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Hearts, Minds, and Maladies: Toward a Critical Theory of the Commodification of Pharmaceuticals
Unformatted Document Text:  13 rationalized means to crush dissent and maintain the normative social equanimity essential for profit accumulation. Considering the Foucaultian notion of control, for example, large employers increasingly resort to psychiatry to eliminate workforce elements who take what are deemed recalcitrant or unreasonable stances against management or who may instigate “workplace violence.” “Hundreds of large corporations have hired psychiatrists and psychologists as consultants to advise them on how to weed out ‘threatening’ employees,” including union organizers, whistleblowers, or the potentially litigious (Downs 2001). And so practitioners and pharmaceuticals may mutually enforce a certain routinized normativity. This is the latest chapter in a program of scientific and professional control of consciousness and behavior; of maintaining a norm by which profit accumulation is most efficiently achieved. Psychoactive drugs are, in a very real sense, our society’s version of Winston Smith’s coveted Victory Gin, with a twist. Fat Frontiers Because pharmaceutical companies must secure profitable adherents to serve the market imperative designating potentially lucrative maladies such as the ones psychiatry provides is essential. A certainty is that the market for “fat burning” or weight loss pharmaceuticals is most reliable (Kaufman 2002). Because millions in the industrialized world have lead sedentary lives and jobs millions are overweight and obese. Further, obesity is reaching pandemic proportions because machines now do the work that was once done manually. In 2002 a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that obesity in the US doubled to 26% -- twice the percentage of twenty years ago. Obesity rates in Britain and Australia have tripled to 21% since the early 1980s (Winslow and Landers 2002). Sixty percent

Authors: Tracy, James.
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rationalized means to crush dissent and maintain the normative social
equanimity essential for profit accumulation. Considering the Foucaultian
notion of control, for example, large employers increasingly resort to psychiatry
to eliminate workforce elements who take what are deemed recalcitrant or
unreasonable stances against management or who may instigate “workplace
violence.” “Hundreds of large corporations have hired psychiatrists and
psychologists as consultants to advise them on how to weed out ‘threatening’
employees,” including union organizers, whistleblowers, or the potentially
litigious (Downs 2001). And so practitioners and pharmaceuticals may mutually
enforce a certain routinized normativity. This is the latest chapter in a program
of scientific and professional control of consciousness and behavior; of
maintaining a norm by which profit accumulation is most efficiently achieved.
Psychoactive drugs are, in a very real sense, our society’s version of Winston
Smith’s coveted Victory Gin, with a twist.
Fat Frontiers
Because pharmaceutical companies must secure profitable adherents to
serve the market imperative designating potentially lucrative maladies such as
the ones psychiatry provides is essential. A certainty is that the market for “fat
burning” or weight loss pharmaceuticals is most reliable (Kaufman 2002).
Because millions in the industrialized world have lead sedentary lives and jobs
millions are overweight and obese. Further, obesity is reaching pandemic
proportions because machines now do the work that was once done manually.
In 2002 a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development found that obesity in the US doubled to 26% -- twice the
percentage of twenty years ago. Obesity rates in Britain and Australia have
tripled to 21% since the early 1980s (Winslow and Landers 2002). Sixty percent


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