Noam Chomsky on Cutting the Cost of Drugs

Topic: US healthcare, the government and drug prices

Noam Chomsky: There's a lot of concern about cost of US healthcare, which makes good sense.  It's going to tank the economy.  There's about twice as much per capita as comparable countries have some of the worst outcomes and it's growing pretty fast.  So yeah, that's a real problem.  And a lot of criticism of Obama's plan from the right, as it's called, is too expensive.  Well, there's some pretty easy ways to cut down the expenses.

For example, the United States is the only industrial country that by law, does not permit the government to use its purchasing power to negotiate drug prices.  So one effect is that drug prices are way higher than anywhere else. 

Well, what does the public think about this?  The few polls there are show that approximately 85 percent of the public thinks we ought to do it.  It's not even on the agenda.  In fact, a week or so ago, the “New York Times” had a front page article saying that Obama had made a secret deal with the drug companies, in which he assured them that there would be no such moves.

Recorded on: Aug 18, 2009. 

Noam Chomsky laments the wide gulf between public policy and public attitudes towards the cost of drugs.

Yann Martel: ‘Transgression is central to art’

Is it acceptable to write a story from the perspective of someone who is completely unlike you?

Videos
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  • Is it acceptable to write from the perspective of someone who is completely unlike you? Martel believes these transgressions put empathetic imagination into practice, allowing your mind to go where your body cannot.
  • In Martel's case, it's the recipe for great art—books that have been loved and read by millions. "[W]e are who we are in relation to others," says Martel. "But the key thing is the empathetic imagination, and the empathetic imagination is the great traveler. And travelers necessarily cross borders. And not only do they have to but it's a thrill to do so. It's a thrill encountering the other."
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'The West' is, in fact, the world's biggest gated community

A review of the global "wall" that divides rich from poor.

Image: TD Architects
Strange Maps
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Why Nikola Tesla was obsessed with the Egyptian pyramids

The inventor Nikola Tesla's esoteric beliefs included unusual theories about the Egyptian pyramids.

Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia
Surprising Science
  • Nikola Tesla had numerous unusual obsessions.
  • One of his beliefs was that the Great Pyramids of Egypt were giant transmitters of energy.
  • He built Tesla Towers according to laws inspired by studying the Pyramids.
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