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Commercialism and Medicine: An Overview

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 August 2007

Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts


There is something embarrassing about money. Everybody is seeking it but at the same time they are reluctant to talk about their bank balances and stock holdings. As a society we have so much of it that we can install 7000 saffron curtains all over Central Park, send tourists into outer space, and analyze the gas on the surface of Titan, yet we fail to spend it on millions of poverty-stricken people who die of disease or starvation each year. We do open our pocketbooks sometimes, but only when television images of massive destruction overwhelm our sensibilities. Money often dominates our consciousness and bombards us in the headlines: Our national debt is 7.7 trillion dollars and it's increasing by more than 2 billion dollars a day; corporate executives of Enron walk away with millions while their employees lose their jobs and their pensions; and we had an endless fascination with Martha Stewart, who is worth millions, but went to jail trying to save a few thousand.

© 2007 Cambridge University Press

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