by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Hollywood needs heroes and villains, and over time those roles changed. It was once cowboys vs. Indians, then Americans soldiers vs. Nazis and “Japs,” then Russians, then Arabs, then …
Well, now Hollywood is more careful about whom it calls a villain. But one group is always eligible — businessmen. In movies and on TV, evil corporations routinely dispatch heartless goons to rough up whistleblowers, political activists and average citizens. The new anarchist drama series “Mr. Robot” on USA Network even features a company called “Evil Corp.”
Don’t Hollywood writers realize that abusing customers would be a bad business model? No. They refuse to see that it rarely happens, and when it does it’s unsustainable.
In the real world, instead of killing customers or scheming to keep them poor, companies profit by trying really hard to give us what we want, and they prefer that we stay healthy, if only so that we keep buying their stuff and to limit their insurance liability.
I say, entrepreneurs and scientists are the world’s real heroes. They save and extend lives.
The website ScienceHeroes.com estimates how many lives scientists save. Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, whose synthetic fertilizers made food easier to grow, are credited with saving 2.7 billion lives. Blood researchers Karl Landsteiner and Richard Lewisohn saved more than a billion by making blood transfusions possible.
Others in the site’s top 10 include the creators of water chlorination and vaccines, as well as Norman Borlaug, credited with saving at least a quarter-billion lives for creating more abundant wheat strains and sparking the so-called “Green Revolution.”
Then there are the creators of CPR, AIDS drugs, bypass surgery, pacemakers, dialysis and more, each with millions of lives to their credit.