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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14615/burning-down-the-house/

Burning Down the House

November 12, 2010 by

The government has no incentive to serve any needs but its own. Rather than showing what we have to fear from the possibility of free-market fire services, this incident underscores the problems we already have with government provision. FULL ARTICLE by Mike Peinovich

{ 48 comments }

Charles sarau November 12, 2010 at 11:51 am

Everheard the term”plug-ugly”. Google it; itmight make a little less eager to entrust the safety of your home from fire entirely to the “free market”.

J. Murray November 12, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Couldn’t be any worse than the government option. Since the worst case scenario is, well, the same level of quality, I choose the free market option to avoid the forced taxation.

And pugs are cute.

Richard November 12, 2010 at 1:00 pm

From wikipedia;

“Like similar associations in Baltimore and other United States cities during this period, the Plug Uglies’ street influence made them useful to party politicians anxious to control the polls on Election Days. The Plug Uglies were the central figures in the first election riot in Baltimore in October 1855. Together with the Rip Raps, they were also actively involved in deadly rioting at the October 1856 municipal election in Baltimore and in similar violence at the Know-Nothing Riot in Washington in June 1857. At the Washington riot, the National Guard called out to quell the fighting, shot and killed ten citizens. Accounts of the Washington riot appeared in newspapers nationally and gained widespread notoriety for the Plug Uglies.”

It seems that in their prime the Plug Uglies were employed by political parties, and were infamous for their their election-day riots.

When they weren’t commiting crimes on their own behalf, they were doing so on the behalf of politicians. How exactly does this make them a ‘free market’ phenomenon?

nate-m November 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm

> When they weren’t commiting crimes on their own behalf, they were doing so on the behalf of politicians. How exactly does this make them a ‘free market’ phenomenon?

This is because some ‘know-nothing’ blog somewhere probably dug them and and realized they were associated with a private fire department at some point. Thus this ‘proves’ that private fire departments are evil.

Of course the reality is that fire departments were original employed or ran by insurance companies that would be responsible for protecting the goods and services that the insurance company was liable for. That is if the fire department failed it would be the insurance companies that would be out of the money…. NOT the business owner.

Once insurance company ran firedepartments realized that this required putting out fires in non-insured businesses and housing next to insured buildings in order to effectively protect their own interests AND they understood the level of liability they were having by being responsible for fire fighting…. they decided the best way to deal with it was to pawn the job off on local governments.

That way instead of paying for the cost of firefighting through insurance premiums their customers paid them… the costs of reducing the insurance company’s liability (and thus increased profits) would be born by the tax payers.

So it seems like public firefighters were not a result of public outrage, like most pro-statists people _assume_ is the case, it’s really a result of insurance companies working with their political buddies to pawn off the some of the cost of running a insurance company onto non-customers.

The only thing they could probably really find (if they bothered to do real research instead of this community-university type BS ‘oh look what I found’ type) stuff is some pro-social-responsibility-style propaganda that was used to sell the public firefighters to the public at the time. Since there is no real evidence of public outrage this has left the pro-statists grasping at straws vainly looking for some evidence of firefighter outrages.

The plug-uglies and the associated ‘know nothings’ political party is probably about the best they could find.

Doug Barbieri November 13, 2010 at 10:25 am

Thanks Nate! I am always pleased to read a comment written by someone who has his head on straight.I am so thankful for the liberty movement–blowing the lid off of propaganda and statist PR is so important and will free our minds. This is crucial considering our governments are heading into bankruptcy. Education and de-brainwashing are so vitally important now!

nate-m November 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Yeah thanks. But don’t take my word for it.

I know that is what exactly happened to create the first public firefighters in London. There were conflicts between fire departments and whatnot early on in it’s history, but it was short lived as the different insurance companies ended up working together to reduce costs and eventually formed a system for fighting fires together.

What happened there goes something like this:
1666 – Great London fire. This ended up causing the insurance companies to start private fire departments.
1833 – They were independent, but the challenges of fire fighting eventually required them to form a unified fire brigade that was ran by all the different insurance companies.
Palace of Westminster fire in 1834 and fire at the warehouses by the River Thames in 1861 caused the insurance companies to start campaigning for public fire departments.

Eventually they got their way with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Act of 1865.

