The hit-and-run death of a 2 year old may have been exacerbated by the profit motive, if not caused by it. The child was struck in the southern city of Foshan near Hong Kong. The driver of the vehicle struck the girl and stopped with the wheel on her. He then began moving forward and struck the girl again with the rear wheel. After leaving the scene of the crime 18 people passed by the dying child without stopping to help.
Immediately after the incident was finally reported to the police, a manhunt for the driver began. Not long after the incident the man turned himself into police. The driver, who’s name has not yet been released to the public, cited financial concerns for not stopping to help the child. This is the statement he gave to the police:
“If she is dead, I may pay only about 20,000 yuan [in compensation]. But if she is injured , it may cost me hundreds of thousands of yuan.”
The logic of the profit motive dictates that the child dying is in the interests of the man that hit her. Its possible he ran over a second time just so that he would have to pay less in compensation. If this is indeed what happened, then the profit motive incentivized the murder of a child over seeking help for her. Few incidents could better display the cold blooded nature of the profit motive.
Now what about all those people who simply walked by while the child was laying there on the ground suffering? Why didn’t any of those people stop to help? Many Chinese commentators are pointing to the fact that in the past Good Samaritans have ended up in liability for helping injured people. In the past Good Samaritans have been sued by the family of the victim, or held responsible by local authorities.
A good example of this is a 2006 incident in which a Nanjing man helped an elderly woman to the hospital after she broke her leg. The man was ordered to pay 40% of her medical care because it was believed that he only helped put because he must be responsible for her injury in some way.
This is due to a lack of protection for people who help in an emergency situation. in Ontario, as well as in other places, there are Good Samaritan Acts that protect non-medical personnel that respond to an emergency situation. Many commentators in China are citing this as a possible reason why so many people refused to help. Micro-blogging sites like Weibo (Chinese Twitter) have started calling for laws to protect people who help.
What we have here once again is people being incentivized not to help others in need of it. The fear of being financially responsible motivated people into refusing to help this dying child. Personal financial self-interest went directly against saving this child’s life. Had someone helped this child she may have survived. Had there not been incentive, the driver may not have hit her a second time.
This a prime example of how far China has fallen with the restoration of capitalism that began with the “reforms” of Deng Xiaoping. Under Maoist China, such an incident was simply unheard of. The spirit of the Great Cultural Revolution brought people together under a banner of unity and brotherhood that would never have allowed such an event to take place.
In a socialist system, particularly a communist society, this would never happen. All medical and disability care would be provided, thus there would be no need to hide from financial liability. Especially under communism, a system without money, it would be impossible to sue someone.
And if you think a lack of ability to hold people financially responsible will create a situation where people would care if they hit people, I refer you to the incident that just took place. Financial liability is what caused these people not to care and avoid helping. Their narrow individual self-interest drove these people to leave a child in the street suffering to die.