Regarding the public financing of medical research, given the significant rôle of federal government financing in the development of pharmaceuticals, it might be wise for the government to expand the organization of their research capabilities and develop pharmaceuticals publicly such that any patents for the medication belong to the public. The government can then make and distribute the pharmaceuticals themselves or they can contract with privatized firms to only be involved in the manufacturing process in a cost-controlled manner. Public marketing of medications can then be eliminated or curtailed as is the case in many other countries. Foreigners watching US television are often shocked to see advertisements telling the public to tell their doctors what drugs they wish to take. I recently showed some video clips of US drug commercials to a foreigner and they thought for sure it was some kind of comedy piece. In other countries, the doctors tell patients what drugs, if any, are best for a given condition. Good luck getting the media to advocate for this given the vast advertising budgets of the pharmaceutical industry.

If the intellectual property of the pharmaceuticals are publicly owned, vaccines, along with other medications, can be developed, manufactured, and deployed globally in a relatively inexpensive manner such that outbreaks can be properly controlled. Furthermore, there should be international cooperation between countries to help develop inexpensive and beneficial pharmaceuticals and other medical technologies. Just as CERN, the pan-European science research group funded with public money, developed the technology behind the World Wide Web, partnering countries can work together to develop ‘open source’ medical technology. The infrastructure of the Internet relies on open source software. There’s no reason that I can see that medical technology should be any different. All of this applies to environmental technology as well.

Now, with this being said, this public process is not funded by the taxpayers as implied by Mr. Nader and others on this episode of the RNRH. The cost to the public is when the public fails to have access to medications they need, when public health disasters are poorly controlled, and so forth. The focus should be on ensuring that government is meeting the needs of the public just as previous public health scares led to the public development of sewers and clean drinking water. By falsely implying that federal government spending is constrained by tax revenue, Mr. Nader and company are falsely implying that the federal government is constrained in their ability to fund necessary public services. It is time that progressives realize the true ability to realize necessary public spending rather than continue to insist that progressives use false logic simply because we’ve always used false logic about government spending. It’s not that this narrative has produced winning results. What’s the point of persisting with it?

Also, given the topic of public research funding, has the RNRH discussed the topic of the corporatization and militarization of academic research? What about universities trying to profit off of intellectual property from research? Academia probably enjoys greater public trust than government, but I’m not sure if that trust is truly earned since much of academia is not under much public scrutiny even at public institutions. The topic of some large public universities ignoring undergraduate education, sometimes so faculty can pursue corporate research, while charging undergraduate students a considerable amount of money for courses is probably a consumer advocacy issue as well.

Expand full comment

The larger problem is pollution, gluttonous overconsumption, waste, incompetent government. Years ago they started shutting down very efficient incinerators necessitating the dumping of refuse in landfills and shipped to other countries. Far more expensive and energy intensive. The "green" technologies are also wrong headed in most cases, requiring far more energy, often fossil fuels to get up and running, especially solar and wind energy. The government has promoted "green" energy programs creating pork barrel spending to benefit their cronies. Limit the airflights and other activities that directly impact the global warming challenge instead of totalitarian and destructive political efforts!

Expand full comment

Please, Ralph Nader, join the Feb 19th anti war rally in DC.

Expand full comment

I’m posting this here because it might be of relevance to the Capitol Hill Citizen reporters or any other reporters connected with Mr. Nader who study media biases which lead to pro-corporate public outcomes. The BBC recently released a report they commissioned about the impartiality of the BBC’s economics coverage. I believe this is a fascinating report. The flaws in the BBC’s economic coverage are not dissimilar from the flaws in economics reporting I see here in the United States, but our commercial broadcasters will probably never publicly release a self-analysis such as this from the BBC.

The release of this BBC report is most certainly an ‘under the radar’ thing and I’m not sure if it’ll catch the attention of the media here. Even if it does, some members of the media won’t want to discuss flaws in their own field. Hopefully Mr. Nader, or those close to him, know some reporters who might want to investigate the BBC’s claims further.

The Australian economics professor Bill Mitchell has posted commentary about the BBC report and it is excellent. The link to Mitchell’s commentary should also be passed along to the media.

BBC report: https://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/documents/thematic-review-taxation-public-spending-govt-borrowing-debt.pdf

Bill Mitchell’s analysis (note that the ABC that Mitchell is referring to is the Australian Broadcasting Company, not the US ABC): http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=51211

I thought this summary point from the BBC report is especially salient (page 4, page 5 in the PDF): “We think too many journalists lack understanding of basic economics or lack confidence reporting it. This brings a high risk to impartiality. In the period of this review, it particularly affected debt. Some journalists seem to feel instinctively that debt is simply bad, full stop, and don’t appear to realise this can be contested and contestable.”

This information on the same page is also salient: “That example highlights a general problem. Too often, it’s not clear from a report that fiscal policy decisions are also political choices; they’re not inevitable, it’s just that governments like to present them that way. The language of necessity takes subtle forms; if the BBC adopts it, it can sound perilously close to policy endorsement.”

I most certainly agree with both those points.

Bill Mitchell makes an equally valid point that the media, certainly here in the US, often have some sort of private bank analyst, often with the name of their bank on the background cloth, on to discuss economic matters and then the media takes that analysis as gospel rather than having multiple viewpoints from economics professors and others…especially those with heterodox economic views. This leads to the public having a very corporate-biased understanding of economics.

