Mixing Profit and Kindness


Perhaps one of the most fundamental conflicts in society is the mixture of profit seeking with human kindness.

I was struck the other day with an unbelievable thought: it’s virtually impossible for non-rich people to become doctors in the United States.

Think about that.

Think about how many people in our country have a genuine and powerful desire to help others. And think about how many actually could make it through the schooling.

But they can’t afford to. Average costs to go to medical school today are around 150K to 200K. That’s on top of your undergraduate degree, which is already ridiculously expensive.

Is it not an indictment against a culture that only rich people can become doctors? Imagine explaining that to a visiting alien scientist. You’d look ridiculous.

A fundamental disconnect

Every part of the medical industry is broken in this way.

  • You need to be rich to become a doctor

  • It’s expensive to be sick

  • It costs around 40K to have a baby

The problem is that taking care of people is seen as within the realm of capitalism, and as such the goal is explicitly to make money. That’s the goal. The primary purpose.

Anything else in a capitalist endeavor is secondary or worse.

So we should not be surprised when outcomes are poor, costs are high, and many doctors are unhappy with their professions.

The medical profession has been infected with a disease, and that disease is quite simply capitalism.

Capitalism should be used to make social services more efficient, not to determine their goals and infrastructure.

Helping people and making money need a firewall between them.


  1. It’s true that scholarships exist so that a few poor people can go to medical school, but that’s an exception that proves the rule.

Related posts: