Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ten Men on a Dead Man's Chest

A favorite libertarian fairy tale concerns some guys on a desert island, one of who is so productive that he produces more than all the others combined. In my version, I speculate on how this could happen. The one guy may have happened to find a marvelously productive pool, teeming with fish, crabs and other food, while the others are forced to forage in the mean desert landscape. The question of the fairy tale is about the ethics of the others ganging up to tax Mr. Productivity.

I won't bother with that nonsense, but I'm pretty sure that I know how primitive hunter gatherers would deal with it. They would ask him to share, and if he refused, conclude he was a psychopath and kill him.

Of course things get more complicated in civilized society, so that option for dealing with the pool squatter's modern counterpart, Martin Shrkeli, is neither useful nor permissable. His squatter rights derive from laws that were intended to promote competition to provide generic drugs at low cost. Mr. Shrkeli bought the rights to a drug that is lifesaving for a relatively small number of patients and increased the price of this sixty year old drug by about 5000%.

His right to do this is provided by the government. As with many other pool squatters, this right derives from the ability of rich people to get the government to vote them special privileges. The government should withdraw those privileges and the voters should turn out the rascals who granted them.