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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/12291/healthcare-intervention-the-bigger-picture/

Healthcare Intervention: The Bigger Picture

March 23, 2010 by

Medical socialism is but one variety of a larger problem. We can follow the headlines and despair or we can support the source of light and have hope. Please join the Mises Institute in our work of bringing that light to a new generation. FULL ARTICLE by Doug French

{ 59 comments }

htran March 23, 2010 at 5:24 pm

“And Uncle Sam provides healthcare for more than three-quarters of those over 65, whether they realize it or not, as the famous town-hall exchange between Republican Congressman Bob Inglis and one of his constituents in South Carolina illustrates. “Keep your government hands off my Medicare,” demanded the man who couldn’t be convinced that Medicare was already a government program.”

Ha! The sense of entitlement runs deep. I can’t believe we have to rely on the neocon masses to repeal the ObamaCare bill. Their blatant contradictions are so easy to attack by the Left, giving credence to the enemy.

I think the US is entering unexplored territory right now. Huge and long-lasting expansions of freedom in the past have always come from no freedom to begin with (social and political changes leading up to Industrial Revolution, pre-WWI US, China). We have the (un)lucky task of fighting to regain lost freedoms. If we only rely on past history, that entails bloody revolution or massive suffering. To fight in the gradual way, we would have to change the people’s beliefs over a long time. The socialists themselves needed decades of public education and gradual increases in public welfare to get where they are today. I forsee a much harder and longer road for us to regain the people like Bob Inglis’s constituent. I’m so sad…

Vincent Cook March 23, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I have one quibble with this otherwise fine article. The legislation is worse than mere “Healthcare Intervention,” it establishes full-blown healthcare socialism of the Zwangswirtschaft-type.
The crucial point here is that, under the bill, private insurance will be “private” in name only. The mandate for individuals to be covered by a “qualified” insurance plan (or pay a stiff fine enforced by the IRS) is coupled to a very broad federal regulatory authority to define what is or isn’t qualified. Doctors and hospitals will have to play by the Fed’s rules if they want to get paid by a qualified plan, which effectively makes the Feds the de facto single payer even if the de jure payments are made by private insurance companies.

Jenna March 23, 2010 at 5:40 pm

A good place to share your ideas about healthcare reform is at http://www.facebook.com/ideachallenges. There is a promotion running which rewards the best idea with $1,000.

Eric M. Staib March 23, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I trust the first one to submit “repeal the state worldwide” will be rewarded the $1000? :-)

dmfdmf March 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I know it looks bleak but I got the feeling from this frantic, open power grab that the left knows it is over. (In fairness, it is over for the right too). Why? The internet is causing a social revolution. Neither side can block or distort the truth anymore (Climategate anyone?). The NYT or the MSM can no longer control the debate or the agenda and this “win” by the left is really just inertia rather than a sign of deep ideological commitment to socialism. Read Clay Shirky on “Thinking the Unthinkable”. The internet has destroyed the institutions that sustained and maintained the culture just like the invention of the printing press destroyed the Catholic Church’s political and social control centuries ago. In time new institutions will form but, in light of the internet, the new institutions will have to be more truth focussed than mythology focussed.

tlpalmer March 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm

The power grab isn’t over, just more people are starting to understand that the US is not a free country. Most people will complain some about the Gov. Health Care, but will accept it and move on when football season or Christmas shopping season starts. The MSM still decides the beliefs of most people. Now if you want the people really upset find a way to have the gov. take away their beer, “American Idol” and chocolate. That might work.

kellyL March 23, 2010 at 8:00 pm

“We can follow the headlines and despair or we can support the source of light and have hope.”
–Doug French
_________________

(” Hope makes for a good breakfast, but a poor supper ” — Francis Bacon)

Pardon the pessimism, but it’s been a long day since breakfast. I don’t see the slightest hint of a turnaround in the U.S. trend toward national collectivism, since year 1789. That Big-Picture trend is accelerating, not withering

What practical mechanism do you observe that will change things in our lifetimes ??

Despair is pointless… but a focused survival outlook more practical.

Likely in the near-future will be some ‘Grand Federal Consolidation’ of today’s ObamaCare — with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other government welfare programs… all rolled into one program (with a grand new name), and some grand new {consolidated} income/payroll/VAT tax to fund it all.

Social Security, Medicare +state/local welfare are near term fiscal train-wrecks — something very, very BIG will change soon… and there is little hope that it will be a return to liberty & free markets.

The political history of the United States is not a hopeful read.

RTB March 23, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Agreed wholeheartedly. There is a sliver of hope in the internet, but the general public’s sense of entitlement and the utter ignorance runs too deep. The blame is in education, or lack thereof, which pins it squarely on the public education system and the private schools that follow lockstep. Shame on them!

Vanmind March 24, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Well, sure, there’s not much hope if everyone refuses to try simply because they might not see much improvement in their own measly lifetime. Hell, you might get murdered for your efforts. Gonna cower?

Or perhaps you’re already working for government — if so, make sure that when the US-Cheka distributes to its Ameri-cadres the first arrest & execution quotas you surpass those quota numbers like a good Bolshevist. Remember, you gotta look enthusiastic in the eyes of the glorious Party State — the alternative is not seeing much improved freedom during your lifetime.

Socialism is supreme, and arbeit macht frei…

Brad March 23, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Very well written Mr. French! This article exudes anti-partisanship and very level-headed reasoning, something that is crucial to appealing to those who need to hear the message.

Yvonne March 24, 2010 at 4:56 am

I predict things will get worse, not better. This is the predictable progression of things. Once a society dabbles with socialism, the results that happen ‘force’ the leadership to increase the socialism. It started with Medicare. Medicare made costs blow out. Instead of recognizing this, they try and fix the problem with more socialism. It grows exponentially. This is what happened in Nazi Germany. Initially everything seemed to be going well under Hitler’s economic leadership but this was just a false illusion. Then more socialist laws had to be made to cover up the problems and then it snowballed. The same thing is happening in the US. Eventually everything will be socialized. So this is why you are seeing an increase in socialism in these difficult economic times. It will go on and on until society collapses because such a socially dysgenic society eventually collapses. Unfortunately this is no comfort to the tax-slaves who keep it all going. They will either rebel which I do not think will happen or they will crack under the strain of this tax-slavery and even if they do not try and fight the system, there will be too few of them eventually to keep it going (many tax slaves will just give up, emigrate, be used up and disappear, be forced to stop reproducing, go to the other side as abusers and beneficiaries of the slavery system) and then society will face a severe crisis (civil war, invasion, balkanization, devastation – natural disasters, famine etc). A nation that becomes a giant nursing home and hospital cannot work for long. And that is what the US is becoming (health care is approaching one-third of the GNP of the US).

Ohhh Henry March 24, 2010 at 8:05 am

That’s a great point about the Nazis.

Nazi Germany was the welfare state gone wild. The Weimar Republic promised everything to everybody, from education and health care to farm subsidies. It was the tremendous popularity of these programs and the unwillingness of the public or the governmental class to curtail them which led directly to the destruction of the currency through inflation, to economic depression, and the election of the murderous regime of Hitler – so he could “get things done”. The persecution of Jews was not so much an ideological issue but a cash grab. Likewise the bloody invasions of its neighbors were the desperate attempt to find more farmland, mines factories and workers in the face of hampered domestic production. Germany was on the leading edge of fascist warmongering because its government represented the state of the art in welfare intervention. The final solution happened because paradoxically they found that the more land they stole and the more people they incorporated into their welfare/warfare state, the lower that per-capita production fell. In the book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, it is said that Germany’s total economic benefit from the huge part of the USSR that it occupied ended up being significantly lower than the benefit that it previously gained from the limited, hampered trade that it had with the USSR before the invasion. This is similar to the ruined oil production and increased cost of oil after the USA occupied Iraq.

I am less well-read in Asian history, but I have no doubt that Japan’s military adventures in the 20th century also coincided with increasing and failed interventions into domestic industry and commerce.

As our socialist welfare states start to run into the wall of economic laws, watch for increased warmongering with whatever scapegoat each particular country’s government finds convenient. USA with the middle east, Russia and China … China with Taiwan and possibly Japan … Japan with China … UK with Argentina … France with its domestic ethnic population … Germany with its eastern and southern European creditors (its aggression disguised as a Euro “rapid reaction force”) … Canada with Denmark and Russia (ludicrously, in order to protect its barren and unprofitable Arctic islands but hey, an enemy’s an enemy) …

Small Soldier March 24, 2010 at 8:14 am

Excellent article, thanks for sharing. I highly recommend this book, ” Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation” as it is about hope (in this case what the writer Jonathan Lear declares as radical hope) in which one’s culture faces obsoletion of its core values and the impact that follows with that loss. In this wonderful book, Lear approaches and explores the devastation that the Crow peoples faced in their final years as a culture. Individuality was lost and dehumanization rapidly followed for the Crow. It explores just how vulnerable the human condition can be when faced by threat both internally and externally. In regards to my experience with this book and applying my understanding to the brewing storm from statist enforced healthcare, the huaman condition for the people of the US will ultimately be further dehumanized and deprived of liberty (in essence slaves of the State). Please read. http://www.amazon.com/Radical-Hope-Ethics-Cultural-Devastation/dp/0674023293

KD March 24, 2010 at 9:17 am

It sounds cynical, but it seems like it is over: Freedom at any rate for any one is no more. As Mises.org blogs tend to point out (and checking it out for one’s self points toward Mises.org being correct), problems — economic and/or social — of the present did not just occur overnight. The problems of the present started long ago. With this said it is no wonder why so many take the hindrances of freedom of speech, economic growth, etc. as ‘just the norm’ of the day. For those running the gammit of Communist, Socalist, or some sect of Statism (as college campuses attest to this just about everywhere), when the faults of such idealogies are pointed out it just seems to be ignored — passed over. Any opposition to this healthcare bill was billed as “not caring for the tired, hungry, and poor”. Any opposition to this bill was written off as not being compassionate, etc. I simply see a very soon-to-be dismal future for this country as well as in other parts of the world. I’d rather nail my front door shut. LOL ::sad but true::

The Hand That Signed the Paper

The hand that signed the paper felled a city;
Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,
Doubled the globe of dead and halved a country;
These five kings did a king to death.

The mighty hand leads to a sloping shoulder,
The finger joints are cramped with chalk;
A goose’s quill has put an end to murder
That put an end to talk.

The hand that signed the treaty bred a fever,
And famine grew, and locusts came;
Great is the hand that holds dominion over
Man by a scribbled name.

The five kings count the dead but do not soften
The crusted wound nor pat the brow;
A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven;
Hands have no tears to flow.

-Dylan Thomas

Aaron March 24, 2010 at 10:12 am

The future appears to be dire, but I have to come back to the totally unreasoned outlook for the current entitlements.

There is absolutely no way that these can be paid for with the near parity of working and non-working people. Eventually the system will collapse as Mises predicted with the Soviet Union. I think the whole point of Mises, FEE, Cato, et al is to provide an intellectual foundation for a return to freedom.

I am also optimistic because the state cannot take away my mind – and freedom ultimately comes from Jesus Christ.

NonEntity March 24, 2010 at 11:13 am

Obamacare is the Darwin Awards writ large.

- NonE

Wildberry March 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

Doug,
Thank you for such an eloquent metaphorical call to arms.
As is so clearly illustrated on this blog, there is ample reason for both despair and for hope. It is a matter of personal choice as to which of these emotions we will each act upon.
Even if we sense the seeds of hope in this devastatingly complex conundrum, it is wise to keep history in mind while we are conceiving of the possible pathways from the present to the future.
Recall that in Russia, as the mercantile/monarchy under the Czars gave way to Communism under Lenin and Fascism under Stalin, lasting for over 70 years, when it collapsed it merely gave way to a form of Chicago-style gangsterism. In times of transition and change, especially revolutionary change, it often amounts to change for the worse.
As I have said before, this is not merely an academic issue. As our colleague Adam Knott stated on another Mises blog, “It is not for reasons of theoretical correctness that Keynesian economics predominates”.
However, I strongly agree with Doug’s message. The LVM Institute has the opportunity to shine the light of reason and truth on the events of our day. And unlike any other body of theory and analysis, it comports with the historical record, which by most measures is on our side academically, but by the measures of historical reality, renders our views the decided underdog.
Some of our most respected thinkers, Mises, Hayek and Rothbard, lived their lives as underdogs in the battle between truth and power. Power corrupts truth. Power is the problem. In the absence of the power to overcome truth, truth will prevail. History has shown that this has seldom been the case, and even if so, it is unable to last for long. This is, in my humble opinion, the greatest problem of our time.
With that in mind, I believe that we may have an historic opportunity, in large part because of the way we are developing the information age, where this fundamental problem may be attacked with the power of ideas and truth, and the efforts and dedication of a relatively small number of people. The question is how? Are we, as individuals and as a society, capable of thinking in grand enough scale to conceive of how this might be possible?
Like those intellectual challenges our ancestor’s took on in confronting the fallacies of the prevailing theories of their times, how do we frame the challenges of our time, given the strength of our position in truth and history?

Cybertarian March 24, 2010 at 11:44 am

“As Mises said, ideas are more powerful than armies”

And my idea is CYBERTARIANISM !

Small Soldier March 24, 2010 at 12:32 pm

However, if the State deems that the cyber ghost must die, what will one do or where will one find sanctuary? http://www.chronicle-future.co.uk/2049/2049-1.html

Cybertarian March 24, 2010 at 12:50 pm

The cyber ghost will be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. In order for the state to stop this encrypted peer-2-peer commerce and communications, it will have to round up and exterminate each and everybody, basically destroying it’s own purpose.

Anything the state will do against cybertarianism will make it look like the repressive anti-freedom bully it really is. The government, in order to maintain it’s power will then have to spend some political capital or if it wants to keep political capital will have to surrender power.

Wether the government likes it or not, it’s going away and for the better of mankind.

Cybertarian March 24, 2010 at 11:46 am

“The future appears to be dire”

Goverments all around the world are dying. They are collapsing under their own weight.

If people start forming parallel economies of encrypted financial transactions and encrypted communications, governments will no longer be able to tax and regulate the economy and since they will lose this revenue, combined with the fact that they are already in debt, they will also be too weak to foster military repression against this cybertarian system.

Cybertarian March 24, 2010 at 11:47 am

Plus, under cybertarianism, a virtual spokesperson would preach and sell libertarianism and argue in favor of free market capitalism, private property, individual freedom and how we must end the government.

So the governments are starting to lose credibility and military might, they will soon die under the rule of cybertarianism. If we start now.

Cybertarian March 24, 2010 at 11:48 am

Under cybertarianism, nothing will impede progress, technology and science.

There will be no “greeny” or “commies” to tell you that genetic improvement or highly advance technologies are bad.

If you have the money to pay for it and it violates nobody’s rights, then you can and all opposition better keep quiet.

Cybertarian March 24, 2010 at 11:50 am

Aaron,

What will and must collapse is the concept of the nation-state, which must be replaced by cybertarianism.

Cybertarian March 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Under cybertarianism, a lot of health care could be provided by computer systems and automated systems for a fraction of what it costs today and much of the consultation services could be free of charge without the need for taxes nor insurance and without the need for mandates.

Doctors would be allowed to perform telemedicine and monitor several patients simultaneously and prescribe medicine and treatments, there would be no need to see the doctor face to face.

Doctors would act like technicians to maintain the health care system instead of acting like the patients primary provider. Therefore doctors would stop acting like jerks and the patients would get full services and would be empowered over their health care records and services.

Imagine, having access to a virtual doctor 24/7 all year without having to wait hours at the ER or at his clinic.

Imagine iphones and ipods replacing a primary physician for consultations and information gathering.

Imagine that super nurses, assisted by the system and by teledoctors could perform much of the doctors work for a fraction of the cost.

That is cybertarianism and it would put power in the hands of the people, not the government.

Wildberry March 24, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Cybertarian,

You are playing too many video games. Try interacting with real people once in a while, it might change your perspective.

No “thing” is the solution to “everything”. You’re out of balance.

Beefcake the Mighty March 24, 2010 at 8:25 pm

No way, I like Cybertarian. Sure, he’s a little off-kilter, but that just adds to the overall charm.

Wildberry March 25, 2010 at 4:42 pm

You’re right, that sounded kind’a harsh. Sorry Cybertarian.

Cybertarian, you do have a kind of quirky charm. But let me ask you, do you really want to have a tonsillectomy from your iPhone? For your utopia to work, would I have to do it too??

The Tempest March 24, 2010 at 6:31 pm

O brave new world, That has such people in’t!

Concentrationcamptarian March 24, 2010 at 11:48 pm

No, the real solution is concentrationcamptarianism. Under concentrationcamptarianism, the entire country is turned into a giant concentration camp. The government would control everyone’s health through forced “insurance”, and that gives the government a way to kill off undesirables. This ensures the survival of the Aryan master race against those unworthy of life.

Bruce Koerber March 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Opting Out Of Socialized Health Care.

How can people opt out of this oppressive and coercive socialized health care plan now being jammed down the throats of Americans?

Property rights are human rights! Both property rights and its mirage image, human rights, are being trampled on openly by the predatory and parasitic political class.

People have to stand up for their rights. Stop allowing the unConstitutional coup to violate your rights. The world needs to hear about these human rights violations. Make sure that your voices are heard everywhere in the world. We are living in the age when communications flash from here to there to everywhere instantly.

Cry out your sincere pain and ask for justice!

Eric M. Staib March 25, 2010 at 5:26 am

“How can people opt out of this oppressive and coercive socialized health care plan now being jammed down the throats of Americans?”

Buy silver and head to Dubai!

Cybertarian March 24, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Question:
“How can people opt out of this oppressive and coercive socialized health care plan now being jammed down the throats of Americans?”
Answer: 2A, use it or lose it.

Remember Carl Drega ? This legislation might unfortunately spawn a lot of those in the future when men with guns(police officers) come to arrest insurance evaders. This legislation is also turning individual states against the union through constitutional lawsuits.
Obama is dismantling this country and stirring social and national unrest.

This legislation will stunt hiring and wages.

Maybe Obama is paid by Igor Panarin. Because individual states might be tempted in the future to secede from the union. California is a big burden on the union and some other states might be tired of paying for nothing.

We need free market capitalism.

But until then, it will be fun to watch the great soap opera that this country has turned into.

Eric M. Staib March 25, 2010 at 5:28 am

“California is a big burden on the union”

Actually Californians pay in way more in federal taxes than they get back. The biggest state welfare suckers are actually places like Mississippi and Arkansas.

Kyu Sung Park March 24, 2010 at 8:36 pm

What do you guys think about Roosevelt’s 2nd Bill of Rights?

Zorg March 25, 2010 at 12:28 am

I am going to take my leave of eternal optimism for a while. I don’t think you can
wish away the feeling of being punched in the gut like this. And there’s plenty
more “legislation” coming down the pike too.

It is clear that this is a turning point. If they can pass a 2,500 page bill to take over
the whole medical industry, then what else can’t they do? They clearly do not
recognize any boundary at all. If you think they do, it’s only because they haven’t
gotten ’round to that one yet. You can be assured that any area of freedom has
already been undermined completely; it’s just a matter of putting it down on
paper and dropping the gavel when the time comes.

The idea that the federal gov’t in any of its tentacles (branches) can be reformed
is ludicrous. That kind of power will never be given up. Either it implodes after
a long bloody run of horrors or it is effectively resisted en masse sooner rather
than later.

Where is the mass movement of ACTUAL *resistance*? “Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?
Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?”

That Etienne de la Boetie guy really nailed it. The whole house of cards could fall with
mass civil disobedience through non-compliance. But who can put that together? Who can
get the ball rolling? Why won’t people stand together? Are we really that weak?

Obviously, it’s ignorance on the one hand and the psychology of the collective vs the
individual (cowardice) which keeps any such thing from happening, but the simplicity of that
answer to tyranny is breathtaking.

I guess I’m too much of a radical. If I were a consultant to the “opposition party,” I’d have
them all walk out. Just leave DC and go home in protest. Let the dirtbags pass their
thousands of pages of absurdities by themselves. I’d tell the states to write their own
multi-thousand page bills which negate federal law line by line, item by item, footnote
by footnote. Hell, don’t even negate them if you want to play the game the way they
do; just pass regulations which regulate how federal agents may act within your state.

Maybe there’s a pressing need for a Committee for the Proper Implementation of Federal Law
which needs to be set up in each state so that the state can feel confident that it is “complying with” every jot and tittle of the federal code? That’s playing the game, isn’t it? “Let’s see here,
we don’t want to violate federal law, so you’re going to have to submit a Full Spectrum
Compliance Survey, Mr. Fed Agent. The committee will review your submission next spring.
Until then, dear sir, please refrain from action in our state until we can be assured that
your proposed action complies with all federal law.” Bury them in paperwork, testimony,
compliance tests, random inspections, blood samples (I like that one), urine tests (what if
the fed is a druggie? We must protect the children of our state!), etc. Who says bureaucracy
can’t be fun? : )

And finally, I’d tell everyone to stop paying federal income tax. Is it so hard to get
a million people to publicly sign a pact to refuse to pay for the destruction of their
own lives and liberty? Is it really that hard? Is it that hard to get 2 million to join in? How
about 3 or 4 or 5 million people? If you can get that far, then you might get the snowball.
But to start something like that – is there anything more difficult?

