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Scenario - The poor and life-saving medicines

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Maken
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Basically... There's a woman who is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and is near death. A man in town has recently discovered a radium based cure. He purchased the radium for $400 and is charging $4000 to sell it. The dying woman's husband tries all possible legal means, but can only obtain $2000, which he offers to the druggist. The man refuses and says it must be $4000 up front or no deal. Basically, should he steal the drug?

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No. Consider the question: If you spent years of your life coming up with a cure for a disease, and then that cure was immediately and thanklessly stolen, how many more diseases will you cure? Assuming you care more about helping the sick than profit, how will you produce any drugs after all the means of their production are stolen? How about the patient who was willing to pay and who will now be denied treatment?

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None of what I said above takes principles into account. Theft is a denial of the right to property is a denial of the right to life, including the right to life for the dying woman. Without a society with the rule of law and property rights, everyone concerned would probably have died of hunger in infancy.

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Basically... There's a woman who is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and is near death. A man in town has recently discovered a radium based cure. He purchased the radium for $400 and is charging $4000 to sell it. The dying woman's husband tries all possible legal means, but can only obtain $2000, which he offers to the druggist. The man refuses and says it must be $4000 up front or no deal. Basically, should he steal the drug?

The druggist is being stupid. He should charge what the market will bear, and since his market is so small (it is a rare cancer, after all) that is easy to determine. Charging 4000 when he can only get 2000 is equivalent to taking his original investment of 400 and burning it.

Let me finish this story in the same ridiculous spirit in which it started...

The husband steals the drug and saves the life of his wife. The husband is arrested and goes to jail. The wife and the druggist meet during the court proceedings and begin an affair. Eventually the wife divorces the husband for at least half of his net worth, and runs off with the druggist, who also sued and won the husband's 2000 in cash and other less liquid assets. Bankrupted, imprisoned, abandoned and and subjected to repeated beatings and prison rapes, the (former) husband nevertheless is glad in his heart of hearts that his (former) wife is still alive, whom he still loves. He informs her of this in a letter wishing her success in her new life. She responds requesting that he refrain from writing letters because "the past makes her uncomfortable to think about". To solve this new problem, he finds a way to keep himself face down into a toilet bowl even after losing consciousness, thus killing himself by drowning. "He was a good man", said the prison chaplain who never met him at a cremation ceremony no one attended. Everyone else lived happily ever after.

Edited by Grames
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Basically... There's a woman who is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and is near death. A man in town has recently discovered a radium based cure. He purchased the radium for $400 and is charging $4000 to sell it. The dying woman's husband tries all possible legal means, but can only obtain $2000, which he offers to the druggist. The man refuses and says it must be $4000 up front or no deal. Basically, should he steal the drug?
No, but I'd rephrase the question.

The dying woman's husband tries all possible legal means, but can only obtain $2000, which he offers to the druggist. The druggist refuses and says it must be $4000 up front or no deal. Yes or no, should he allow his wife to die if he finds no legal way to save her?

There ya go.

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Basically... There's a woman who is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and is near death. A man in town has recently discovered a radium based cure. He purchased the radium for $400 and is charging $4000 to sell it. The dying woman's husband tries all possible legal means, but can only obtain $2000, which he offers to the druggist. The man refuses and says it must be $4000 up front or no deal. Basically, should he steal the drug?

If he is willing to go to jail for his wife, sure. I'm not sure what the fact that it only cost 400$ initially has to do with it though. The answer is the same if it cost 1 million dollars, and is being offered for 4000.

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If this man steals the cure, should the other guy with a dying wife (who found legal means to earn/save $4k) re-steal the cure?
Stealing from a thief the things he has stolen with any other purpose in mind but returning them to their rightful owners or turning them over to the authorities is tantamount to buying things that you know to be 'hot' out the back of a van. However, if your aim is true (that is to say that you plan to do what is right once you 'steal' that which has already been stolen) then the only thing to consider is whether it is in your rational self-interest to take the risks. If your lover (possibly your highest value) will die, and this cure is the only thing that can save her, it's possible that it would be worth the risks. But if you succeed, you aren't suddenly authorized to use the cure. You must hand the cure over to its rightful owner with the hope that they are willing to give it up at a price you can afford. If not, tough. At the very least you know you did everything within ethical limitations that you could. Edited by Alexandros
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Thanks for all the responses. Sorry if this was already on the forum but we discussed this in class today and was curious what people had to say.

Doesn't it come down to the morals of the husband? If he values the life of his wife over individual rights shouldn't he technically steal it and face the consequences?

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Oh, good grief, not this one again. I'm closing this thread because this has already been discussed to death numerous times. If you still have questions, I advise you to utilize the Search function.

Here, I help you:

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...660&hl=drug

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...;hl=steal++wife

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...;hl=steal++wife

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