I never get tired of popping the bubble of utter delusion that is libertarian economic theory. The rationale for less regulation and oversight is “The free market will punish corporations that misbehave!” This, of course, is the single most ignorant statement about corporations one could make next to “Corporations are people, my friend.”
Corporations USED to be accountable to the public because because their charter could be revoked if they went off the rails. They also only existed for a specified purpose and once it was fulfilled, the charter would end and the corporation would disband. However, corporations in their modern incarnation are immortal. Their charter can be revoked but good luck with that. Further, they exist for the sole purpose of making money. Period. That’s it. Nothing else. Ethics and morality do not play a part in their decisions. Why? Because it’s rare for the people who decided that poisoning children for a profit will ever go to jail. It wasn’t their fault, you see. They were just doing their job! Once personal responsibility is removed from the equation it becomes incredibly easy for corporate executives to do stuff like the following:
A drug company refuses to sell lifesaving drugs because the profit margin is only healthy instead of obscene:
When South Korea’s Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs valued a year’s supply of Fuzeon at $18,000 — essentially setting the limit Roche could charge for the drug within the country’s borders — Roche balked and refused to sell the drug there any longer. Because of the lack of alternative drugs, the company effectively withdrew treatment for South Korea’s HIV patients, despite the fact that the company still would’ve realized a profit from sales, even at the $18,000 price limit.
When the decision was challenged, the head of Roche’s Korea division reportedly said, “We are not in the business to save lives, but to make money. Saving lives is not our business”
Saving lives is not our business. Nice. Or how about price gouging the military and then knowingly delivering spoiled food to the troops?
Halliburton employees revealed the company’s policy of delivering spoiled and out-of-date food to U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. In some cases, the food was spoiled enough that it would be refused at camp. In this case, said Halliburton delivery drivers, the food would be taken to the next camp until it was accepted
Libertarians HATE Obamacare! Apparently they would prefer this:
Under WellPoint’s policy, a breast cancer diagnosis meant a woman’s policy was flagged for investigation. It would be searched for any type of error, including clerical errors, which would then be used to revoke the patient’s insurance coverage
This practice is now illegal but it went on for decades. Where was the invisible hand of the free market? And speaking of the “free market” there was this gem from Wall St.:
So investment banking house Goldman Sachs created Abacus 2007-ACI, a fund of mortgages it sold to investors. What Goldman didn’t tell Abacus fund investors was that the mortgages they were betting would succeed had been handpicked by a favorite Goldman investor to actually lose. The favored investor, John Paulson, was allowed to compile the mortgage-backed securities (meaning subprime) that he thought would lose so he could bet against them. It was up to Goldman to sell the fund to investors who would bet on them [source: Nocera]. Paulson won the bet, making $1 billon from the fund.
Libertarians love the idea of caveat emptor or “Let the buyer beware.” If the seller cheats you, that’s too bad but supposedly, the bad guys will be punished somehow. But time after time, no one goes to jail. No one gets into any real trouble and if the banks had not choked on their own greed in such a public faction, no one would have even known about this particular scam. The rich get to prey on the less rich at will because that’s how they designed the system. Without the government regulation and watchdogging that libertarians cry about so often, there’s nothing stopping the rich from cheating us, stealing our money or even flat out killing us for a profit. They already do this and there are laws against it and the nominal threat of jail.
What kind of idiot thinks that they would suddenly stop all of their disgusting, inhumane and sociopathic behavior if they DIDN’T have the government watching them? Keep preaching about the free market and the use of force to “steal” taxes you jackasses. The rich love you for your hard work ensuring they can profit from your misery later. They rest of us will pool our resources and have our government look out for our best interests. You can go live in Somalia. Let us know how awesome your freedom is.