Skip to content

Tyranny of the Merchant Class

Ralph Nader
Friday, July 2, 2010

There is a reason why, so many centuries ago, every major religion warned its adherents not to give too much power to the “merchant class.” That reason is still here – the commercial drive knows few self-imposed boundaries, especially when it resides in large corporations.

A cruel manifestation of this singular drive for maximizing profit is how companies treat those who are most powerless, most vulnerable or most preoccupied.

Here are some illustrations that highlight the serious failures of law enforcement:

1. Pre-teen children. The direct marketing to children knows no limits of decency. Undermining parental authority with penetrating marketing schemes and temptations, companies deceptively excite youngsters to buy massive amounts of products that are bad for their safety, health and minds. Think junk food – loaded with fat, salt and sugar, that increases obesity, diabetes and predisposition for high blood pressure. (See

Obesity produces sickness, death, disability and large medical bills.

Marketers are selling ever more violent entertainment, and soft porn with delivery systems that escape parental review or supervision. Television is no longer the only route to children. Our fourteen year-old, then-startling book—Children First: A Parent’s Guide to Corporate Predators—now reads as an understatement.

2. The poor. Whether white, African-American, Hispanic or Native American, merchants make the poor pay more. Loan sharks, shoddy merchandise, sub-standard food products and inadequate medical care have plagued the poor and been the subject of many studies and too few prosecutions.

3. People preoccupied by their bereavement are often preyed upon by the funeral industry. The Federal Trade Commission has an ample file on overcharges and deceptive practices from the unscrupulous merchants in that trade.

4. People with rare diseases often require so called “orphan drugs.” Under a 1983 law, drug companies receive a seven year monopoly with no price restraints on these drugs. Drug companies are also given huge tax credits for research and development costs associated with orphan drugs.

The Wall Street Journal (“How Drugs for Rare Diseases Became Lifeline for Companies”, Nov 15, 2005) called these drugs “lucrative niches.” With no competition, these monopoly drugs come with staggering prices for desperate patients.

Here is one story of how your tax dollars are being used for hyperprofit corporate profits. Henry Blair was working on an experimental enzyme under government contract as a researcher at Tufts University Medical School. Working with scientists at the National Institutes of Health, they and he made the enzyme work as a treatment for Gaucher disease, which swells organs and deteriorates bones.

In 1981, Mr. Blair started the Genzyme company, got the government contract to make the enzyme which he brought to market in 1991. The average price was—get this—$200,000 a year per patient!

In 1992, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) (banished by Newt Gingrich in 1995) reported that Genzyme spent $29.4 million on the drug, with much of the initial research funded and done by government scientists at the National Institutes of Health.

Two years later, Genzyme found a much cheaper way of making the drug. In 2005, the Wall Street Journal wrote that the Gaucher drug was still priced at $200,000 per patient each year. The company says it gives the drug at no cost to about 10% of the patients. For the rest, either rely on the insurance companies (good luck), or otherwise pay or die.

5. The Health Uninsured are charged by hospitals full price, which The Wall Street Journal reported “is far more than the prices typically paid by insurance companies.” This is the case, the Journal added, in spite of an annual taxpayer subsidy of $22 billion to hospitals “to care for the uninsured.”

6. Amputees who need prosthetic devices find that the devices in the United States are very highly priced (by comparison with other western countries.) Health insurance companies make these products leading candidates for rising co-payments. This can mean tens of thousands of dollars from the patients or they go without. These shocking co-payment requirements are often in the fine print.

Many of these devices also come about with taxpayer funded research and development. Profit margins are large because of the users’ dire necessity to have them for mobility, for work, for human dignity.

7. Low-credit-score credit card holders. The relentless credit card economy requiring plastic to buy more and more things and services. The credit score becomes the hammer. A story recounted by MSNBC’s Bob Sullivan in his engrossing new book Stop Getting Ripped Off describes: “the card promised an attractive 9.9% interest rate.

But there was a catch buried in the fine print: account setup fee: $29; program fee: $95; annual fee: $48; monthly servicing fee: $84 annually; additional card fee: $20 annually.” Then this clincher sentence: “If you are assigned the minimum credit limit of $250, your initial available credit will be $71 ($51 if you select the additional-card option).”

