February 20, 2015
More money, more problems: Corporate reign in State of Wonder
The pharmaceutical industry is an ever growing, mega-pharmaceutical giants such as Johnson & Johnson, Teva, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer; just to name a few still around today. Drugs are expensive to: make, sell, and buy; they are one of the biggest commodities on earth. Corporations spend millions to even billions of dollars on research to find what kind of drug can heal, is cheap to produce, and able to double, triple, quadrupole profits. Pharmaceutical companies are cold-hearted and nefarious organisms, just a few of the countless amounts of verbs and nouns that describe them to core is a board room full of directors and executive hot shots, who make more money in a lifetime, than a majority of middle class people. They lead these corporations, they have the final say; sending the money to where it can be utilized, such as research and development departments to increase earning potential; helping to achieve maximum earning potential, companies often take shortcuts or decrease time spent on research. The case with Vogel pharmaceuticals, who have invested over a long period and money in a project, located in the Amazon that no one in the corporate hierarchy knew about what had transpired over there at the base camp. In State of Wonder, Ann Patchett uses madness of power, corporate influence, and social responsibility to show how making profits drives the machine of a corporation such as Vogel to no end and causes problems that have a major effect.
In State of Wonder, Vogel is depicted as a conglomerate of a pharmaceutical corporation for its sparkling campus uttered by Marina,"There were more than thirty buildings on the Vogel campus, labs and office buildings of various sizes and functions. There were labs with stations for twenty technicians and scientists to work at the same time.”(2 ). Patchett conveys the concept Vogel is a monstrous corporation for its gigantic size and power. That size is part of the reason for why the motif of madness is apparent in the story, for that the power fuels the crazy. Madness is a great way for Vogel and its employees to assert themselves in the Amazon, especially with the Kakashi people and their environment. The idea of madness in not solely located in the Amazon, but the market that Vogel concerns itself with. The market that Vogel serves is always moving, like a dance such as the tango, requiring a large amount of energy, knowledge, and under pressure of dramatic shifting in the market. Companies in order to make money, need to put their employees to the test, sometimes of their comfort zone. For Dr. Marina Singh, she has been to the insanity of another country that is India, as she traveled there as a child to see her father. As she waits her baggage at the Manaus airport. On page 77, Marina quotes her past experience in a land of madness and foretells of what is to come in another land of Manacas, “She thought of Calcutta, the madness of the baggage claim that gave her only the slightest preview to the madness of the streets outside”( 77). As Marina rethinks of India and the craziness of the country, madness she endured on the trek to the base camp to push her fullest. Mariana would go so far to find her friend and co-worker, she traveled to what she knew as a child, to the land of pure madness. The Vogel Corporation and Mr. Fox pushed her into the madness of the Amazon to locate back lost profit. Joel Bakan author of The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, acknowledges the idea that a corporation such as Vogel can be too big, that they create their own madness, affecting both employees and the general public. Having absolute power it can wield over a society such as the Lakashi for taming them, and also for possessing an ultimate key to life drug, dangling it over a nation of people as if they were g-d. A quote from…