Yeah, I know, it’s “crazy.” But isn’t tyranny the ultimate in crazy?

What does it take before people will resist en masse? Doesn’t it seem to you, as it seems
to me, that it will never be time to resist if resistance is never taken in time? And if it
is to be taken in time, then why the wait? What are we waiting for? I think perhaps we are
all waiting for a WWII movie to come to life complete with black uniforms and cattle cars
and death camps and such. And then, of course, it will be universally understood that it’s
too late and we should have done this or that a long time ago, but “we’ll get ‘em next
time, boys,” and oh, “Never again!” Yeah. Ok. Uh huh. I’m with ya, Slick. Once we arrive
in the future, we won’t allow evil to rule us anymore. So we take the future, and evil
takes everything RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.

And it’s a bitch that the present is always now. So history repeats…

Daniel March 25, 2010 at 5:23 am

“..It will produce here what it has produced everywhere: stagnation, overutilization, rationing, and the sacrifice of individual well-being in the name of collective justice…”

Things are not so simple mister French!
I live in Iceland and we have a “collective” health care system, it is one of the best in the world and Iceland tops on all health indicators, and it is also more efficiently operated than American privatized health care. These are facts of the matter. (http://www.who.int/nha/use/THE_pc_US$_2006.png)
All the Scandinavian countries also have similar health care systems. All these countries have been prosperous and have NOT sacrificed individual well-being as a consequence of socialized medical systems in the contrary they have made individuals independent of social status healthy and thus able to work and participate in the economy.
In these countries everybody truly have equal opportunities to prosper as an individual because it doesn’t matter if you are born into an poor family or a rich one you will be able to get health care if you are sick, you will get education and opportunity to go to university all independent of your social status and economic situation. This is a good system and it creates harmonious society that truly creates opportunity and freedom for every individual.

I welcome you to Iceland or the other Scandinavian countries to take a look for yourself mister French!

Robert March 25, 2010 at 7:41 am

Daniel,

If by “privatized health care” you mean goods and services delivered by the free market, then please know that is NOT the system which exists in the United States. The current system here is in fact a government system, heavily laden with regulations, mandates and subsidies.

I don’t know what to say about “efficiency” in such a system, except that the more government is involved, the less the economy will respond to consumer demand. The very definition of health care, which is subjective to the individual, will be fixed by bureaucrats and become ossified over time, so that, while other areas of life change and progress dynamically, the health care system in fifty years will look about the same as it does now. For an example, see the educational system, which was and has remained always defined as “schools,” as if one method of learning should fit all people for all time.

Zorg March 25, 2010 at 1:18 pm

“All these countries have been prosperous and have NOT sacrificed individual well-being as a consequence of socialized medical systems…”

That’s absurd. How would you know? They ARE NOT ALLOWED TO OPT OUT of those systems.
They are victims of it.

When you have LIBERTY in your country and people can CHOOSE what they WANT
and not be FORCED TO PAY for what they DON’T WANT, then you can tell us about
who or what is more “efficient”. Otherwise, it’s total and complete nonsense.

Claiming that your enforced monopoly is better than a non-existent market (because
it’s a crime to compete with your monopoly) is just plain silly. It’s like Capone saying,
“Look at how successful I am. No one can compete against me.” Yes, Al, ’cause you’re
a thug and you happen to sit upon the thug pile for the moment after you “blew
away” your competition. What a joke.

If any of those systems were REALLY better and more efficient, you wouldn’t need to
use VIOLENCE to implement, fund, and enforce them. Why does that simple fact
escape all the defenders of medical dictatorship???

Daniel March 26, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I recommend you watch the film Sicko (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRsuNjCvcbE) and read this article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_the_United_States).

Icelandic health care system is not about making a profit (like the insurance business in the USA) but making the population healthy, that is goal number one. We have topnotch medical system and we do it for less money per capita than the USA (it is a myth that private enterprise is always more efficient than a public one).
We know that the health and education of every person matters a lot for the health of the economy and therefore we have build up a system that supports everyone independent of economic situation.
I don’t know one person in Iceland that is not happy for this system and pays taxes with a smile knowing that if later in live he has an incident or a disease he will be taken care of and there will not be some profit oriented insurance company and their violent greedy lawers to deal with.

Take care

Cybertarian March 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Daniel,

When a company makes a profit, it’s a sign that it is creating value for it’s customers, that it’s customers are demanding it’s products or services and that is the way for the market to reward the company.

It’s very possible to make a profit all the while making customers healthy. Under free market capitalism and property rights and the rule of law, you have profitable health care companies that make people healthy.

I want my doctor to make a profit, that way he is interested in curing me.

Robert March 26, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Daniel,

Correlation does not equal causation. In the movie Sicko, Michael Moore asserts that Cuba’s socialized medical system is better than that of the United States, because the average Cuban is healthier than the average American. In fact, America has far better medical care than Cuba. Cubans are healthier than Americans because they eat a better diet, consisting of less processed foods, and they exercise more than Americans. Ironically, this is at least partly because they are poorer.

