Is there a useful time to have money?


I rail against money quite a bit, since the facts suggest that as it is currently structured it has ceased to be the servant of humanity’s needs.

So consequently I’m not that fussed about having a lot of it, since why would I want to be part of the problem? But within this reasoning there has always been a fear: What if all the solutions required to save ourselves are expensive? Solar panels and medicine can cost a lot of money.

The world’s leading supplier of the anti-diabetes drug insulin is withdrawing a state-of-the-art medication from Greece.

Novo Nordisk, a Danish company, objects to a government decree ordering a 25% price cut in all medicines

via BBC News – Insulin giant pulls medicine from Greece over price cut.

So Greece has run out of money and there’s now a medical crisis. This is both of projections rolled into one: 1) the vagaries of the international finance* has screwed everything up, and 2) the solution is to have more money.

But let’s take a breath, pause a moment, and consider this properly. What happens next?

  1. People will do almost anything not to die, so there is a big motivational force to find a solution.
  2. There are 50,000 diabetics in Greece, so there are plenty of actors to find a solution.
  3. Cheaper solutions must already exist, since Greece is still very rich compared to the rest of the world (GDP: 28th out of 190 countries). And if you read again you’ll see it’s a “state-of-the-art medication” suggesting it’s more expensive that it needs to be.

So really all that needs to happen is that 50,000 Greeks need to get together, find a cheaper solution – possibly manufacturing it themselves if that’s an option, since it would also enable them to sell the product to others at marginal cost – and distribute it in a low-cost method. Crisis averted, culture of dependency diminished, community spirit enhanced, resilience increased, costs lowered. What’s not to love?

But what’s this, right at the end? It seems that this isn’t even necessary!

A spokesman for Novo Nordisk said […] the company would make available an insulin product called glucagen, free of charge.

So it’s all worked out. Hurrah!

  • Huge kudos to Novo Nordisk for being so very civilised when they didn’t need to be.
  • Karma points subtracted from all the Greeks who complained because they lost a luxury product.
  • Tut-tut to the BBC for taking such an negative angle on what is actually a pretty affirming and optimistic story.

* Yes, you could argue that it’s people and poor money management which has got Greece to this stage, but if you take the cause one step back this would not have happened if we had a more rational economic model, based on something real, and designed to better serve our needs.

Ed Dowding

Ed Dowding

Founder, strategist, writer, gadfly, TED talker, world-record holder, and (foolishly) reality-TV farmer. DOES: Innovation, Product, Advocacy THINKS: Regenerative Systems, Institution design, 300 year horizons

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