(image by opensourceway)
Factoring human and ecological costs into price analysis.
Today I went to a local pharmacy to pick up a prescription my doctor gave me-- for a three month supply. The pharmacy tech plugged my data into their system and the three month prescription was rejected, with only a one month supply allowed.
To obtain a three month supply I had to get it through Futurescript, the company that manages prescription plans for my healthcare insurer. (actually, Futurescript is owned by Catalyst Health Solutions Inc., which is a subsidiary of SXC Health Solutions.
It bothered me that I couldn't get the prescription from a local business giving local people jobs.
It may be that it is cheaper for Futurescript to mail order supply the medication. But that can lead to local jobs lost. Local jobs inject spending into the local economy AND pay federal taxes.
Saving ten cents on a prescription might cost fifteen cents or a dollar in terms of lost tax revenues and re-investment in the community economy.
That doesn't matter to a for-profit company. But if we had single payer, medicare for all healthcare, then those other costs would come into play as part of federal, state and municipal budgets.
This raises a few considerations.
For profit companies exploit opportunities regardless of the impact on the community or the healthy functioning of the optimized employment environment. Jobs as assets of value can be quantified and added into cost equations that are intended to optimize employment, not just simple cost. Other costs, like pollution and actuarially calculated costs of cancer treatment for the victims, can be determined and added into the big picture cost assessment.
Capitalism as an economic system runs with or without the "indirect" costs I describe above. It should not. When companies omit the considerations mentioned above they evade responsibility and literally parasitize the system and local communities. Talk about welfare. That is welfare-- or worse, since it is destructive, which makes it more like an affliction or infestation.
This is a case where corporations, acting independently are stealing from local communities, stealing from the commons. Libertarians like to talk about getting rid of regulations, but we need MORE regulations to stop the kind of theft big corporations engage in every day.