1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6852/how-the-free-market-would-handle-quarantines/

How the Free Market Would Handle Quarantines

July 16, 2007 by

Private businesses aren’t stupid; they don’t need the government to order them to keep lepers away. And if a particular church, say, wants to open its doors to such a person, that’s perfectly within their rights.

Indeed, the final repository for such people would be buildings where the owners thought they could safely contain the disease. And the common name people would use for these buildings is “hospital.” In a free society, to be “quarantined” would simply mean that most owners (of roads, sidewalks, malls, hotels, factories, etc.) would refuse access, and so a contagious person would have few choices outside of treatment facilities. FULL ARTICLE

{ 14 comments }

Josh H July 16, 2007 at 8:35 am

Quick question. How would the sick guy get to the hospital if all the landowners between his house and the hospital barred him from entering their property? I’m sure there are many possible solutions, but I’d be interested in hearing the more common ones.

DC July 16, 2007 at 9:22 am

Josh, this is just a preliminary guess, but I’d think that hospitals would develop relationships with property owners, and would be able to obtain permission to send their own vans or cars to pick up patients who are too sick for normal road access. Road-owners may not want infected people coming onto their property in general, but I’m sure most would agree to pre-arranged procedures for their transport, especially with respectable hospitals and other health firms.

When Murphy writes: “Major property owners would probably have prearranged agreements on how to deal with cases like this, so that the response could be coordinated,” I suspect that he means both that quarantines would be well-established and that there would be commonly used procedures to help the sick person in need safely.

Paul Marks July 16, 2007 at 9:24 am

A principle of common law is right to leave your own property – otherwise one could imprison someone just by buying all the land round him (and the air space).

However, in extreme circumstances (for example the man is contaminated with plutonium – the heavy metal hitting the nervious system is the big problem, not the radioactivity) then property owners round the contaminated man might reasonably insist that he is taken to hospital by helicopter.

However, back to the article:

A very good article.

But this is perhaps only to be expected from the author of a very good book.

Black Bloke July 16, 2007 at 11:52 am

From the story:

checked=”checked”=”checked=”checked”"

Typo, or reference to something?

Person July 16, 2007 at 12:43 pm

I’d have to agree with Paul_Marks, at least if I understand him. The right to contain a diseased person is *not* derivative of the absolute property rights of everyone else (which as Robert_P._Murphy points out could conceivably result in making it impossible to leave), but as an exception to the common law requirement of egress easement.

Presumably, in any transition to a free market, these sorts of common law traditions would carry over. It’s unlikely it would ever be possible (or desirable) for there to be a case where a group of people can, *at their own absolute discretion*, land-lock someone.

Jacob Steelman July 16, 2007 at 4:51 pm

These speculations of the free market reaction seem a bit simplistic. More likely some type of data base for businesses to access for serious cases and personal protection equipment for those wanting to protect themselves. Or a certificate from a health or life insurance company before getting on the plane, boat, train, etc. The beauty of the market is it lets matters such as this be voluntary – how much risk do businesses think there is from TB carriers spreading the disease to there other customers and how much risk do individuals believe there is from being around other individuals. Each individual and business has the right to make this risk assessment. If there is a demand (high risk assessment) the market will respond and if there is little demand (low risk assessment) it will not make economic sense for the market to respond. One thing for sure the market is a much better mechanism for handling this (or not handling this if there is low risk assessment) then a bunch of CDC bureaucratics running around crying wolf in order to protect themselves rather than concerning themselves about the passengers and the life of the TB carrier. Government is first of all about power and the maintenance of power by the employees of the government whereas the market is concerned about customers.

Nelson July 16, 2007 at 5:53 pm

Josh, this is just a preliminary guess, but I’d think that hospitals would develop relationships with property owners, and would be able to obtain permission to send their own vans or cars to pick up patients who are too sick for normal road access.

Yep. Shouldn’t everyone here realize by now that a priori agreements cover every possible scenario in the Anarchist world?

Joseph Huang July 16, 2007 at 7:12 pm

Somehow, people in the US do business with people in Canada without problems. Yet there is no state to cover both parties, in between states there is anarchy. Somehow the world keeps turning. To be a consistent statist you must advocate One World State.

Who would buy or build on land that he did not have a contract to access? I mean, gosh, the state must protect people’s right to access land, or else there would be craziness!

After all, the state must protect us from ourselves, since we are dumb and they are smart.

averros July 17, 2007 at 2:41 am

> Shouldn’t everyone here realize by now that a
> priori agreements cover every possible scenario
> in the Anarchist world?

Not necessarily. There are always rights to self-defense and just compensation (and courts and protection services to enforce them) to keep people from doing harm to others.

Knowingly infecting someone does qualify as an aggression. So a person sick with a virulent disease has a choice of keeping away from others (by staying home or arranging safe transportation to a properly equipped hospital) – or risking being convicted of assault if somebody catches the disease from him. In fact, if others know that the person is infected with something seriously virulent they have right to use force to keep him from infecting them – because of the clear and present danger.

(As a historical note – leprosy is eminently curable nowadays (the full drug course takes 6 months). That’s why there are no more leprosories in developed countries.)

jb July 17, 2007 at 4:36 am

“Private businesses aren’t stupid; they don’t need the government to order them to keep lepers away.”

Not true – here in Russia we foreigners must take a leprousy test every year to get our work permits. Not to mention other major work place risks like chlamydia. Next year they are apparently adding cocaine addiction, other drugs are still OK.

Person July 17, 2007 at 10:21 am

In Soviet Russia, leprosy turns YOU away!

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Darren July 17, 2007 at 4:37 pm

Great piece! I passed it along to my wife, who is a nurse. She works with a bunch of socialists at a hospital that is constantly harping on their quarantine ‘protocols’ they’re developing in conjunction with the state for dealing with a pandemic. They’ve got quite the Soviet-style system planned out, and they’re deadly serious.

WhereofOneCannotSpeak July 18, 2007 at 3:01 pm

Infection control is not something to be left to hairdressers or even to economists or professors of politics or literature. It calls for actual skills and experience in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. People get Ph.D. and M.D. degrees in that kind of stuff.

Hundreds of thousands of humans have died from infectious diseases throughout history. There is no room for politics in this matter.

Jesse July 18, 2007 at 3:24 pm

Whereof…: “There is no room for politics in this matter.”

I couldn’t agree more. There’s no room for aggression in anything, including infection control.

Oh, that wasn’t what you meant? You want “medical law”? Sorry, can’t help you there.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: