Sunday, May 22, 2016

No, Mr. Trump. Greed is Not Good. It is a Form of Evil.

by Nomad

A Swiss news story about an illegal profiteering scheme underscores the reality behind Donald Trump's often recited principle about the glories of greed. 

Greed and Moral Decay of the American Voter

The presumptive nominee for the Republican party in this year's presidential election really wants you to know something.
Trump is greedy.. times three.
"My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy. I’ve grabbed all the money I could get. I’m so greedy. But now I want to be greedy for the United States. I want to grab all that money. I’m going to be greedy for the United States."
Trump's philosophy is that greed is a good thing. In fact, it is such a good thing that he wants the entire nation to surrender to it. If the Bible says:
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Trump's advice?
Ignore it. That idea is for losers.
And if the Christian doctrine says:
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Mister, you'd better wise up.
The New Age of Trumpism is nearly upon us. And for a limited time only, you have a chance to get in on the ground floor!

The very nature of greed- mainly its insatiable self-centeredness- tends to cast doubt on the idea that Trump will ever charitable focus his greedy nature for the sake of the country.
It really makes no sense.
Logically, greedy people are not greedy if they want to share their wealth, their skills or any of their material blessings. Still there are a lot of suckers and chumps out there ready to take that leap of faith and vote for Trump. He's given them enough warning but they want ever so much to believe.

His many critics say that Trump's celebration of his greed is "simply another way of him saying he will enrich himself at the expense of others."  

In fact, there are plenty of questions arising from the nomination of business mogul Trump. With more than 500 companies under his control, Trump will face a series of serious conflicts of interest, and should he somehow get elected he will have more potential business conflicts than any former president.  
But get this:
Executive branch officials also are prohibited from earning income from their businesses and must abide by strict impartiality rules.
But Congress decided not to apply those restrictions to the president or vice president. They have to disclose their holdings, but they don't have to disown them.
So, if Trump becomes President Trump, we will have to take his word that he will use his greed to benefit the entire country and not merely himself, or his friends.

To outsiders witnessing the rise of the mogul with his mongrel ethics, Trump represents the final chapter in so-called conservative values: the moral decay of the American voter. 

The Fallacy of Good Greed 

On the theme of greed, I saw a news story that didn't seem to get too much attention. 

According to a Swiss news source. a former Swiss banker managed to illegally earn over a million Euros by selling HIV drugs meant for the poor in Southern Africa. The discounted medicine was later re-sold to Europeans, according to investigators.

The 70-year-old businessman (only named as M.K. in the documents) reportedly profited by abusing a United Nations program, which aimed at providing retroviral therapy at affordable prices. 
The program, Accelerating Access Initiative, required pharmaceutical companies obliged to make retroviral therapy available to poorer countries at a tiny fraction of the price seen in Europe and the USA.
The Accelerating Access Initiative (AAI), begun in 2000, was a partnership between UNAIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Bank and research-based pharmaceutical companies.
Apparently, the Zurich-based businessman saw this as a golden opportunity.  
Working with an accomplice in South Africa who described himself as a wholesale pharmaceuticals dealer, M.K is thought to have imported cheap medication into Europe before selling it on at first world prices.
The labeling on the medications was accordingly changed from English to German in order to be sold in Germany, (despite the fact that it was originally destined for Namibia.) 
Then the drugs were shipped to Brussels.
Payments were made via three firms in Panama, all of which could be traced back to M.K. The man is thought to have made profits of €900,000 (995,000 Swiss francs) and £140,000.
Eventually, the conspiracy unraveled when a German client noticed that the HIV drugs had been tampered with and that pill count was inaccurate. An investigation of the matter found other cases.

A subsequent investing by Swiss pharmaceuticals agency Swissmedic has led to the seizure of profits from the transaction. In addition, M.K will be forced to pay a fine of at least 8,500 francs including his court costs. His fellow conspirator in South Africa was fined 5,200 Swiss francs and has, rather predictably, lost his job with his firm.   

In his own defense, the fraudster M.K. claimed that he- and not the dying patients in Africa- was the real victim. He claimed to be unaware that the purchasing the and diverting drugs from a UN-assistance program was in any way illegal.

Nothing New

As shocking as this story is, it is not at all unprecedented. Back in 2002, The Guardian reported on similar schemes.

At the time, something around $18m (£12m) worth of antiretroviral drugs made by the British company GlaxoSmithKline were diverted from their intended destinations in impoverished Africa, then flown back to Europe and sold at vast profits.
The drugs were to be sold at significantly discounted prices to clinics in Senegal, Ivory Coast, the Republic of Congo, Togo and Guinea-Bissau under a scheme to offer some drugs at lower prices to poor countries agreed by Glaxo and four other drug companies with the World Health Organisation.
According to Alan Chandler, a Glaxo spokesman, about 3 million doses of Combivir - a third of the supply - was diverted back to Europe by profiteering wholesalers as it arrived at the African airports or even earlier. Chandler also speculated that some of the shipments were not hijacked in route but actually never left Europe in the first place.

Said one South- African based policy advisor for Oxfam:
"With such a huge price differential there will be a temptation for profiteering but the tragedy is that it will deny people in need of these drugs."
In many ways, as illegal and immoral as it was, the profiteering scheme is really only what an unregulated free market would like. It's also what greed looks like and contrary to Trump's notions, it is not good, in any sense.
That article was written 14 years ago and this sickening kind of exploitation of the dying poor continues today.

And no doubt, when it comes to the joys of greed, M.K subscribed to the same philosophy of the GOP presumptive nominee. 

Purely in selfish terms, greed is good, until, of course, you get caught.