The sleek black Mercedes purred softly as I whipped into my private parking space reserved for the CEO of one of the most powerful tax free foundations on the planet. As I left my car and rode the elevator up to my penthouse office, I felt keyed up about the day and eager to get started.
I thought to myself smugly, today is the day we’ve been zeroing in on for weeks. This afternoon’s public relations strategy meeting will soon to kick off our biggest fund raising drive ever; twenty million net after expenses. Our scientists have their press releases prepared. Marketing VP’s from all the most prestigious pharmaceuticals will be here; two of the countries most powerful PR agencies will be making their presentations. Hollywood is in on the act early; no last minute scrambling around for some second rate has-been to keynote our telethon. We’re still looking for the poster child though; it has to be just right. We’re going first class on this one.
Life is sweet. The money just keeps rolling in. As I settled back in my $2,500 executive CEO chair, turned on my computer and started to check up on how the market had opened this morning, my secretary buzzed me on the intercom. Dr. Doogood, the young Ph.D. biochemist that I hired a few months ago, wants to see me. “Well, send him in I sighed”, really wanting to get back to the market reports. This won’t take long.
In a moment, Dr.Doogood came rushing through the door waving a sheaf of computer printouts excitedly exclaiming “I’ve got it”, “I’ve found it”. “Calm down”, I ordered; “now what’s this all about”, I asked. “I’ve found it” he said. “I know how to cure our disease. People can stop suffering and wasting all their money on suppressing its symptoms. We can cure this once and for all. We need to hold a press conference and release this information ASAP. We’ll be famous”. As I listened to him talk I wondered if I had ever been that young, that naive. As I considered what he was saying I realized that indeed, he had found the cure for our proprietary disease. I reflected on how many times this might have happened in the last forty years. I wondered how many of my predecessor CEO’s had had to deal with this situation. Anyway, time to make the obvious decisions and get back to the bottom line fund raising issues I have on my plate for today.
“Go back to your office”, I told him; “write up your report and stamp it, Top Secret for Company Officers only. Be sure to include all your references, citations and original experimental evidence in the report. Do not discuss this with anyone until we have had an opportunity to adequately review it”. As I ushered him out of the office, I realized that I had only four and one half hours remaining before the big PR presentation this afternoon.
I called accounting and told them that Dr. Doogood’s employment was being terminated today and ordered his check to be prepared and delivered to security. Then I called legal and advised them of the situation and ordered one of our lawyers to brief Dr. Doogood on the finer points of the non-disclosure contract he had signed with us as part of his employment agreement. It wouldn’t do to have him blabbing about this after he was fired. Finally I called security and made arrangements for them to pick up his company ID, deliver his termination check and usher him out of the building, without taking any company documentation with him, no later than 3:30 PM.
Now where was I before this untimely interruption occurred? Oh yes, this afternoon’s fund raising strategy meeting. Twenty million is a nice round number; that’s what we’ll net this time. Everything’s all set. I just need to call the actors guild and get the interview process for the poster child started.
This story is presented as fiction; but, it is soundly based upon inside knowledge about how business, virtually all business, is really conducted in America. It’s been called “The American Way”. Some know it as the fixing and rigging of every outcome and leaving nothing to chance. That these business practices are inherently criminal, involving as they do, lying to the public on a massive scale with intent to defraud, is never noticed anymore. It is so embedded in American business that it really has become “The American Way”. Without the full faith and cooperation of the deceived believer however, a whole lot of this sort of fraud would quickly become impossible.
When the government deceives us in this way, we become outraged. When we deceive each other, or a nongovernment business, or tax free foundation, deceives us in this way, to make a buck, we find it quite acceptable. The problem with lies, and with lying, is that when we start to wallow in deceit, we soon lose all of our common sense and ability to recognize the truth about anything.
A number of our tax free foundations have been searching for a cure for their proprietary disease for over forty years. Of course, on the day that they announce that the cure has been found, they will also have to announce that they are going to lay off all of their employees and completely shut down their operation. The sad truth of the matter is that, while Americans out of the generosity of their hearts are willing to pay and pay and pay to finance the research to find a cure, they won’t pay a dime after the cure has been discovered.
The average bright third grader would have little difficulty in understanding how our tax-free foundations stay in business, year after year, without ever finding a cure for their proprietary disease. The immense amounts of money they swindle from the public on a regular yearly schedule will, very predictably, never produce a cure for anything. In fact the cure word has been legally banned by the FDA. Few physicians even allow it to be used in their presence. However, adult Americans, who have been trained to regard lying as merely another sales technique, remain completely blind to this business reality.
In the structure of our tax free foundations, all the financial incentives are completely wrong. The incentives should be structured so as to pay for curing disease. We should not pay for diligently but, alas, unsuccessfully, seeking cures year after year. The way America does these things absolutely guarantees that we will still be looking for our cures and conducting fund raising campaigns for at least another forty years, if not forever. It also guarantees that, unless we wake up, fast, we will continue to die from out of control degenerative epidemics at increasingly earlier ages.
Gullibility is not a virtue. Common sense is not a vice. Much of the orthodox medical community, including our tax free foundations, our clinics and hospitals, our drug industry and virtually all of our much promised, but notably unsuccessful research into cures for disease, is all about making money; it is not about curing or finding cures for anything. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, all our incentives remain based upon the fantasy that people do not lie when there is real money to be made. To fix the system we must get smarter, a lot smarter, about what we are willing to support financially.
China, a supposedly backward nation, is a whole lot smarter than we when it comes to dealing with the business end of the medical industry. When a young doctor graduates and starts looking for a job in China, he gets interviewed by the city councils where he applies. If he gets hired, he is paid a salary for being the city doctor. As long as the people in the city are healthy, they make their contributions and the doctor’s pay check arrives on time every week. When, however, someone gets sick, they stop paying for the doctor until they become well again. If enough people get sick, the doctors pay check stops coming until everybody is well and healthy again.
Really now, whose nation is the backward one?