Americans have a real problem with their health that is unrelated to medical care. They are obese and sickly because they eat too much, and eat unhealthy foods, and don’t get enough exercise. Medical socialism only encourages more of this because it shifts some of the costs of these destructive behaviors onto other people, thereby removing the financial inducement to a healthier lifestyle. Agricultural subsidies are also a part of the problem, because of the effect they have on relative food prices.

And I want to repeat once again: The United States has NO FREE MARKET in medical care. Yes, there are profits for insurance companies, but these profits are largely the result of government interventions which have resulted in people relying on insurance for even trivial medical care. So many people have trouble understanding this point — that a heavily regulated and subsidized market will not function like a free market, and will result in distortions that only create more problems over time.

Daniel March 26, 2010 at 4:31 pm

“..US per capita costs for health care are about twice those of other industrial countries, and health outcomes are at the low end. But cost-cutting cannot be seriously undertaken with largesse showered on the drug companies, and health care in the hands of virtually unregulated private insurers, a very costly system unique to the US..” (http://chomsky.info/articles/20100124.htm)

Unregulated private insurers and drug companies are your problem. Good luck fixing it.

Robert March 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Our problem is a long train of government interventions in health care. Those “unregulated private insurers” were not the outcome of laissez faire capitalism, but were created by the government through subsidies, tax code favoritism and business regulation (see the HMO Act of 1973, for starters). Whether or not they are sufficiently regulated is irrelevant, because regulation will not fix the problem.

Goods are made cheaper (and thus more accessible to all) when they are produced in greater abundance, relative to demand. Socialized medicine does nothing to address this reality. It does the opposite: increases demand relative to supply, thereby making health care more costly. The costs are hidden, because the system is “free” — the price is paid in restricted choices, longer waiting times, etc. The people literally do not know what they are missing if they grow up with such a system.

Zorg March 27, 2010 at 1:18 pm

“Unregulated private insurers and drug companies are your problem. Good luck fixing it”

It’s more like good luck finding a rational person who can understand the meanings
of words and concepts.

Private insurers are not unregulated. Drug companies are not unregulated. And
while we’re at it, banks are not unregulated. Therefore when people say such
things as “unregulated private insurers and drug companies are your problem,”
they are speaking gibberish. The words have no correlation to reality.

It is, in fact, the regulation by the gov’t (which usually serves as a proxy for
all interested parties) which is the problem. This is absolutely true. It is not
mere rhetoric devoid of meaning as are state socialist and state capitalist
“arguments”.

Anyone with any sense knows that state mandates and prohibitions control
the insurance market. If insurance companies were unregulated then they
could offer rock bottom prices to consumers for customized plans. They
could compete across state lines. Other entrepreneurs could work with
doctors and all kinds of specialists directly without gov’t interference. This
is so basic that it shouldn’t need to be explained to any rational person.
And if such rational person has not previously had occasion to think about
it, they ought to readily grasp the import of it when it is first explained
to them.

This isn’t rocket science. Free markets create opportunity to solve problems
and to be rewarded for solving them. They allow people to negotiate freely
and make contracts with other parties in a peaceful voluntary way for mutual
benefit.

So when basic economics and basic ethical behavior is explained to people,
they ought to grasp it. Since a vast proportion do not, there is clearly something
else going on which has nothing to do with reason and logic.

The fact that states and state apologists will not allow people to be free to
provide goods and services on a voluntary basis is proof that they are not
interested in truth, ethics, economics, health, or problem solving.

It’s a simple as that.

So if the gov’t health regime in Iceland were so wonderful – and maybe it’s much
better than systems which entrap millions rather than a few hundred thousand –
there would be no FORCE used to get people to use it. Why is this simple concept
so hard to grasp? If you offer something really great to people, you would never
think of using threats of violence against them to make them buy it. You would
be proud to offer your services against all competitors to your customers. You
would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the superiority of your offering
by showing how people voluntarily choose your product over others.

This is never the case with gov’t programs, so all of the shilling for them is
beyond absurd. It’s downright insulting to anyone who can rub two brain cells
together.

javier from spain March 25, 2010 at 5:32 am

Hoy en día, en España, el sistema público de salud goza de gran calidad, pero el abuso por parte de inconscientes que piensan que todo es gratis, y nada se paga con sus impuestos, está llegando a colapsar las arcas públicas, así como degenerando la calidad sanitaria. Las promesas de los políticos en cada elección, ampliando la cobertura sanitaria, hará que llegue el momento de plantearnos qué hacer con el sistema público de salud, así como que no se debe dar cobertura a aquellos que no gocen del permiso de residencia en España, por cuanto se está bordeando el caos

Cybertarian March 25, 2010 at 7:24 am

Dear Wildberry,

I am honored that you would bother some of your time to try and debunk my ideas. This means that you somehow feel thretened by my ideas and that you give me and my ideas enough credence to actually try and stop them.

No, it would not be the solution to everything, it would be the solution to the economy and health care, the rest is up to you. Unless of course you are a socialist who’s just coming out of the closet because your house is on fire and you accuse me of arson.

Sometimes, the best ideas and killer apps are thought and implemented by hermitic nerds who refuse to follow the herd. That being said, you really know nothing about me and my social life. You are just speaking through your hat.