Eventually it was all renamed to the ‘London Fire Brigade’ in 1704 and is a organization that exists to this day.

The history is spotty, but I expect that it follows a similar pattern here in the USA. Especially since it was fashionable to follow the example of the old cities and whatnot in Europe.

Mike Peinovich November 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm

No Charles I have not heard of “pug uglies”, but I think others have made an adequate response to this objection.

I am not under the impression that Martin Scorcese’s “Gangs of New York” is a historical documentary, the way a lot of statists seem to be .

If I don’t “trust” the free market to provide services, why should I trust government?

Dave Albin November 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Don’t forget that the reason why houses in cities on the East Coast were built tall and narrow (and attached in some cases) was due to taxation. The amount on land was taxed. So, you could say that govt interference made the job of firefighters more complex. In a free market, downtown Philly would have looked a lot different, for example.

Mike Peinovich November 12, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Yeah Dave. It’s mind blowing when you think of all the stuff that is different than it would be because of the state. We actually have no idea what the world would be like without it! But we do know it would be better.

I live in NYC and everything in my environment is affected by state regulation. Why is there so much traffic? Why can’t I get a cab at rush hour? Why do we even HAVE a rush hour? The answer in all cases is the state. But most people can’t see that, so they attribute all these nuisances, and even the bigger social problems to freedom and voluntarism, and call for more state regs. It’s tragic.

Dave Albin November 12, 2010 at 4:32 pm

More govt. to fix the problems govt. created…. I used to live in the Philly burbs and saw this first hand when I would go in the city. People always told me that the houses were built that way to minimize taxation, like it was a perfectly normal and logical thing….in some respects, our cities are currently built upon an economic bubble that will burst someday, leaving a bunch of destruction behind. Not a pretty thought.

Doug Barbieri November 13, 2010 at 10:28 am

It seems that statists focus solely on problems in isolation, without considering the unintended consequences that come with bureaucratic management over the barrel of a gun. Force is not pretty.

Phinn November 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm

I am not under the impression that Martin Scorcese’s “Gangs of New York” is a historical documentary.

Ask a die-hard socialist about Sinclair’s The Jungle. They act like it’s holy writ.

Inquisitor November 12, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Should I trust the “state” instead? Why?

Hilary Kyro November 12, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Flaming interesting post, Mike! I followed the Salon thread and insulting comments about Libertarians. Those “peoples of the trough” don’t get the vital point that this fire was an intentional public service fail and a win for extorting more protection fees. It’s a precedent for police not responding to deadbeat crime victims who didn’t chip in to the police athletic fund. It’s not a story about liberty, human action or private business. It’s an account of yet more government waste.
The Libtarded Elite have no faith in the Invisible Hand to put out a fire. Ironic, since they’re a herd of hosers who aim for the Cheerio in the toilet bowl. Child’s play becomes the impossible ideal in a state of socialism. Word to your mother, Vanilla Ice could have solved this problem with his pumped-up manhood.

nate-m November 13, 2010 at 12:19 am

Your brain seems to have melted slightly.

Richard November 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

Even given Hilary’s post, I am still for the legalization of drugs.

Enjoy Every Sandwich November 12, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I think that part of the problem is the rhetorical sleight-of-hand being pulled by the statists: referring to the government-imposed bill that wasn’t paid as a “fee” which people tend to associate with private firms. Why can’t it be called what it is: a tax? Perhaps because that would make it too obvious that the government was at fault?

David November 12, 2010 at 4:26 pm

If a fire on one person’s property has the potential to spread to his neighbors, the neighbors are entirely justified in calling the fire department and sending him the bill for the fee. This would be a better option for him than having his home burn and being liable for damages to his neighbor’s property as well.

In fact, this particular fire DID spread to a neighbour’s home, one who had paid the required fee. The fire department then proceeded to put out the secondary fire while letting the first house burn down.

Note how they treated a paying customer. They negligently allowed allowed his house to catch fire and which undoubtedly, between the fire and water, caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to his house too! In a free market they would have been rightly sued for their action.

nate-m November 13, 2010 at 12:21 am

The neighbor’s fence along the property line caught on fire a bit, which was then quickly put out. It’s not difficult to find out what actually happened.

