[ExI] Yet another health care debate

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Thu Sep 25 16:45:02 UTC 2008

On Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 01:49:44AM -0700, Lee Corbin wrote:
> Damien S. writes
> >Conservative/libertarians sometimes deride liberals/socialists as making
> >the State their God.  I'd say this is partly true: where the religious
> >worship an unprovable God, progressives set out to build a god, finite
> >and fallible but real, to do the things God is asked to do, like help us
> >in need.
> I can hardly believe I'm reading this. It's all the worst claims
> of the right-wing extremists come true, namely, that the left
> wants to turn government into some kind of god.

A god of our design and under our control.

More *precisely*, the state is doing the things that people have prayed
for God to do.  Keep us safe from enemies, provide regular water for the
crops, help us out after disasters, and even prevent natural disasters
-- Army Corps on water works, possibly future weather control.

Why can't that be private?  Some of it could, but there's lots of free
rider problems.  Some of it can't be -- "what should the outdoor
temperature be?" is an inherently collective decision.

> I think the EPA has hurt. It costs industry hundreds of billions
> of dollars annually, which is passed on to people, and we get
> further and further off the exponential economic growth curve
> we should have been on.

The EPA prevents industry from dumping costs onto third parties by
dumping poisons into the environment.  Externalities.  This is making
the market work better, not worse; a "free market" where costs aren't
private is a false market.

> Can you perhaps help me with this? My friends can't. Why
> don't people who think pollution is too high in the cities just
> move to small towns?  (Oh, right, because their standard of living

Cities are hardly the only problem.  Aquifers, river dumping, ocean
dumping, acid rain, ozone layer destruction, global warming.  

Cities, perhaps, don't need a federal EPA; they could use local laws
against leaf-burning (hey, they do) or car emissions.  (In the interest
of unified markets, states are forbidden from being stricter than the
EPA, except for California which had special smog problems, and states
are allowed to jump up to California levels.  So we don't have a full
free 'market' in state laws.

But you seem to be saying people in polluted cities should move away
rather than trying to regulate local pollution.  Why do polluters have a
right to pollute?  You think government regulations are more onerous
than dumping toxins into the air?

> I think black people have suffered because of those laws. Sure,
> you have some superficial hireings here and there, but often at the
> cost of introducing underqualified workers. And now, even

I don't want to get into affirmative action debate, but I'd note there
are multiple levels:
affirmative action (adds making some sort of active effort to recruit
the disadvantaged)
quota (adds a hard requirement of such recruitment)

Discrimination can at least sometimes be measured directly, such as when
companies respond to otherwise identical resumes differently based on the
perceived race or gender of the name on the resume, let alone when black
and white couples are told different things about home availability in
an area.

-xx- Damien X-) 

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list