Dyed All Hues

Thinker and Experimenter,

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How can we prevent people from cashing in on other people's misfortunes?

Pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, casket stores, cemeteries, etc.

Basically, all these places cash in on other people's misfortunes.

Is any of it ethical or is it just a fact of life?

  • Apr 9 2013: People would be silly not to cash in on someone's else misfortune.

    However, issues for me would be:
    1. Cashing in on me while I'm in a vulnerable state and asking me for something of value in order to help me, i.e. If you pay me money, I will help you get better
    2. Fixing the situation so that I will fail in order to cash in on a misfortune that was generated/manufactured by them., i.e. I have provided false information in order to exploit money from that person

    If I have made a genuine mistake, and someone else cashes in on the situation, then I'm okay with that.
  • Apr 6 2013: I think companies involved in insurance, healthcare, and mortuary services are entitled to make a profit like any other business. Each provides a service to their customers that is both necessary and welcomed. However, I think by "cashing in" you are talking about businesses involved in these services operating in a non-professional way.

    Market competition should keep prices for like services about the same, give or take features, special services, or extras. However, these companies are each providing services at a time when people are very vulnerable. One of the roles I see for government is to regulate these businesses, hold them accountable, and prevent entire industries from price gouging during times of high demand, not honoring the intent conveyed in advertisements, or otherwise counting on the size and strength of a corporation to prevent the individual from getting a fair deal when they have no other choice.

    On the flip side of this, it is not a company's responsibility to prevent bad things from happening to people, nor is it their responsibility to provide free goods or services despite the urgency of the need of the individual. It is the responsibility of the individual to plan for each of these services appropriately IN ADVANCE. We are becoming a nation of whining victims because no one wants to sacrifice in the present for things that will happen, or might happen in the future. Planning should be rewarded-proactive, not reactive!

    For example, if you plan for a trip, you might include a bottle of water. Buying a canteen and filling it is one way to plan, buying a case of water at the discount store another. Less planning, and you might buy a bottle retail the day of the trip. Less planning, and you might pay convenience store prices, etc. However, being in a unexpected situation where you need a bottle of water to live and being charged 10 times more than it is worth, should be prevented. Being charged for convenience is just a business opportunity
  • Apr 6 2013: It is a fact of life.

    Sometimes it is ethical and sometimes it is not.

    When I called a mechanic to tow my car in the middle of the night, I was extremely grateful for the service, and glad that our society is organized in such a way that people are willing to get out of bed in the middle of the night to provide help when I need help.
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    Apr 9 2013: You should not look at it as someone benefiting from someone else's misfortunes because that is just one way of looking at it. The reason cashing in on others peoples misfortunes is seen as such a bad thing is because it has been manipulated from the corruption of corporate profit and public control. The idea of cashing in on other people misfortunes was not always a bad thing, it was seen as a form of gratitude because the profit that you talk about now used to be a way for the people being treated for their misfortunes to say thank you. Pharmaceutical companies for example did not always treat the ill for the purpose of benefiting from other peoples misfortunes, they treated the ill for the purpose of helping the ill purely, the cash that they got was merely a thanks from the people that they treated. The question should not be how to prevent people from cashing in on other peoples misfortunes, but rather how to instill that idea of gratitude in the people making money from the help of misfortunate people
  • Apr 8 2013: The only real control is self-control. There's always loopholes in the laws, ways to get around the people watching. The only way to really eradicate these problems is for people in general to choose to change to be better and more ethical from within.
  • Apr 7 2013: Frederick Hayek who is one of Paul Ryan's favorites wrote that big problems in America are corporations and patent law. American law requires corporations to maximize things in a way that you may deplore.
  • Apr 6 2013: Get rid of the monetary system.
    That is why people try to capitalize on anything they can, and most of the time that involves other people's misfortunes.
    That is why the system is called "capitalism".
    Capitalize on all the bad luck of everyone you can, or on what they don't know or are misled into believing and acting upon because the "ism" is "I"......"Self".......and "me."
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    Apr 6 2013: Do you extend your concern in this area to all services that assists people in meeting needs or solving problems that would otherwise cause them hardship? Isn't insurance meant to assist people in weathering misfortunes rather than cashing in on misfortunes and don't cemetery services relieve people of having to perform burials of their loved ones themselves? Is this cashing in on misfortunes or sharing the burden of misfortunes with those who prefer that to simply dealing with these things themselves?
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    Apr 6 2013: Well, obviously we all wish for the happiest life possible for all of us. But probably there are going to be some bad things along the way, and inevitably we're all going to die, so I would say there are many industries to help with the problems that arise.

    I wonder if you could say every business cashes in on people's misfortunes. For instance, is it a misfortune that after a few hours we get hungry again. So a supermarket cashes in on our misfortunes when they sell us food? Or without clothes we get cold, so the clothing stores are cashing in? But none of us want to go back to being animals, in fact animals have more misfortune, don't they?

    I think it all comes with being mortal.
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      Apr 6 2013: I pose you the same question as for Mr. lockwood.

      To what extent would each separate corporation have to charge in order to break even to pay for the upkeep of each isolated sectors like the pharmaceutical companies and still help everyone who needs help?

      Difficult to answer on my behalf, but ask I must because it is a sticky situation that needs some light shed upon it.
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        Apr 6 2013: As far as I know, Derek, everyone who needs help gets it. If you are poor, there are programs to help you pay for your medications.
        • Apr 6 2013: Sorry Greg.
          This is simply not true.
          And I am empirical evidence that it isn't.
          It almost killed me but somehow I survived and almost died since because of lack of medication and the money to purchase it.
          The last 16 years of my life have been hell, emotionally, mentally and most of all physically.
          And I couldn't get any help whatsoever. Nor did I.
          I just didn't die. Why? I have no idea.
  • Apr 6 2013: If they didn't cash in - Would there be help?
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      Apr 6 2013: To what extent would each separate corporation have to charge in order to break even to pay for the upkeep of each isolated sectors like the pharmaceutical companies and still help everyone who needs help?

      Difficult to answer on my behalf, but ask I must because it is a sticky situation that needs some light shed upon it.