Doug Barbieri November 13, 2010 at 10:32 am

You can’t sue the government. If they say the police have no duty to protect, why would you think they have a duty to protect your property from fire?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Rock_v._GonzalesAnd, heck, they aren’t customers…they are subjects!

greg November 12, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I have coffee once a week with some old Italian guys and they tell me of the past when the Mafia provided fire protection. The rates were good, but if you didn’t pay, the odds your house was going to burn was higher. Those were the good old days!

Surprisingly, most of them agree that the Mafia provided a good service at a fair price.

Dave Albin November 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm

The Mafia was a response to state restrictions and racism that restricted trade.

J. Murray November 12, 2010 at 5:29 pm

The Mafia is less dangerous than the State.

nate-m November 13, 2010 at 12:42 am

The Mafia is ‘the state’ for criminals. Sorta.

The reason why mafia-type organizations are so effective at avoiding the law is because they don’t usually engage directly in criminal profit-making activities. Instead they act as law enforcement, provide services for solving disputes, distribution of goods, and provide a way to organize services. As a return for these services then criminals pay percentages of their incomes to the mafia. This is, basically, how ‘organized crime’ works.

Of course it’s not all black and white. But generally this is how they would work. This is why our government created things like the Rico statute. It’s because they can’t get the mob for doing anything illegal, because generally they do not do anything illegal to anybody but criminals on behalf of other criminals or themselves.

Imagine if your a criminal and you have a market. Now another guy moves in, steals your drugs shipment, and sells them in your place.

It’s not like you can complain to the police or take him to small claims court. If your part of a ‘gang’ (roughly analogous to small/medium corporation) then you can go to war on their gang and retaliate.

But what good does that do you? It works occasionally, but violence and drug wars is bad for business. Public has outcries which forces the legal government to take action were otherwise they’d rather not deal with it. All sorts of bad stuff.

So this is why you have the mob. These are old gangs that are all grown up, gone large-scale, and have organization, ties with other criminal organizations, and the ability to enforce market rules on your behalf.

The mob rules with minimal violence to keep criminal activity as profitable as possible.

You know the old line ‘Give us some protection money or something bad may happen.’. That ‘something bad’ may not actually come from the mob directly. But without their protection then that means your a target and have nobody in the main organization to back you up in a dispute. Without paying for protection it may just mean your a easier target.

In fact it’s not really that much different then early governments. No pay for police, then no protection from us. In fact you may even be a target for us. No pay for firefights, prepare to get your house burned to the ground. They might even make a example of why it’s important to have a fire department…

Of course. These are still criminals and generally lousy businessmen. There will be a few very smart people here and there that manipulate everybody else… but the majority of the mob and other criminal organizations are as dumb as shit. They have mental problems, drug problems, borderline retardation, prone to violence, and just a general lack of proper ethics, moral code, and critical reasoning skills. The reason they are in the mob or smaller gangs is because they are uniquely suited to taking advantage of markets left open due to government enforcement and can’t tell when it’s not a good idea to do illegal things.

Case in point:

When alcohol was illegal mafia type organizations ruled the roost and made huge profits from the trade of alcohol. And they were brutish and violent and dumb about it. Once it was legal again then they had no chance to compete with legit business ran by people with ethics and intelligence. You would normally think that a person who is engaged in illegal trade would be in a unique competitive position and be able to dominate the market once it was made legal, but this does not seemed to have happened at all.

Rick November 12, 2010 at 9:02 pm

The government is a criminal gang that has a monopoly on “protection”. They’re just bigger and better at it than mafia.

nate-m November 13, 2010 at 12:51 am

The major difference is that with democratic government they tend to try to instill the concept that the rulers only rule by the consent of the ruled. This is why the constitution and such documents is so critically important and why the government needs to honor it… it’s the only thing that morally legitimizes their activities. That is the only thing that separates legit state power from criminal activity. This is why democracy is so important and such a huge step in the right direction. Of course democracy alone is not enough to ensure freedom and proper ‘right to rule’. It’s not enough; which the subject states and their citizens of the EU are going to start to learn the hard way in 30-40 years.

But other then that then yes. Mafia is illegal government and the state is the legal one. The people that run the legal governments are generally better criminals then the ones that run the illegal ones.

