Yet Another Heartwarming Tale of Corporate Virtue

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Suppose you were a manufacturer of OxyContin, and you had strong evidence that certain doctors were illegally selling huge quantities of your pills to all comers. Keith Humphreys asks, What Would You Do?

  • (A) Report these doctors to the authorities?
  • (B) Insulate yourself by not sending your representatives to these doctors anymore, but continue to pocket the huge profits they generate from writing countless prescriptions for your products?
  • (C) Keep a secret list of these doctors but publicly promote the idea that painkiller abuse is not driven by wayward doctors but by other sources, such as pharmaceutical robberies?
  • (D) Reveal the list of doctors to authorities years later only because at that point it could stop a competitor from introducing a new generic medication that might cut into your own sales?
  • (E) A combination of B, C and D, but certainly not A.

You’ve already guessed the answer, haven’t you? I can’t put anything over on you guys. Click the link if you want the gory details.

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Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

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