Under cybertarianism, you would not be forced to adopt my system, you could remain at the mercy of government taxation and regulation but then again you would be at a disadvantage towards those who would buy in.

I hope that one day you will value freedom enough to reconsider your position.

Yours in freedom, peace and prosperity,
Cybertarian

Wildberry March 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm

You had me after the first sentence, but you lost me when you kept going.

Ideas are not something I fear. Even bad ones. Much like those who are looking for the “magic pill” as the cure for all ills, you are looking for that “killer app” to sweep accross all evils.

Wouldn’t it be grand if things really were that simple?
Anyway, this kind of forum is a good outlet, and I’m sure we will all be hearing more from you. Don’t forget to breath…

Cybertarian March 25, 2010 at 7:27 am

Dear Concentrationcamptarian,

Thank you very much for the laugh, I really needed it.

Yours in freedom, peace and prosperity,
Cybertarian

Cybertarian March 25, 2010 at 7:33 am

Dear Concentrationcamptarian,

On another notice, concentrationcaptarianism could never produce a better breed than cybertarianism. Because under concentrationcaptarianism, you choose the better and let the worse die.

Under cybertarianism, you take evolution into your own hands and use your smarts, science and technology to produce an ever better breed from generation to generation and instead of killing the “worse” we use technology to turn them into highly efficient cyborgs.

In my opinion cybertarianism is much better than concentrationcaptarianism for the future of our species and our souls.

Yours in freedom, peace and prosperity,
Cybertarian

Cybertarian March 25, 2010 at 7:36 am

“Actually Californians pay in way more in federal taxes than they get back. ”

Is that why they are actually begging the fed to bail them out ? Is that why this state is totally bankrupt and issuing IOU’s instead of tax returns.

I would think that at the current moment, California is a financial black hole, in both ways of the equation.

Yours in freedom, peace and prosperity,
Cybertarian

Bennet Cecil March 25, 2010 at 10:46 pm

The strongest way to fight this is article five of the US Constitution. Amendments may be proposed by the United States Congress or by a national convention assembled at the request of the legislatures of at least two-thirds of the several states. The amendment should state that the federal government shall not pass any law requiring any American to purchase any service or product, including health insurance.

Another amendment should be proposed stating that Congress shall not pass any law regulating intrastate commerce. That would void many of our freedom killing laws and regulations. The federal government must be stopped.

Walt D. March 26, 2010 at 12:23 am

There is no “gonads for the Supreme Court” provision in Obamacare. They will just rubber stamp it under the commerce clause. If you do not believe this wil happen, read Stephan Kinsella’s notes on a recent Supreme Court ruling, where they determined that a cancer patient growing two marijuana plants for personal use was “Interstate Commerce”. It is incredible that they can invoke the interstate commerce clause when Obamacare does not even allow you to purchase health insurance from an out of state carrier.

Cybertarian March 26, 2010 at 8:58 am

Dear Wildberry,

Governments all around the world are totally bankrupt, financially and morally. Their socialism failed, they are in huge debt, their militaries are stretched, they face terrorist threats, and a large portion of the public distrust their government.

That being said, the internet and new information technologies is currently outpacing the government’s ability to track and crack them all.

In the end, what will kill governments is that they won’t be able to adapt fast enough to our rapidly chaning world. Governments are trapped in an old authoritarian and militaristic mentality which will die in a rapidly changing world.

People will organize themselves in parallel economies and parallel communications and the government will then lose revenue and legitimacy and at this point, anything it will try to survive will hurt it even more. People will need much less government and will be actively seeking ways to become independent from government.

It’s not a single “killer” app, it’s a framework that’s being built all around us through new advances in technology.

I was just proposing to give a identity to this progress so that it could speak in the name of progress and convince the masses that libertarianism is the way to go to replace governments.

I have full confidence that it could work and you have to admit that it would work better than the current government systems we already have.

Stop being so negative, be more positive.