All you have to do is examine the make up the United Nations and the insanity that happens there on are regular basis to have very good real world proof of why this is a truism for the majority of the world’s population. The vast majority of the members of the UN are little more then cut throats and thugs. They would not exist there if it was not for the strength of their militaries.

Doug Barbieri November 13, 2010 at 10:38 am

“The major difference is that with democratic government they tend to try to instill the concept that the rulers only rule by the consent of the ruled.”

But there is no way they can prove anyone consented to be ruled by them. So they are just a gang, albeit with nice flags, uniforms and buildings.

Phinn November 13, 2010 at 12:17 pm

The only difference between a mafia and a state is that states have better PR departments.

J. Murray November 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I was just thinking – one of the major problems with this debate is that people don’t quite understand what the fire department is for. They just about never protect your house once it catches on fire. It takes about 15 minutes for them to show up after the call is placed. If you’ve ever watched the videos from Underwriters Laboratories (free market and superior alternative to the FCC and OSHA), a fire will pretty much set your entire home ablaze in about 5 minutes. Even if the fire department does manage to keep part of your house from going up in flames, the water damage is just as severe and the standing structure still needs to be demolished anyway. The desire for the “public option” in fire fighting services extends from the unrealistic expectation of what they can do. If your house is on fire, you’re screwed one way or another.

Additionally, public firefighting has also likely extended the building preferences of wooden structures. I live in a concrete constructed apartment building. Any fire will be completely contained to the room it starts in, never extending beyond to other rooms or apartment units and it won’t destroy the structure itself, just the contents. Without the false sense of security a public fire department offers, the risk associated with wood constructed buildings would have likely shifted more single family homes to a concrete-steel construction to mitigate the potential of fire destroying the home. But I’m just speculating here.

Dave Albin November 12, 2010 at 5:57 pm

So, we are forced to pay for a system that keeps general fire protection, but nothing more – like the police are only there to keep general law and order. Too bad we can’t keep our money and come up with our own, better solution.

Rick November 12, 2010 at 9:27 pm

The USPS lost $8.5 billion in 2009. Is that the fault of the “free market” too?

If my state DOT fails to fix a damaged road because some drivers don’t pay their DMV fees, would libertarians be at fault for that? I don’t see how this situation with a government fire department is really much different.

Also, the statists at Salon and elsewhere have it backwards. The fact a government fire department that lives on other peoples taxes also has to make people pay an extra fee shows how inefficient that system is. The fact they let the house burn down because of either bureaucratic incompetence or to make some sort of sick point about their work contract – then spin into blaming libertarians who have little political power, if any, and who had nothing to do with it – shows how morally and intellectually bankrupt statists have become.

It reminds of how state governments complain about a loss of tax revenue because home values go down or consumption declines… it’s blamed on the “private sector not doing its job”.

The issue is philosophy and perceptions. The people who blame libertarians for something like this think collectively. They see the world and get their identity through the distorted lens of the state and partisanship. Sound logic and reason have very little to do with it, as people here know. As the current U.S. version of the state crumbles around them, they’ll blame everything but their own ideas until the bitter end.

ChevalierdeJohnstone November 13, 2010 at 3:59 am

I am happy Mr. Peinovich defends Hayek’s ideas in his column. However the government fire department was absolutely right to let the house burn down.

First I will say that I feel I am encountering an increasing and disturbing trend amongst libertarians who do not understand that libertarianism depends absolutely on adherence to rules of behavior. Either human social interaction is governed by rules, or it is governed by the strongest barbarian. Libertarians are advocates of rules-based interaction with a preference for universal rules which allow the greatest possible individual liberty. We would do best to remember that.

Second, many people do not understand how insurance works. This is not at all surprising given the outright lies the State tells us about insurance. It would behoove us, however, to educate ourselves about that which the State does not want us to know.

Here is how insurance works. A group of people pay a Risk-Based premium into a common pool. Depending on the risk of event(s) and the potential insured damages thereof, the manager of that pool of capital invests said capital in order to potentially increase total coverage, while maintaining some previously-agreed minimum capital to pay potential claims. The premium payments are not to cover the potential cost of a disaster, the premium payments are to cover the risk of the potential cost of a disaster. In such a risk-based transaction, when the payments are made matters at least as much if not more so than how much they are. When you are in the business of insuring risk, dependability is everything.

