My Commentary article “Conflicting Assumptions: The Meaning of Price in the Pharmaceutical Economy” was published in August 2017 in the journal Science As Culture. An excerpt is below. Reach out for the final version.
This essay in the Journal of Cultural Economy reviewed three recent books: Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Alexis Shotwell’s Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times, and Anna Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins.
It is even tempting to regard food allergy as the signature disease of modernity. If so, a return to pure, clean living — avoiding pollution, pesticides, the hustle and bustle of modern life — would seem to be the solution.
How does the financialization of life itself figure as a new means of producing value in modern technoscience?
This question of the politics of technological artifacts has perhaps never been more salient than now, when we walk around with computing technologies on our person at all times. Chief among these are the politics of becoming cyborg.
The moral life of epinephrine serves as a model for thinking about how medical devices take on meaning that is at once practical, moral, and economic as they circulate through manufacturing and distribution channels and into the lives and social worlds of users.
While blaming the CEO satisfies the forensic itch of reporters and congresspeople, it obscures some important structural issues at play in healthcare today.
What makes Shkreli so delightfully hateable aren’t the particular lies he told to investors and regulators, but how he so gleefully espoused the benefits of corporate profit-seeking in the pharmaceutical industry prior to his downfall. Yet his views are not extraordinary; rather, they are emblematic of how this peculiar corner of industry does business.