Re: Property rights

From: Byrne Hobart (
Date: Sun Apr 20 2008 - 07:55:49 MDT

On Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 5:27 PM, Stuart Armstrong <> wrote:

> > It is interesting, then, that advocates of national health care don't
> try to
> > start businesses operated like the European health care cartels, but
> instead
> > demand government intervention.
> Not really on topic, but I can't let that pass - the theory behind
> publicly funded healthcare is precisely that it is universal, and
> obligatory (hence needs the coercive power of a state). This (in
> theory) reduces administrative costs (as there is no need to
> discriminate between users) and improves outcomes (as consumers are
> very poor judges of whether they received good medical care, compared
> with most other domains; hence specialists make better decisions than
> private individuals). That's the theory, anyway.

I was specifically responding to a comment implying that it was not the
national nature, but the way things were run, that made national
healthcare such a good deal. If it's really only a good deal because you
can coerce people into not accepting anything else, that's something that
should be noted! I could probably make food really really cheap if I just
mandated a prison sentence for selling a meal for more than $5. That would
deprive us of a very useful set of signals about the actual demand and cost
for various food items, and would make people think twice about becoming
good chefs -- but if we're measuring success in terms of the most for the
least, rather than the right amount for the right price, that would be the
way to go!

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