If you never heard the question that is the title of today's post, you must not be familiar with the story of Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine. Unfortunately the world has changed for the worse since 1959; nowadays it seems that patenting the sun is business as usual...
Dr. Jonas Salk gave an interview on Edward R. Murrow's show on the polio vaccine, and in it he's asked: "Who owns the patent?" After a short pause Salk responded: "The people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?" Isn't that refreshing in these times when the virus of capitalism has the world convinced that it's perfectly normal to attach a dollar-value on human life? It begs the question: when did we let the accumulation of personal wealth, which is the core incentive worshiped by the capitalist mindset and said to be responsible for all progress in society, completely overshadow morality? There is no price for human life, or any other life for that matter. Even if you believe with all your heart and soul that capitalism, complete with its innate class-division, on average does more good than harm, you have to realize that economics can never supersede basic human morals, or it shouldn't at least. You have to concede that at least, if you have a functioning brain and a heart.
There's a choice to be made here, one that is mentioned in the short video I share with you today: do well, or do good. You have to choose one or the other, as it's almost impossible to do both. If a cure for cancer is found, it will be most likely be found in a tax-dollar funded institution like a university campus or a National Institute of Health research facility, and it will be patented by a privately owned for profit business; that's how the free market operates in end stage capitalism. Socializing costs and privatizing profits isn't restricted to production and marketing alone; it starts at the very beginning, the research and development stage, and it's all part and parcel of minimizing costs and maximizing profits. When we look at this in relation to healthcare, where we decide over life or death in a clear and direct fashion, we can easily recognize the fallacy of running an entire society on the core principle of personal profits, but this fallacy extends to all corners of our economic lifes.
I don't have to spell out what will happen with everything that will be developed, produced, marketed and sold as a result of the current pandemic, but I will; some small group of individuals who had nothing to do with the research and development, will take care of the production, marketing and selling, pretending to be the inventors, courtesy of the patent they'll acquire. And we'll worship them, like we worship Elon Musk as if he were Iron Man himself. We need to stop that. Instead, let's worship people like Jonas Falk and Wilhelm Roentgen (who refused to patent his invention: X-ray technology). Let's go back to valuing human life over the all-mighty dollar...
Could You Patent the Sun? | Retro Report
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