Beat the Press

Dean Baker's commentary on economic reporting


The Washington Post Doesn’t Believe in Market Incentives

I was going to give this one a pass, since it’s a column in the Post Outlook section, not a news story, but even opinion pieces should be able to pass the laugh test.

The basic point of the piece is that the public and media are wrong to be concerned about the fact that researchers who do research and report findings, as well as the regulators who assess them, often get money from the drug companies that stand to make billions. The article assures us that these people are dedicated professionals, committed to bettering human life, who would not let money affect their behavior.

It’s great to know that the Washington Post would be willing to print a diatribe arguing that individuals act out of concern for society rather than for monetary gain – first socialist tract I’ve seen the Post since I’ve been in town.

Of course, if anyone really believed what the column argues, then we should just take the money out of drug research altogether. If the scientists are high-minded individuals who only act out of their desire to better humankind, then we can just give them standard government salaries and set them to work developing new drugs. There is no need for patents and the multi-billion dollar rewards that can go to lucky patent holders. I haven’t seen the piece arguing this position in the Post Outlook section, and I doubt that I will.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home