Contra CATO: COVID-19 Vaccinations Are Not a Free Market Victory
In light of Nobel Prizes being given to two researchers of mRNA covid-19 vaccinations, beltway establishments like that of the Cato Institute have lauded praises onto the decision. To Cato, as evidenced by a blog post by Ian Vásquez, the production of these vaccines was a “victory of globalization!” Whilst it certainly required a vast scale of global resources and networking, it was hardly what one could consider a free market victory. The development of these vaccines was done so by plundered resources, granted legal immunity, and captured market positions.
One aspect lost by the English Cato blog is that of Vásquez’s defense, or rather the lack thereof, of the funding of this research. Rather than discuss where the funding for research in covid-19 vaccinations truly came from, he attempts to paint it as if it were purely a market phenomenon! In the Spanish edition of the blog, Vásquez adds two additional short paragraphs:
Global capital markets provided the necessary financing to these companies. Moderna was founded last decade as a private company with $40 million in venture capital funding; It then raised US$2.7 billion, then went public in 2018.
BioNTech raised hundreds of millions of dollars through global private stock listings before going public. As a giant multinational corporation, Pfizer was able to fund the $2 billion in testing, production and distribution of the vaccine out of its own pocket.
This portrayal is almost meant to paint the funding of this venture as mostly if not all by private capital. That ignores the massive stake which the government provided. Operation Warp Speed, as begun under Donald Trump, “invested” $12 billion in vaccine development; $2 billion was sent to Pfizer specifically, and over $4 billion to Moderna (the rest was distributed to other vaccine companies).
Article from Mises Wire
The Mises Institute’s website is a treasure trove for enthusiasts of Austrian economics, libertarian philosophy, and classical liberalism. Serving as both an educational platform and a research resource, the site offers a vast array of articles, academic papers, books, and multimedia content aimed at advancing the principles of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government. Whether you’re a scholar, student, or just someone interested in libertarian thought, the Mises Institute provides invaluable insights and tools for exploring the intellectual foundations of a free society.