Friday, October 27, 2017

Designated Survivor: some interesting economics and political economy

A strange/incoherent moment in Designated Survivor (from 10/11's episode):

President Kirkland accuses the RX industry of making billions of dollars in profit "on the backs of the American people". (Here, he misunderstands mutually beneficial trade-- at least insofar as the government allows this in HC/HI).

Then, he wants a particular CEO to "step up and do the right thing and make a sacrifice" for the people and the common good. Yet, he doesn't want to pay for something that would benefit the common good.

The CEO makes a compelling case about the lost R&D-- and when the President is unmoved, the CEO references the many people who will be harmed when their other drugs are not brought to market.

Kirkland says his job is to save lives now, acknowledging the short-run fixation of politicians. And then he brings race into it, when the CEO's decisions are unrelated to race. From there, Kirkland intimidates, slanders, and extorts the company to get what he wants. Instead, if you really believe this is for "the common good", why not just pay the company for serving the common good in this manner?

Maybe I can develop this into a test question!


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