Pluralistic: Capitalists hate capitalism (09 June 2023)

Today’s links Capitalists hate capitalism: Merck’s version of “market pricing” is “whatever we ask for.” Hey look at this: Delights to delectate. This day in history: 2003, 2008, 2013, 2018, 2022 Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading Capitalists hate capitalism (permalink) As the Marxist agitator Adam Smith once said, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” Smith understood that capitalists hate capitalism. They don’t want to compete with one another, because that would interfere with their ability to raise the prices their customers pay and reduce the wages they pay their workers. Thus Peter Thiel’s anticapitalist rallying cry, “competition is for losers,” or Warren Buffett’s extreme horniness for businesses with “wide, sustainable moats.” These anti-capitalist capitalists love big government. They love no-bid military contracts, they love ACA subsidies for health insurance companies, they love Farm Bill cash for Cargill and Monsanto. What they don’t love is markets. Case in point: pharma giant Merck. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) includes a provision that allows Medicare to (finally) start (weakly) negotiating the prices it pays for (a tiny handful of) drugs. If you’re scratching your head and wondering if you understood that correctly, let me assure you, you did: the US government is currently prohibited from negotiating drug prices when it bargains with pharma companies. In other words: Medicare simply pays a pharma companies –…Pluralistic: Capitalists hate capitalism (09 June 2023)

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