Home Forum Political Economy No vaccines for the global south?

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  • #245470

    Two articles dealing with the pandemic-pharma issue that utilize the language of ‘sabotage’:

    1. The halted “open-source” Finnish vaccine, which, among other matters, touches upon the limitations social-democratic regimes, as well as neo-liberal ones, find themselves under [on Jacobin].

    2. A short brief on the inner workings of sabotaging knowledge, production and politics; and the role “philanthropy” (the likes of Bill Gates) plays in all that [By Cory Doctorow, thanks Yigal for sharing].

    Have you came across similar investigations into the subject? Any thoughts on how a more theoretical approach might support, elaborate or direct current analysis? I think the line of thinking presented through the texts above is quite intuitive for many people, and it raises the question of whether a CasP approach can supply it with something more than the traditional marxist vocabulary. If so, might it be especially relevant for a global perspective on power relations? The last point seems like the hardest trajectory to research into, but maybe it’s the most promising and innovating. Surely we can make better than talk of “unequal exchange”…

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    • #245471

      Thanks Max. Interesting articles. I don’t have any other reading to contribute … just opinion.

      I think many people on the left hoped that the immensity of the COVID crisis would cause rich countries to temporarily abandon IP enforcement on vaccines. In hindsight, we can see that this has not happened. The IP establishment is too entrenched. However, I still hold out hope for the future.

      I like that the Jacobin article brought up Linux, as I think that’s a good example. Some people thought that Linux would immediately kill Windows, and other proprietary operating systems. That didn’t happen. But what did happen is that open source gradually transformed the whole software landscape.

      I hope that the COVID crisis may be the kick the world needs to reform IP. The idea that intellectual property is a state-enforced monopoly was obscure a few decades ago. My guess is that, at least within the context of vaccines, it will become mainstream. But perhaps that is just wishful thinking. What we really need is a threat of a good example … an open access vaccine that is way cheaper than the proprietary alternative.

    • #245472

      Here is a New Republic piece about Bill Gate’s dubious role in privatizing vaccines: https://newrepublic.com/article/162000/bill-gates-impeded-global-access-covid-vaccines

    • #245574

      Well, something seems to be moving on that front. but is the focus on IP to narrow? This piece can be read as to suggest production is sabotaged (at least on the near to medium term) at wider (and maybe deeper?) levels – limitations on techno-scientific design and modularity of vaccines production, as well as the control of essential raw materials supply. Though stock prices have plummeted following the Biden administration declaration, they haven’t collapsed. Surely, investors know it’s all talk for now and the risk to IP might not materialize, but maybe expectations also take into account IP is only the first line of defense for profit, in the current circumstances.

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