from Dean Baker
Many self-styled libertarians have been celebrating the rise of Uber. Their story is that Uber is a dynamic start-up that has managed to disrupt the moribund cab industry. The company now has a market capitalization of $17 billion.
While Uber’s market value probably depends mostly on its ability to evade the regulations that are imposed on its competitors, the company has succeeded in transforming the industry. At the least we are likely to see a modernized regulatory structure that doesn’t saddle cabs with needless regulations and fees.
Unfortunately, the taxi industry is not the only sector of the U.S. economy that can use modernization. The pharmaceutical industry makes the taxi industry look like cutting edge social media. The government imposed barriers to entry in the pharmaceutical industry don’t just raise prices by 20 or 30 percent, as may be the case with taxi fares, they raise prices by a factor or ten, twenty, or even one hundred (that would be 10,000 percent). Read more…
from David Ruccio
from Edward Fullbrook
In May of this year The Economist had a an article http://www.economist.com/node/18743951 describing how in the United States plutonomy was causing
a shift in how big drug firms do business. For years they have relied on blockbusters that treat many people. Now they are investing in more personalised medicine: biotech drugs that treat small groups of patients more effectively.
It explained how
new cancer drugs offer small benefits at an exorbitant price. Provenge costs $93,000 for a course of treatment and extends life by an average of four months. Yervoy costs $120,000 for three-and-a-half months.
Obviously only the ultra-rich will genrally be able to afford them.
This week members of the US medical profession have reacted. Read more…
from John Schmitt
Lane Kenworthy has posted two extremely helpful graphs that try to gauge the efficiency of the US health-care system relative to those of other wealthy countries. The first shows life expectancy in each country, in 2007, against per-capita health expenditures in the same year. Read more…