Anti-Capitalism Kills

Last night's episode of ER (Season 13, Episode 16, "Crisis of Conscience") contained a great example of how capitalism saves lives and socialism destroys them. Unfortunately, the writers of the show side with the socialists, and ultimately favor murder in the name of equality.

During rounds, Dr. Neela Rasgotra bumps into an aquaintance, Manish, who is donating his kidney to a complete stranger.

Neela: I don't think I could do something like this for a stranger, so maybe it bothers me that you can.

Manish: Look, Emily's parents are too old to be donors; she is getting sicker every day - you would have done the same thing.

Neela: I don't think so. You are a better person.

Manish: I'm not a better person, Neela.

Neela: See, I'd be too worried about complications. I don't mean to be negative, but you have to at least consider the possibility of bleeding...

Manish: I've considered it. We've all considered it. It's covered.

Neela: Covered?

Manish: Look, it wasn't my intent, it wasn't why I agreed, but they offered. They insisted, actually.

Neela: Manish, no!

Manish: Just listen, ok? At first I refused, but then I started thinking what $50,000 could do for my family.

Neela: Stop, I don't want to hear anymore.

Manish: Look, when I was 14, my parents sent me here to live with a distant cousin. I went to school, I learned English, I played baseball, while my sister sewed shirts for $2 a day in Mumbai.

Neela: Look, I understand you feel guilty...

Manish: Yeah, well, with $50,000 I could hire an immigration lawyer and get my whole family over here. My parents could get proper healthcare, my sisters could get a proper education. Emily's family is wealthy, it's no hardship for them, so why not?

Neela: Because people don't sell their body parts in this country, period.

Later in the episode, Neela brings her concerns about the transplant to her superior, Dr. Dubenko, in the hopes that she can convince him to call off the operation.

Dubenko: Alright, alright Neela, well look, just as an excercise, consider this: There are over 65,000 people on the UNOS list waiting for kidneys. Can we really rely on voluntary altruism to solve this problem?

Neela: What are you saying?

Dubenko: What am I saying. Well, when somebody donates a kidney, the recipient obviously benefits, right? Hospitals make money, surgeons get paid, and the donor who gives up a kidney gets flowers and a handshake, am I right?

Neela: Are you kidding?

Dubenko: So many sick people, so few organs, why not let market forces sort out the imbalance?

Neela: Because people are not commodities. We don't live in a world where it is alright for rich people to buy body parts from those less fortunate.

Dubenko: Hey, it's legal to rent out your uterus or to harvest your eggs for money. You even get paid to donate sperm. How is this different? All I know is that a dying girl is going to get a new kidney.

Neela: And then what happens to the 65,000 others who can't afford to by one?

Better to have all 65,000 die a horrible, avoidable death than risk granting salvation to some on inegalitarian terms. There is perhaps no better example of the monstrosity of socialism than opposition to a free market in human organs.

Of course, part of what makes capitalism great is that luxuries available only to the wealthy elite do not stay that way for long:

About 60 years ago Gabriel Tarde (1843-1904) the great French sociologist, dealt with the problem of the popularization of luxuries. An industrial innovation, he pointed out, enters the market as the extravagance of an elite before it finally turns, step by step, into a need of each and all and is considered indispensable. What was once a luxury becomes in the course of time a necessity.

The history of technology and marketing provides ample exemplification to confirm Tarde's thesis. There was in the past a considerable time lag between the emergence of something unheard of before and its becoming an article of everybody's use. It sometimes took many centuries until an innovation was generally accepted at least within the orbit of Western civilization. Think of the slow popularization of the use of forks, of soap, of handkerchiefs, and of a great variety of other things.

From its beginnings capitalism displayed the tendency to shorten this time lag and finally to eliminate it almost entirely. This is not a merely accidental feature of capitalistic production; it is inherent in its very nature. Capitalism is essentially mass production for the satisfaction of the wants of the masses. Its characteristic mark is big scale production by big business. For big business there cannot be any question of producing limited quantities for the sole satisfaction of a small elite. The bigger big business becomes, the more and the quicker it makes accessible to the whole people the new achievements of technology.

Centuries passed before the fork turned from an implement of effeminate weaklings into a utensil of all people. The evolution of the motor car from a plaything of wealthy idlers into a universally used means of transportation required more than twenty years. But nylon stockings became, in this country, an article of every woman's wear within hardly more than two or three years. There was practically no period in which the enjoyment of such innovations as television or the products of the frozen food industry was restricted to a small minority.

The disciples of Marx are anxious to describe in their textbooks the "unspeakable horrors of capitalism" which, as their master had prognosticated, results "with the inexorability of a law of nature" in the progressing impoverishment of the "masses." Their prejudices prevent them from noticing the fact that capitalism tends, by the instrumentality of big-scale production, to wipe out the striking contrast between the mode of life of a fortunate elite and that of the rest of a nation.

The gulf that separated the man who traveled in a coach and six and the man who stayed at home because he lacked the fare has been reduced to the difference between Pullman, or first class, and coach travel.

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