Friday, January 11, 2008

Yaron Brook on Why Socialized Medicine is Immoral

Good article by Yaron Brook on Forbes.com on why socialized medicine is immoral. In a world of increased privatization, where it is generally realized that it's wrong for governments to run industries, it's incredible that two of the most important industries - education and healthcare - continue to buckle under massive and increasing government control.

5 Comments:

Blogger Burgess Laughlin said...

For me, a "private" (or privatized) enterprise is one that meets at least these two essential, defining characteristics:
1) The owners of the enterprise set their own goals for the enterprise.
2) All the income which the enterprise receives (from sales or donations) comes through trade, that is, voluntarily.

Given this definition of private, I question whether we live in a "world of increased privatization." Not having any way to measure it, I can't say definitely.

An alternative possibility is that we live in a world of increased "public/private partnerships." These "partnerships" allow vacuoles of freedom of action, but the overall circumstances are set by the state by force of law.

This is exactly the direction health care is headed. Few people in the U. S. advocate government ownership of medical care. They "only" want to "manage" it to meet altruist goals, while expecting "private enterprise" to keep producing.

Trends in statist health care are merely one more symptom of creeping Parentalism: The state plays the role of supposedly benevolent but stern parents who allow their children some freedom of action (such as decorating their own rooms), but still set the limits and make judgments about the arrangements and assignments of chores.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Rob Tarr said...

Burgess,
I don't have an exact measure either, but I think it's fair to say it's a world of increased privatization -- except for healthcare and education. Especially so in Europe, where they've even privatized a post-office. In the UK, vast segments of the economy used to be in government hands, and are no longer (e.g. coal mines to steel mills).

In the U.S., there wasn't as much outright nationalization, but keep in mind that 35 years ago, everything from airfares to stock commissions was strictly regulated by the government.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Burgess Laughlin said...

"Especially so in Europe, where they've even privatized a post-office."

This is startling information. But just to make sure we are not miscommunicating, I have a question: Are you certain that this privatized post office is truly private? For example, can the owners of the new corporation set new goals for their business, even going so far as to shut it down and sell off its assets?

If the owners of an organization cannot set its goals or if they take income from nonvoluntary sources then the organization is not private.

If the owners of the new corporation can legally have competition, then that would be another indicator of privatization.

The usual situation with supposedly privatized companies is that all the responsibilty for success or failure falls on the corporation's owners, but the owners must conform to the expectations (for goals at least, if not more) of legislators. Also, such enterprises are usually set up as monopolies, directly or indirectly.

At best, the proper label for such enterprises is "semi-private."

This is merely a shift from socialist statism to "lite" fascist statism. It is not privatization.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Rob Tarr said...

Burgess, I had in mind Deutsche Post, which is majority owned by private investors. (I believe the government only retains a 35% stake, which it intends to dispose of.)

According to Wikipedia:

- In 2002 it was granted a license to deliver mail in the United Kingdom, breaking Royal Mail's long-standing monopoly.

- Deutsche Post's exclusive right to deliver letters under 50 grams elapsed on 1 January 2008 following the implementation of European legislation. A number of companies are vying to challenge Deutsche Post's near monopolistic hold on letter deliveries, including Luxembourg-based PIN Group and Dutch-owned TNT Post.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Burgess Laughlin said...

Rob, thank you for the example of Deutsche Post. Reading about it is fascinating. The question that arises for me is: Why did legislators privatize it? Because they are committed to the principle of capitalism or because they wanted to offload a bureaucratic embarrassment? Further research would answer the question, but I don't have time for that. Lack of a principle motivation would show pragmatism, which is not encouraging for the future.

Also, to make a proper measurement (if one can figure out how to do that), one should consider the other side of the equation: Continued efforts to nationalize some firms, as at this link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7190726.stm

6:16 PM  

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