In the case of this house fire, it does absolutely no good to pay the “full cost” of damages at the time of fire, in exchange for service. The full cost of insurance is not the cost of saving the house, it is the cost of offsetting that insureds portion of the systemic risk on a minute-to-minute basis. By not paying the premium – the cost of insurance – at the expected and agreed times, the homeowner has influenced the entire system. Other people paid premiums, risks were calculated, resources were allocated, all based on the knowledge that said homeowner was not participating in the insurance program. To expect to pay what is for all intents and purposes a bribe and thereby convince the fire department to re-allocate resources at the time of fire is not just to arrogantly expect to jump ahead of everyone who paid on time for the use of those resources, it is also to ask the fire department to betray the trust of those who willingly paid their fees on time in the belief that this was the accepted method to contract for services in the event of an emergency. Without that trust and those payments the fire department would not exist (unless it levied some involuntary tax on the populace.)

Ultimately it is all a question of trust. An insurance contract is a mutual exchange of trust that the insured will make prompt and timely premium payments and the manager of the insurance pool will make prompt and timely insurance payments in case of an event. To expect to ignore this well-established and traditional contract and simply “buy in at cost” when a disaster strikes is to expect to betray the trust of every other person who participated in the insurance program. Such would truly be a destruction of personal liberties and is entirely antithetical to any formal theory of libertarian ethics.

Richard November 13, 2010 at 8:53 am

I do not believe the author, or anyone here who posted, is arguing that a company would not have the right to withhold their services for non-payment. They are arguing that under a free market a company would be encouraged to still provide the service, and be compensated for it even if a customer ‘missed’ their payment. I don’t see how this suggests a disturbing trend in not understanding the importance of adhering to the rules of behavior.

As to the impact of non-paying customers to to the companies cost structure, I would think any competent company would account for some of their customers missing their payments and understand the effect to their bottom line. Surely they would have some idea of a fee that would adequately compensate them should one of their delinquent customers suddenly require their services.

Daniel November 13, 2010 at 10:00 am

Re: pretentious name statist

What an interesting phenomenon: you can write but you are almost completely incapable of reading!

King George November 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I think it would have been a win had they put the fire out in exchange for a higher fee. Insurance does not preclude alternative arrangements as part of the business model.

nate-m November 13, 2010 at 3:21 pm

If I don’t have auto collision coverage on my car and I run into a pole or something then the auto repair place does not refuse to fix my car.

If it was a private fire department then all the guy would need to save his house was to convince them that he would pay in the future. Probably with the help of a credit card number or so.

This particular situation can only happen with a public fire department that is forbidden to help due to ordinance or whatever.

JK November 13, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Salon.com – The Road to Stupid

joe November 14, 2010 at 12:55 pm

you ask “What for-profit company would sit there and refuse to extend their services to a potential customer begging to give them his money?” The answer is insurance companies. That is exactly how the insurance market works. A consumer cannot get insurance ex post facto despite the fact that he or she needs coverage at that moment. Since this is the basis of your entire argument, your entire argument is invalid. Free market models cannot be appropriately applied to necessary services like fire-departments, energy, health-care, etc. There is no elasticity of demand.

The Kid Salami November 14, 2010 at 1:13 pm

It is just tiresome to hear this kind of lameness – please use the organ inside your head. Insurance companies and fire services are two different things. The insurance company would, I’m certain, refuse to offer me their product – ie. insurance – while my house is on fire if this insurance is to cover the past (not that that concept even makes any sense). This isn’t news.

But insurance companies don’t put out fires themselves, there would be other independent firms which put out fires, who can be hired by insurance companies and everyone else – exactly what happens now with car breakdown for example (my car insurance company, with whom I have breakdown cover also, have agreements with breakdown specialists who are on call for breakdowns near them – the insuranc clerk doesn’t put down his phone and jump into a pick-up).

These people would sell the service of “putting out fires” to allcomers and so why would they turn away people offering them money to put out their fire? If the cost of this is greater after the fact then so be it, people can evaluate the situation as they please.

King George November 14, 2010 at 11:51 pm

That’s right. There’s a distinction between the insurance and the service. I don’t think anyone here ever argued that the guy should have had the fire put out FOR FREE (or for a deductible) as if he had insurance. But, why should he at the same time be denied services? There’s no good reason why he should irrespective of any other factors (i.e. because the fire department simply refuses to put the fire out, at any price).

DaveM November 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm

There are actually all kinds of private fire departments in North America. The ariel tanker ie water bombers that fight forrest fires are mostly privately owned and contract out to government during the fire fighting season.

Allthough it is unpopular to say it, but the municipal fire departments are some of the most bloated government agencies out there.

TomG November 14, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Interesting discussion all. I’m all for a free market solution where it works. However, I think you may have missed some of the reasons why private fire departments disappeared in the mid-19th century. It was not because they were too efficient and effective. I think the main fault lies in thinking of a house fire as a private matter. That’s just not the case. Your neighbor’s choice of fire protection could be the end of YOUR home.

In the late 19th century, the demand of central command for fire companies took place within cities because the fire companies would fight over fires or not put out an fire because the owners didn’t have fire insurance. Insured properties had plaques with the insurance company’s names affixed to their exterior called fire marks. This caused areas of a city to be badly damage by fires and caused many deaths. Cities started to form their own fire departments as a civil service to the public, forcing private fire companies to shut down, and merging their fire stations into the city’s fire department. -Wikipedia.

Look at the huge fires in the Western states for instance. Who will coordinate say, 34 fire private companies? If you do designate one private company in a state, you get a monopoly like Comcast, with the same waste and inefficiencies of a government agency.

Also, free market fire department historically DID allow people’s houses to burn, for good reason. The thinking that they would not is wrong. Private companies did not put out the fire (even if the non-payer offered to pay “on the spot”) because it was a perfect example to those who did not pay “protection”. How many insurance companies let you buy in after you have a problem? The insurance model does not work that way. Having everyone pay and motivating them to do so by not putting out the fires of non-payers would maximize profits.

King George November 14, 2010 at 11:54 pm

I guess we won’t know until we try it again, but I am also concerned about the “example setting”.

Fred Mann November 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Hello TomG, The huge fires in the western states are a result of the federal government’s owning of vast swaths of land. Unowned land is rarely managed properly, if at all. This is the tragedy of the commons in effect.

You write: Private companies did not put out the fire (even if the non-payer offered to pay “on the spot”) because it was a perfect example to those who did not pay “protection”.

This tactic can only work in monopoly/near-monopoly settings — i.e. with a strong government presence and/or government provision of streets, hydrants, etc. and/or licensing… Any fire dept. hungry for business will obviously want to put out any/all fires where it can make a profit — i.e. cover its costs of putting out a fire.

Anne November 15, 2010 at 4:29 pm

“The idea that the free market would lead to this outcome is silly. According to all accounts the homeowner offered to pay the fee on the spot. He even offered to pay more than the fee and cover all costs associated with putting out the fire. What for-profit company would sit there and refuse to extend their services to a potential customer begging to give them his money? Even on the hampered market we live in now, no company operates like this. Only the state operates like this.”

Insurance companies do this all the time. What insurance company would accept a customer who decided it was worth the cost of paying premiums only after they discovered they had cancer?

The Kid Salami November 16, 2010 at 4:27 am

TomG: “Private companies did not put out the fire (even if the non-payer offered to pay “on the spot”) because it was a perfect example to those who did not pay “protection”. How many insurance companies let you buy in after you have a problem?”

Anne: “Insurance companies do this all the time. What insurance company would accept a customer who decided it was worth the cost of paying premiums only after they discovered they had cancer?”

Joe: “The answer is insurance companies. That is exactly how the insurance market works. A consumer cannot get insurance ex post facto despite the fact that he or she needs coverage at that moment. Since this is the basis of your entire argument, your entire argument is invalid.”

Three comments against this in a row all assuming that selling insurance policies and putting out fires (and curing cancer) are done, and only ever done, by the same people. Maybe you want to investigate this concept called “The Division of Labour”.

Anthony November 17, 2010 at 12:05 am

Anne,

If someone does not have health insurance, and gets cancer, as per your example, but they offer to pay the hospital directly for treatment, are you saying that the hospital would turn them away? Think about it.

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