[ExI] Non-commie Aussies

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sun Jun 28 08:43:09 UTC 2009

On Sun, Jun 28, 2009 at 1:07 AM, deimtee<deimtee at optusnet.com.au> wrote:
> Would it make any difference to your viewpoint on national healthcare to
> know that this
> is the issue that is probably taken the most seriously by a large majority
> of voting Australians ?
> Even granting that  there will always be corruption, nepotism, and graft in
> pretty much any large
> organisation, public or private, the healthcare system here is watched
> closely by all political
> parties, public advocacy organisations and the news media.
> Serious corruption or waste is exposed quickly, and dealt with in public. As
> Stathis says, the system IS accountable,  all the way down, because the
> public DO hold the politicians accountable.
> To put it bluntly, if they fuck up the healthcare system they will get
> tossed out on their arse, and they know it

### I see it differently. Voters act as if they were stupid and
depraved; whenever you vote, you exercise the least amount of
discretion (since mostly you vote about other people), you indulge
your stupidest proclivities where immediate feedback is absent, you
follow the common human biases, well-analyzed in "The Myth of the
Rational Voter" (by Bryan Caplan). Perversely, when voters really care
about something, they are likely to make it worse. Public health care
is a case in point - brittle, inefficient (bureaucrats exposing waste
- it's a joke, the only people who keep waste in check are people
dealing with their own money for their own benefit), overbearing, all
that because voters suffer from the anti-market bias, anti-foreign
bias, make-work bias, and pessimistic bias (the four biases identified
by Caplan), plus common envy (a.k.a. egalitarianism), plus
healthcare-specific attitudes: the paternalist bias, and massive
amounts of signaling (read Robin Hanson on that). Of course, when
voters care and suppress the freedom of the market, the vested
interest groups (like the physician labor union, AMA) close in for the
kill, and add their own touches to the boondoggle. A part of the
problem is that so many people strongly "feel" what is right and wrong
about medicine, and don't hesitate to insist on shoving their inept
notions down everybody's throat.

So, masses of voters who care don't make anything better, and
healthcare unfortunately is no exception.

Maybe this will help understand where I come from: Most people I know
would not slit an Iraqi man's throat, or spend their own cash to hire
thugs to do it, unless they were pretty sure he really, personally
deserved it - yet when they voted (three time so far), they extorted
thousands of dollars from me and used it to slaughter of hundreds of
thousands of Iraqis based on the flimsiest excuse for evidence. People
acting within the short-feedback environment of their family,
community, business, or other voluntary two-way interactions, tend to
exercise caution and compassion - but the same people acting without
immediate feedback, as it happens during voting, end up acting
carelessly, hypocritically, indulging cognitive biases that normally
are suppressed.


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