No wonder the vendors call them “fee-harvesting” cards. Who needs loan-sharks? These credit card vendors fleece the poor wearing a three-piece suit and sitting in air conditioned skyscrapers.

Such is the fate of the poor or the vulnerable under the boot of commercial avarice.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Finance & Economics, Health Care, Politics.

Tagged with , , , , .

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Remember I told you over 5 years ago that they would be trying to shut down sites and YouTube channels that are not promoting the "Official" view. Well it's happening big time. Peoples Channels get no money from YouTube any more and Google is being fishy with their AdSense giving money for some clicks but not others. The time is here, it's not "Obama's Internet Cut Off Switch" it's "Trumps Sell Everyones Internet Dirty Laundry Garage Sale".

It's not just Google/YouTube defunding altenative chanels (mine was shut), but Facebook is also removing content, shutting pages, profiles and groups and removing funds from #altnews that way as well. I was recently kicked off FB and had a page "unpublished" with no reason given. If you don't know already all Facebooks Private Messages and Secret Groups are still analysed and checked for words related to drugs, sex, war etc against their own TOS. Personally IU know there are undercover Irish police moving from group to group cloning peoples accounts and getting people booted. Worse than that I know people in court at the moment for the content they had on their secret private group. Use Telegrams secret chat mode to chat on, or if you prefer if you need to or buy a dumb phone with nothing for the NSA to hack into if you are that paranoid.

So if your not supporting this site already which brings you news from the Left to the Right (really the same war mongering bollox) then I could do with some. Even if it's just £5 or tick the monthly subscription box it will be much appreciated. Read on to find out why/


Any support to keep this site would be appreciated. You could set up a monthly subscription for £2 like some people do or you could pay a one off donation as a gift.
I am not asking you to pay me for other people's articles, this is a clearing house as well as place to put my own views out into the world. I am asking for help to write more articles like my recent
false flag gas attack to get WWIII started in Syria, and Trump away from Putin. Hopefully a few missiles won't mean a WikiLeaks release of that infamous video Trump apparently made in a Russian bedroom with Prostitutes. Also please note that this article was written just an hour after the papers came out, and I always come back and update them.

If you want to read JUST my own articles then use the top menu I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has seen me the victim of hacks, DOS plus I have been kicked off multiple hosting companies, free blogging sites, and I have even had threats to cease and desist from the US armed forces. Therefore I have to pay for my own server which is NOT cheap. The more people who read these article on this site the more it costs me so some support would be much appreciated.

I have backups of removed reports shown, then taken down after pressure, that show collusion between nations and the media. I have the full redacted 28/29 pages from the 9.11 commission on the site which seems to have been forgotten about as we help Saudi Arabia bomb Yemeni kids hiding in the rubble with white phosphorus, an illegal weaapon. One that the Israeli's even used when they bombed the UN compound in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. We complain about Syrian troops (US Controlled ISIS) using chemical weapons to kill "beautiful babies". I suppose all those babies we kill in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just not beautiful enough for Trumps beautiful baby ratio. Plus we kill about 100 times as many as ISIS or the Syrian army have managed by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

I also have a backup of the FOX News series that looked into Israeli connections to 9.11. Obviously FOX removed that as soon as AIPAC, ADL and the rest of the Hasbra brigade protested.

I also have a copy of the the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was quickly and quietly removed from their site once they enacted and replaced with some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power. No change to police tactics, protesting or our unfair extradition treaty with the USA but we did get a stop to being clamped on private land instead of the mny great ideas in the original.

So ANY support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! I don't have much money after leaving my job and it is a choice between shutting the server or selling the domain or paying a lot of money just so I can show this material. Material like the FSB Bombings that put Putin in power or the Google no 1 spot when you search for protecting yourself from UK Police with "how to give a no comment interview". If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks per visit is all it takes to help keep the servers running and #altnews alive!

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation. Especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful. Why not do a monthly subscription for less money instead. Will you really notice £5 a month?

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.