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Niall Cummins

Skog
Business 1050
4/28/16

My Renaissance

Critical Thinking covered a wide range of topics, ranging from the very free
market in ancient Rome, to the Labor Rights movements of the 18 th and 19th
century. This class taught brought me a lot of clarity on a variety of topics I
previously had never really thought about.
What I would like to focus on in this paper, is how this clarity has brought me
a new perception and outlook on the way modern day society functions. One of the
most prominent realizations I had is the fact that modern day America is incredibly
corrupt.
Today, In the United States, it is completely legal for business executives to
meet up with members of Congress and write laws which benefit corporations. It is
also completely legal for these congressman to accept donations from these
executives in exchange for transposing a bill for the company, and it goes even
further. It is also completely legal for that law to be attached to the bottom of a
2000 page bill right before Congress votes on the bill. This makes it impossible for
any other members of Congress to read the law which was just passed. This process
is called lobbying. This ability can have disastrous effects on society.
A good example of this scenario starts with Monsanto. In 2013, a bill was
presented to Congress titled The Farmer Protection Act. Within this multiple
thousand page bill was an article titled The Monsanto Protection Act. This act
made it completely illegal for anyone to sue Monsanto, and it also made it illegal to
label genetically modified foods that have been designed by Monsanto as GMOs.
This clearly does not benefit the people of America. It only benefits Monsanto.
We currently do not know if there are any side-effects of consuming GMOs, and
because of this law we no longer know when we are consuming them. We also cant
sue Monsanto if we do start becoming sick. What we do know is that GMOs are
filled with all kinds of unnatural chemical and pesticides that are not found in
natural food. Laws like this are passed all the times in Congress, and all it does is
fuel our societys corruption.
Other forms of corruption within the United States are legally backed cartels,
which we also talked about in class. A cartel is a group of oligopolistic businesses
who are secretly working together in order to control prices and raise their own
profits. An example of this is OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries.

OPEC controls oil prices on a global scale. They decide what the oil prices are,
and they decide when companies are charging too much or too little for the oil.
They completely control the oil market. This is not good for the U.S economy
because it artificially inflates oil prices in places where oil would otherwise be really
cheap, such as here in Utah, and several hundred miles away in Texas. Texas
actually produces more oil than it uses, causing a surplus of oil. This would normally
drive the price of oil down, but because OPEC decides the price of oil, the people of
Texas have to pay much more than they should to fill up their gas tanks. This takes
money that people could spend on other products, and redirects it to the pockets of
the leaders in an already rich industry.
Another topic that was touched upon quite often during our class discussions
was the 2008 financial meltdown. As we all know, this was due to corruption within
the big banks of 2008. Most of the blame is placed on decisions that were made at
a corporate level regarding bonds backed by mortgages that were likely to fail. It
has been 8 years since this meltdown, and yet not even one of the bankers who
caused the meltdown has had to pay a dime or serve any times. Many of the banks
were actually bailed out afterwards by the federal government.
The final piece of corruption I would like to talk about today is corruption
within the pharmaceutical industry. Drug prices in America are astronomically high
compared to other countries. Many drugs can be bought for 1/100 th or even 1/1000th
of the cost in European countries. Why is this? Its because we have no laws to
regulate drug prices in the United States. Pharmaceutical companies and hospitals
can charge as much as they want for medication. I went to the hospital once, and I
had to get a saline IV. Keep in mind that saline is salt water and a 1 liter package of
it could probably be produced for under a dollar. My bill from Intermountain
Healthcare showed that each liter of saline was a $750 dollar charge!
I think it is plain to see that America is far from a perfect country, and I thank
Critical Thinking as well as Mr. Skog to opening my eyes to the corruption that is in
front of us.
So how do we fix this corruption? I know that Milton Freidman would argue
that we need to get rid of regulation and let the free market work its magic to get
rid of these problems, but I propose the opposite. We need more economic
regulation in the industries that are corrupt in order to benefit the consumers. We
need to limit the amount of profits that drug companies can make on a drug when
the health of the people is in the balance. We need to stop letting corporations take
advantage of us, and we need to stop letting certain companies get special
privileges.
Im glad to have learned about all of these things in class, as it has given me
reason to become politically active.