Forget the talk of recession. The world is about to enter a new era in which miracle drugs will conquer cancer and other killer diseases and technological and scientific advances will trigger unprecedented economic growth and global prosperity.
Pie in the sky optimism? Perhaps. But there are reasons to be optimistic, and they rest not on science fiction but within the badly misnamed "dismal science," economics.
Those Jetpacks and Robots from the 1950s are well overdue. And where is my Moon Vacation?
If you don't want to die, it's much better to have the common disease. The reason? The cost of developing drugs for rare and common diseases are about the same, but the revenues aren't. Pharmaceutical companies concentrate on drugs with larger markets because larger markets mean more profits.
Apart from that part of the market which is too poor to afford the drug and is unable to get any from a competitor because the US wants to enforce its worldwide patenting laws.
As a result, there are more drugs to treat diseases with a lot of patients than to treat rare diseases
There are plently non-market reasons for this, perhaps researchers wants to research into common diseases is because they are the diseases which do the most common? (And if its capital, research and a "common disease" that is only needed, why has no cure to the common cold been found yet?)
So imagine this: If China and India were as wealthy as the U.S., the market for cancer drugs would be eight times larger than it is today.
So imagine this: Both India and China having millions and millions of subsitence peasents who migrate to the cities to toil factories all day and lead unrewarding lives just so westerners can get consumer products cheaper and then read some self-justifying bullsh*t from the likes of Forbes..... Oh no wait, That's Reality!
Like pharmaceuticals, new computer chips, software and chemicals also require large research and development (R&D) expenditures. As India, China and other countries become wealthier, companies will increase their worldwide R&D investments. Most importantly, as markets expand, companies and countries will put to work the greatest asset of all for the betterment of mankind: brain power.
If history has taught us anything, it's that Betterment of makind does not equal "making more money for me".
Poverty means that millions of potentially world-class scientists today spend their lives trying to eke out a subsistence living, rather than leading mankind's charge into the future.
Sadly this is very true, Perhaps they would feel better if this guy from Forbes came up to them and said "You know you may too poor to have a serious opportunity at life, but don't worry thanks to the miracles of unfallable Free Market (TM) people you don't know in the future from countries which may not be yours which perhaps be able to achieve. But only if there Economy grows right."
Or then again perhaps not.
But if the world as a whole were as wealthy as the U.S.
Hasn't this guy heard of Scarcity? Are we looking at an "unlimited returns" situation ala the Internet circa 1998.
In the 20th century, two world wars diverted the energy of two generations from production to destruction.
Partially caused by the very forces described in this article
World poverty meant that the U.S. and a few other countries shouldered the burdens of advancing knowledge nearly alone.
Now we're into White Man's Burden terriority. If only the poors were like us..
Trade, development and the free flow of people and ideas are uniting all of humanity
Osama Bin Laden Disagrees.
This gives us reason to be highly optimistic about the future.
Only if you believe in modern Economical Alchemy that is "OMG TEH FREE MARKET!1111".*
And it didn't even mention Global Warming. *sigh*
* - Interestingly enough the era of highest worldwide growth was the period 1945-1973; the golden age of Keynesian economics (Cue Bono talking about causation). Apart from that some well noted examples quite alot of the world (such as Subsaharan Africa) have actually gone backwards
from that point.