Bloomberg reports that the Feds have indicted Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli on fraud charges.
Surely you remember Martin, no? He founded Turing, bought the rights to a drug used to treat AIDS patients, and proceeded to raise the price from $13 a pill to $750 a pill, thus earning him the title to "the most hated man in America". Even Donald Trump said he was a "spoiled brat".
Shkreli promised to reduce the drug price cost after receiving a torrent of abuse, but then reneged on that promise. And just this week, in what can only be described as a "fuck you" to the world, he bought the only copy of a Wu-Tang Clan album for $2 million. Because when you're a sociopath, you do things like that.
As the Bloomberg article points out, when he was again prodded to reduce the drug's price, his response was a tweet which merely said "lol". He also said if he had to do it over again, the would have raised the price even more, as his investors expected him to "maximize profits."
The Federal indictment stems from his time with a former company. The indictment alleges that he took money from the company to pay other debts from other failed businesses. Investigators had been looking into his dealings since 2012, predating his launch into infamy.
I have to say, when I woke up this morning seeing this news from one of my Twitter followers, I was awash in schadenfreude. Any cursory perusal of his story shows that he is a sociopath, concerned only with his own needs, and willing to run over anyone who stands in his way. He has no morals guiding him, except for what gives him gratification.
He's different in degree, not in kind, however. The world economy was brought to collapse in 2008 by people perhaps not as sociopathic, but nevertheless having no regard for the greater good. "Maximizing profits" is the only thing which matters in our hyper-capitalist world. There is no commonwealth to consider; what's good for a multinational is good for a multinational and screw everyone else.
I'm not writing this as a socialist or a proponent for a "mixed economy". Capitalism, when properly regulated, is the best way to structure an economy. It's when regulations are lax or non-existent that the trouble starts. When maximizing profit is the only lodestar, you get men like Shkreli. Before the Turing fiasco, he was lauded on Wall Street. If he hadn't been so bent on bursting into the limelight, today's indictments would be a minor article in the business pages.
A capitalism which isn't rooted in the community, which doesn't take community needs into account, is a capitalism which runs rampant, trampling rights. "Let the market decide" is the mantra of laissez-faire capitalists. The market, left unchecked, produces men like Martin Shkreli. Men like him serve no one's interests, save those of a small clique.
Up with capitalism! Also, up with stricter regulation, so that men like Martin Shkreli are the aberration, not the norm.