Recently, a young American venture capitalist named Martin Shkrelli purchased the patent rights for a much used HIV drug and promptly raised the price from about $15 a dose to either $700 or $5000 (I’ve seen both numbers in the press.) The young man seemed to explain his decision to trade on the lives of HIV sufferers by asserting he could make a lot of money by doing so.
Among the almost universal opprobrium that this action engendered, Steven Thrasher wrote:
“It’s easy to be angry at Shkrelli, his smug smile and his greedy choices that may well equal the deaths of those priced out from the malaria, Aids and cancer medicine they need. But Shkrelli is just a tool. He lives in a world where disaster capitalism will reward him. He now says he will make the drug “more affordable,” but the richest nation on earth can’t stop him from deciding what “affordable” will mean. He may repulse us, but he represents our American way of disastrous living. Disaster capitalism no longer just reacts to chaos for profit, or even creates chaos for profit. It creates the conditions by which the spectre of social, spiritual and biological death hang over our heads on a daily basis so oppressively, the crises become seamless.”