The Blue and the Green

Julien Sorel wishes to make his fortune. With intellectual talent but not much creativity, he understands that there are only two paths upward from his petty bourgeoisie background: the priesthood—the black—or the military—the red. He chooses the black.




Two centuries’ time has changed a lot since Stendahl’s nineteenth-century novel The Red and the Black, but not human desires.  And not the deep structure of the economy. Today’s Julien Sorel strivers who want to make a lot of money but don’t much care how have different options: the blue and the green—the medical and financial industries.



So I was struck by Paul Krugman’s column about Obama’s legacy:

The 2008 election didn’t bring the political transformation Obama enthusiasts expected, nor did it destroy the power of the vested interests: Wall Street, the medical-industrial complex and the fossil fuel lobby are all still out there, using their money to buy influence.


I haven’t seen the phrase “medical-industrial complex” used before in mainstream journalism.  It should be used more.


Perhaps this is a sign of slowly dawning awareness that there are reasons we’re not getting much health from our medical system.


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