Cumberland Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park, Honeybee/Corbin, Kentucky

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Saturday, March 12, 2022

Big Pharma and Russia ...

 (*Edited - content added.)

So many private businesses have either willingly or been pressured to stop selling and investing in Russia - and I wholeheartedly agree with them - with one exception.

Because one thing we have learned from history is that economic deprivation works - it may take longer than battle, and it has to be a united front with everybody on board - but it does work.

In fact, many historians believe the strategy of "starving the South" or "putting the economic squeeze" on the South was actually more effective at helping the Union win the American Civil War than actual combat - or at least it effectively weakened them during combat. 

At the time, the northeast had just about everything people needed and wanted, fresh or preserved, even beginning refrigeration.  They  had large factories that had the latest technological methods of mass production.  They controlled the railways and thus interior distribution, as well as most international shipping routes.   The  north also had the biggest business-financing banks. 

The south - did not.  

They could grow food, but now had no way to distribute or preserve  - they relied on the north for that.   They had few large factories and virtually no advanced industrial methods of mass production.  They had local banks to finance business, but many were tied to the northeast US banks or overseas.  

In fact, the biggest moneymakers in the South were were cotton, indigo dye,  tobacco, coffee, and sugar - things which people could live without - and of course, slaves - human beings were the South's most profitable "products."

New Orleans was the biggest international Southern port, but since it had changed from French control to Spanish, back to French again, then British Colonial, within the course of a century, had taken its tool on international traders willingness to trade there.  Additionally, though New Orleans' geographic location made it difficult for anyone to get in, it also made it easy to blockade anyone or anything from getting out.  

Also, by this time, though New Orleans still held the largest slave markets, they no longer received international slaves since the Louisiana purchase (other than to Caribbean and Latin American sugar plantations).  The only  port legally allowed to traffic in US Slaves in America was now was in Charleston, South Carolina.  

However, even international slave trade through Charleston became difficult by Civil War times, not only due to various port blockades, but because the rest of the world had already begun to prohibit slave trading.  Thus, by the time of the Civil War, most slave trading was domestic and included "breeding farms" for labor.

Thus, with all of their trade now grinding towards a halt, we starved  out the South economically (and unfortunately literally starved them food wise as well), more than anything else.

It's a bit harder to do, these days, with flights now providing trade items more than ships and railroads, with now multinational global markets, with more funds and resources than ever before behind them - but it can still be done, if all are on board.

HOWEVER, what we also have learned, or should have learned, is not to cause unnecessary casualties to civilians or soldiers, who in the case of Russia, actually contain many who disagree with Putin's decision, but must follow orders anyway or just so happen to have been born and/or live in Russia.

Just like in our "pre-emptive strike War on Terrorism" it is possible to not support the decisions leaders make, but still support their people, who often have no choice in the matter and are just following orders.

As such, IMO, there are certain exceptions along ethical lines we should not cross.

For example, because of the total economic squeeze of the South during the Civil War, they ran out of ether, especially in more Southern battlefields, leaving both Union and Confederate soldiers to have procedures performed on them without anesthetic and/or die.  

Also, soldiers on both sides raided temporarily women-run Southern farms, overpowering them, looking for food from them, though they were nearly starving themselves. 

People say that all is fair in war, but it shouldn't be - there should be some ethical stopping points.

I know many will disagree with me for saying what I'm about to say, but please understand that I am just as anti-Putin, anti-Russian invasion of the Ukraine as anyone  - but there's an ethical line we shouldn't cross, IMO. 

So many people are putting pressure on Big Pharma to stop selling in Russia.

I disagree - do we really want to stop giving life-saving medication to a breast-cancer patient because of what Putin decided to do? 

Or stop vaccinating people during a pandemic to stop the spread of COVID?

I don't think we do - or we shouldn't.

(Of course, how to pay for the treatment is another problem, one which I have no answer for - that's one Putin will need to answer/be held accountable for.)

I get the reason why people are wanting them to, I do - but IMO, healthcare should be the one exception.

So while I otherwise support a "total economic starvation" policy towards Russia, healthcare is my one exception - thus, I support Big Pharma's decision not to invest any further in Russia, but to still continue to manufacture and provide pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for the Russian people as a whole  - sorry.


PS - It is important to note that in addition to halting investments and any new service agreements, all of the major pharmaceutical companies have  condemned Russians actions, have pledged their support to the Ukraine, and are sending aid there - only pharmaceutical distribution of their medicines continue in Russia.

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