Duck! and Gather

Corporate Cheating

Posted on: June 16, 2008

Just got off the phone with my sister. We chatted about the NBA game last night which was the subject of my previous blog posting. I talked about how that game, and the stinky way that it ended, was no different than what has been happening in our culture in other domains. The core idea is that we consumers want something, and the corporate provider of that something finds a more cost-effective, efficient way to bring that thing to us. But instead of making those improvements through proper means, the corporations “cheat” their way to those improvements.

To me, the NBA game last night was an example of the NBA corporation cheating to give me, the fan, what I want: namely, Game 6 tomorrow night. As a fan, I want to see the series go to 7 games. I want to see Game 7 tied with a minute to go. And in that final minute of the season, I want to look into the souls of the men playing, and see who they truly are as they perform in that crucible. That’s what I want as a fan — as do the majority of fans.

The NBA would like to give us what we want. But they can’t assure this through fair means. So they cheat. They gerrymander the reffing to give us what we want. But that sours the taste for us fans. And the NBA expresses “surprise” that we fans would complain.

What about the corporate media? I have read that over the past decade or so, news organizations have run stories, like video segments from an on-site “reporter”, that were written and produced by Corporations or by Government. This “Video News Release” practice saves the media corporation lots of money, since producing these video segments is expensive.

Corporate media is happy with this arrangement since it saves them money. Corporations and Government are happy with the arrangement because they get their messages to their customers in the dress of “news” rather than as advertising or political discourse — both of which are discounted heavily by us people.

Why should we consumers complain about this arrangement? After all, it gives us more information; more news. And that’s what we want. No?

Well, what we really want is true information, or at least, honest information. But “news” generated that way is nothing more than “spin”.

How about the FDA? For a century, the FDA has been the government agency responsible for ensuring that food and drugs marketed and sold nationally are not dangerous to us consumers. In the past 30 years, biotech research has exploded in activity (many believe biotech is the future of tech), and the pharmaceutical industry has come to dominate what passes for “healthcare” in this nation. It seems fair to say that the vast majority of people in this country are in favor of pharmaceuticals as their first line of defense in health. At least, that’s how most seem to behave.

Well, it turns out that the cost of developing new pharmaceuticals is almost prohibitive. But merely developing these drugs is only the first step. The second step for the pharmaceutical company is getting the FDA to approve the new drug. A rejection by the FDA would mean all of that time and money spent on developing the new drug would be wasted. What to do if you are a pharmaceutical company?

As it happens, for well over a decade, the pharmaceuticals have been funding the FDA to perform their duty of reviewing the drugs of these companies. As I explained earlier in this blog, that would be like the FBI receiving its paychecks from the mafia who the FBI is charged with investigating. How many arrests of mafia figures do you think the FBI would make if that’s how the money flowed? So what do you think the FDA has been doing for the past few decades?

Why should we consumers be upset about this? After all, we want the pharmaceutical drugs. And this cozy relationship between the FDA and pharmaceutical companies means we get our drugs sooner than later. Sooner is better, right?

Well, I guess the answer depends upon whether the drug is more harmful than helpful. In the wake of Vioxx and more, some of us are starting to realize that sooner can be much worse than later sometimes.

What all of these stories have in common is Corporate “Cheating”. The Corporations are giving us people “what we want.” But what we want is gold. Yet the Corporations are giving us fools gold.

But so long as we remain fools, where’s the problem? For a fool, fools gold = gold.

Problem comes when people start paraphrasing Roger Daltry and say: “We won’t get fooled again!”

for the money has gone too far

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