left has failed to sufficiently apply this critique to Big Pharma and their operations in creating medications – although they will sometimes acknowledge it in a haphazard way. What is not taken into account is the way that Big Pharma – in allegiance with the state – creates new medical ‘needs’ and new markets based on these needs, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 vaccinations.
The General Anti-Capitalist Viewpoint
The concern of any business is to make profit. The only way for any corporation to make profit is to effectively exploit their workers and extract excess labour from them (or to extract excess labour from other people’s workers – for example, banks). Other concerns must be subordinated to the need for profit. For example, product safety is not in itself a concern for a business. It would only become a concern to the extent that it affected profit – for example if people refused to buy a such a product, or if a government fined the company more than the profits made on the product for producing something unsafe.
In order to keep making profits, capitalist companies must create new markets. It is in the inherent nature of capitalism that it must keep expanding. The entire history of capitalism demonstrates this, as it expanded from Western Europe to the whole world. This is also why the capitalist world was locked in a death struggle with the USSR: not only because the socialist USSR offered a viable alternative to capitalism but also because the USSR and its allies represented untapped markets and resources. New inventions and the creation of new ‘needs’ can also be seen in the history of capitalism. Items like automobiles and mobile phones have become ‘necessary’ to human life in the West despite not actually being necessary in the technical sense.
Big Pharma and Capitalism
This logic applies as much to Big Pharma as any other corporation. One of the most important points to make specifically regarding Big Pharma is that the main market in Western countries is the state rather than individuals or private companies, due to state run healthcare services. This is different in the US due to their health insurance system. The relationship between the state and Big Pharma means that the attempt to sell more products will be centralised rather than dispersed, as it is with consumer products (this is similar to the arms industry).
There is a certain amount of genuine health issues within a population, whether caused by genetic factors or environmental factors. These health issues create demands for medications and other products sold by Big Pharma. While on the surface, the idea of a health issue is objective, in reality there is an element of subjectivity. This allows for the creation of new medications to treat these issues. If one wants to get more cynical, we can consider the idea of iatrogenic conditions, i.e. those that are created by medical treatment. This can create a market for more medical interventions to correct these iatrogenic conditions.
The construction of the deadly disease ‘Covid-19’ has multiple uses, as I have discussed in previous articles. It is without doubt that this narrative massively benefits Big Pharma. Capitalist companies have ‘developed’ Covid-19 vaccines as quickly as possible in order to cash in on the market of selling these vaccines to the state for mass distribution. The Covid-19 narrative also promotes the idea that every single person in the country needs the vaccine which creates a massive market.
However, the Covid 19 narrative is more than just opportunistic. One function of the construction of this narrative – along with the pushing of transhumanist totalitarianism – is the transfer of wealth upward from ordinary people to capitalists. As has been known since the days of the early bourgeois economists such as David Ricardo, the rate of profit declines over time under a capitalist system. As capitalism has existed for centuries at this point this tendency has become significantly advanced. The recovery from the 2008 crisis was weak.
The ‘pandemic’ narrative was used to justify lockdowns, which have been an absolute disaster for the working class in terms of lost income. Importantly, lockdowns have helped to destroy small businesses, which has increased wealth centralisation. Under capitalism, capital becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer companies, banks, etc. as more successful firms drive weaker competition out of business. Lockdowns accelerate this process in several ways: closing small firms’ premises so forcing people to buy online, channeling purchases through a small number of businesses; causing small businesses to go bust so their assets can be bought on the cheap; and encouraging small businesses to take loans to ‘weather the pandemic’ which will mean their assets will be appropriated by banks.
The Covid-19 vaccinations then are just one part of transference of wealth into the pockets of a few large firms created by this narrative. Some might question this argument by saying that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was not developed for profit. However, as explained by Whitney Webb, AstraZeneca plans to make their profit further down the line through boosters given to people who received the original AstraZeneca jab. Their hope for profit was based on getting a wider spread of the vaccine due to the initial lack of profit, then doubling up on profit later – just another means to the same end.
Isn’t This Obvious?
Yes, I would consider the points raised about Big Pharma profiteering to be rather obvious. However, it seems that the Left needs a reminder of the realities of Big Pharma, and that they do not care about individuals’ health, only profit.
This is because many on the Left have fallen hook, line and sinker for the Official Covid Narrative, advocating any and all forms of capitalist ‘health’ authoritarianism so long as the government justifies it as ‘protecting us from a deadly virus’. Furthermore, the left has mocked anyone who questioned this narrative as a ‘conspiracy theorist’.
This puts the left in awkward position in terms of the profit motive behind the vaccines. The left has really pushed the idea of endless lockdowns, to the extent that it is difficult to see what would satisfy them (welding us in our homes, maybe?) This puts them in a position of having to support the vaccine because they are going to look ridiculous if they advocate for 50-year lockdowns until there is no more Covid (though of course, that doesn’t stop some of them – see the ‘Zero Covid’ fanatics).
People who question the vaccine, according to the left, are thus put in a bucket of being ‘Conspiracy theorists’, despite the obvious point that there is a certain motivation behind these vaccines that the left would have to admit: profit.
The left resolves this by unconsciously/cynically (take your pick) recognising the fact that profit is important for Big Pharma but only in terms of denying people the vaccine if they do not have the money to pay for it. The narrative involves criticism of Big Pharma in the sense that they have patented these vaccines and will not let generic versions of the vaccines be marketed because of their profit margins. The idea that the vaccine itself could be contaminated by profit motives is not considered.
The Covid-19 Narrative has created a windfall for Big Pharma, which is minimised by the left because they have fallen for the Covid Narrative. Although this minimisation is required given the support for the Covid narrative, it also warrants further explanation.
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