So, yes, this is fascinating material and I hope those affiliated with the RNRH can get this information in the hands of media experts who can do something interesting with this for a US audience.

Expand full comment

Hello Mr. Nader, Steven and David. I’m a huge fan of the show and I have a question for Mr. Nader, how do the Republicans expect to be re-elected after trying to dismantle Social Security and Medicare?

Expand full comment

Climate change, climate disruption or climate crisis are not going to motivate citizens in the current political climate.

I have suggested many times that we use the term The War on Habitat. (Unfortunately those comments disappeared with switch to Substack. Are you ever going to restore those five years of comments?)

The problem will not be solved by the big money politicians that work for the perpetrators of the War on Habitat, the big money interests.

The first step to solving the problem as it is with almost every problem is to get the big money out of politics.

The big money cannot be taken out of politics with legislation because the big money politicians will only pass legislation that primarily benefits the big money interests that have no interest in getting the big money out of politics.

In order to pass legislation to get the money out of politics we must first replace the big money legislators with small donor legislators. The problem has to be solved before legislation to solve the problem can be passed.

Why does Ralph refuse to acknowledge (or refute) this fact?

It is up to citizens to demand small donor candidates and enforce that demand with our votes.

Ralph has said that politicians want our votes more than big money.

All the letters and protests in the universe will not persuade big money politicians to take action for ordinary citizens over the big money interests as long as citizens keep voting for big money candidates when the candidates take big money and legislate for the big money interests.

If the big money politicians keep getting our votes for nothing we will keep getting nothing.

The same people that are waging The War on Habitat are also waging The War on Democracy.

Citizens need to find out if your statement that politicians want our votes more than big money is true by using the only weapons we have in these wars- our votes and our money.

We need to win The War on Democracy in order to end The War on Habitat before habitat escalates it's return fire in ways that would make nuclear weapons seem tame.

Expand full comment

Ralph, Liked the climate program. Consider POLLUTION to the conversation as, in my opinion,it is a big part of the climate issue. Thank You

Expand full comment

As long as Ralph does not acknowledge and apologize for his unfaltering belief in Russiagate even though all the evidence has shown Russiagate was a blatant lie funded by the Clinton foundation and democratic party then his discussion of Ukraine is greatly weakened. Calling Putin a "brutal dictator" is just more of the blue-anon propaganda and tarnishes any discussion no matter how justified. Propaganda should always be called out, it is disgusting when the republicans do it and no more legitimate when democrats do it. Russiagate nonsense was all through the book Ralph co-wrote about Trump that I had to just stop reading it, even though the book was spot on about actual Trump discretion's. There is no shame in self reflection, in fact it is a strength!

Expand full comment

Known for years , war is good for the economy, look at WW2. Another truism is people vote their pocketbooks. The war in Ukraine was avoidable and a good reason to withdraw support for this administration.

Expand full comment

The placement of windfarms off the coast is to not despoil the picture postcard view. The monstrous incursions into a vital ecosystem has yet to be addressed for the downside of so called renewables. This is consistent with an politcal agenda approach, popular rhetoric and naive rhetorical solutions. A frenzy of emotional reactions seems normalized. A credible thorough model of all the factors involved in this climate instability and find rational solution. The railroading of windfarms to get steel in the water before more careful consideration , smacks of political will for political mileage.

Expand full comment

Thank you for this segment. Books like this are necessary to educate people. Some thoughts...

1. Don’t forget that agriculture is a huge contributor to climate crisis (perhaps equal to Fossil fuel if adding animal ag+till farming+deforestation for ag) Most people don’t consider agriculture included in “industrialization”.

2. We need to admit to ourselves that soliciting people, lawmakers, and industry to “do the right thing” won’t work. Trying to get people to conserve, while appropriate, is not consequential. People can only consume what is produced (e.g., if I can’t buy things packaged in plastic I will therefore consume less plastic). For expediency, we should consider a top down approach such that we make it MORE profitable/self-serving for Industry (including Ag) and people to do the right thing than the wrong thing. Corporations and people will only do what is in their best interest, so we need a strategy that acknowledges the quickest long-term solution will have to be profit-/benefit-motivated. I hate that this will likely require subsidizing the very industries who are the culprits, but to ignore the pure strength and reliability of greed is futile. 

3. I think the polls miss a nuance that might be interesting to explore…There are people who believe that weather manipulation/modification is going on (by government, DOD or others ??). These people may not agree with the narrative about “industry” being responsible for weather anomalies and therefore resist the term "climate change", though they may actually believe that there ARE weather anomalies. It would be interesting (though controversial) to see if there were a difference in the responses if the poll questions were differently worded.

Thanks for all you do.

Expand full comment

Glad for the conversation and would like to hear more about the drawbacks of renewables, what ever that means. The placement of windfarms on the west coast are detrimental to the upwelling wind driven currents that are the basis of primary production and the carbon cycle. Not just birdstrike and fish habitat, a sophomoric view and distraction from real and much more destructive downsides. The carbon cycle and oxygen production entwined with ecosystem degradation and threat to food security are never mentioned as we headlong push by political agendas to a half baked solution.

Expand full comment