Wildberry March 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Cybertarian, Being critical is not the same as being negative. Get a sense of humor. I think you need one.You might re-read Bastiat’s distinction between Government and State. You are using them as if they are interchangeable. I don’t doubt that the emerging information systems are important, and make many things possible that were not possible before. For example, it makes it much harder for politicians to say one thing in a campaign and another in office; we can just play the video on YouTube. Another example is that the web makes it so much easier to check facts and find literature and blogs, etc. All of this serves to raise the level of discussion (in theory) and the velocity of change.One observation I’ll share with you is that this site is full of people who believe that if we just kill something, something better will just naturally emerge and life will be so much better. History shows that is rarely the way it happens. Times of transition are also times of danger. It is the same as evolutionary/revolutionary changes in technologies. One is disruptive, but we don’t always get the better technology. Look at Microsoft or VHS for examples.There is rarely a good example of the most desirable outcome resulting from revolutionary change. For example, you might think the Yucatan meteor was a good things for humans. It was, but if you were a dinosaur or any one of the many other species that ate it, it didn’t’ turn out so well. On the other hand, since then we have only managed to get here, where you and I are talking about revolution. Again, read Bastiat; even our own American revolution is subject to this observation.So here’s the deal. It is complicated, very complicated. It is not just economics, but social systems we are talking about. We are discussing civilization. We are debating ideas that reach to those heights. To suggest that one thing, no matter how important and useful it might be is going to drive everything, well that seems like a vast oversimplification, not unlike Keynes aggregating consumption, etc. That is like saying whales are going to take over the world and then things will be fine. That view begs at least a few other questions, don’t you think? You may think that I’m talking just to you, but one of the reasons I invest in this blog is because I am trying to get my own thinking straight, and see how I can articulate what I think and believe.I believe we are talking about an ecology of humans in social organizations. When you talk about “killing government” you are really talking about defeating statism. States are made up of other humans. They are special because they have managed to acquire the power to coerce others for purposes they view as “good”. In that sense, they are every bit as entitled to their freedom as you and I are. They are acting through human action, and through this action they produce a result that they value as preferable to their condition before they acted. That is, I believe, like a natural law. The aggregation of all such actions, and the interrelation among all such actions and all such actors is what we perceive as the State, and metaphorically, the state of reality as we perceive it. This is a major feature of our ecology.That is not going to be changed simply by technology, even revolutionary technology. Would you concede that one point? Real, stable, sustainable and worthwhile change occurs incrementally. Even in periods of rapid change, from an historical perspective, it is incremental. I do not deny the exciting possibilities that you are so energized by. Great! More tools!! But that is the limit. They are merely the means of production for something the market either does or does not desire. As you no doubt know, modern marketing often begins by creating demand, and then fills it. That is because most people don’t realize how much better off they will be with this or that. Sometimes it can seem so attractive that we live to regret our choice to go along. That is also part of this reality. That is why it is wise to take it slow, so it’s not so far back if you make a wrong turn.People that think they know the answers set about figuring out how to make everyone else go along. That is the beginning of the State. Good products fly off the shelf. No coercion is required. People stand in line for it.So my message to you is this: slow down, take a breath, and think big. Think big enough that you can see how this grand vision you have is simply a part of a much, much larger picture. The higher the vantage point, the better the view. My positive act for this moring is to take this time to respond to you as thoughtfully as I know how.Best Regards, Wildberry

Daniel March 26, 2010 at 6:29 pm

In the perspective of resent banking collapse and recession here in Iceland many people here like to think that the collapse is a direct consequence of the „laissez-faire“ management strategy of our former governments where the newly privatized banks could do whatever they wanted to do, they had true freedom and nobody cared to stop them, this system exploded in the end.

In the fancy mathematical economic theories of free market and efficient markets hypothesis something always get left out, the human factor and the possibilities of Fraud and deceptions. This human factor is something that serious economists need to take serious ASAP.

Cybertarian March 27, 2010 at 10:04 am

Dear Wildberry,

” Being critical is not the same as being negative. Get a sense of humor. I think you need one.”

I understand what you mean and any good idea do welcome criticism and can stand to criticism. And in fact criticism can and does sometimes further the initial ideas in more efficient ways.

In fact, science is based on proofs and counterproofs and science is always ready to be proven wrong.

“You are using them as if they are interchangeable.”
The state is the food and the government is it’s flavor, but both are still in the same plate.

“Look at Microsoft or VHS for examples.”
LOL, I agree ! Bill Gates must be the most brilliant man in all times to be able to make billions selling such crap, LOL ! Every day joe average can’t even make ends meet selling the best they’ve got and Bill Gates sells the stinkiest piece of software there is and makes billions, now that’s genius, LOL ! And his “turd” of an os is not even sugar coated.

What I want out of an OS is that it works, it’s lightweight, it’s fast and it lest me do what I want with it. Windows is all the opposite of that.

“To suggest that one thing, no matter how important and useful it might be is going to drive everything, well that seems like a vast oversimplification, not unlike Keynes aggregating consumption, etc.”

Let me see, ELECTRICITY pretty much can drive anything. If electricity can drive any physical machine, I would tend to think that cybertarianism could drive any social interaction.
I concur that there is a difference between anything and everything. The “any” part would be up to the people.

“Would you concede that one point? Real, stable, sustainable and worthwhile change occurs incrementally.”

It’s just that we are living in times where each “increments” is shorter than it’s precedent increments and longer than it’s following. Incrementalism might just look like a revolution in a few decades from now. Have you ever heard of exponentialism ?

In fact, incrementalism is the strategy of the statists and it worked well for them to date. But when something is efficient and fulfills demand, it oftenly happens rapidly without incrementations like facebook or ipod etc.

“As you no doubt know, modern marketing often begins by creating demand, and then fills it.”
Speaking about my sense of humor, I have oftenly thought of marketing as sugar-coating a turd or making a mountain out of nothing. Where the branding and the talking is more important than reality.

“Think big enough that you can see how this grand vision you have is simply a part of a much, much larger picture. The higher the vantage point, the better the view. My positive act for this moring is to take this time to respond to you as thoughtfully as I know how.Best Regards, Wildberry”

Thank you very very much, I really love that perspective, you really got me with your “think big” stuff and where my schemes, no matter how grandiose they are in my head, are just a tiny speck in the grand scheme of things. I really love that. Thanks for taking some of your time to share your wizdom with me. That was awesome.

Robert March 27, 2010 at 11:13 am

FYI: Iceland has a population of 320,000. If we were talking about individual municipalities or metro areas engaging in socialized health care, then maybe we’d have a valid comparison with Iceland.

DC35 Multi Floor November 25, 2011 at 2:45 pm

That was a frankly good blog post..

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