[ExI] Meme change not person death/was Re: Friedman and negative income tax

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Tue May 12 05:55:02 UTC 2009

On Sat, May 09, 2009 at 05:01:13PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

> Right that they can't afford it, but wrong that most of them are
> socialist. For example, most of South and Central America for the past
> century has been governed by US-supported regimes that are even more
> assiduous in suppressing any sort of left wing activity (opposition

As it happens, post-military South America seems to have largely
embraced universal health care.  Peru, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay...
Thailand, a rather poor country, is working on it, and India has
something.  A $3000/capita country may not be doling out the latest in
cancer treatments, but vaccines and antibiotics and pre-natal and basic
surgeries are pretty affordable.  India's also leading in some health
care innovation...

...pointing at a big fallacy: universal health care and innovation
aren't exclusive.  Most countries with socialized insurance *also* have
private doctors, hospitals, or insurance.  Often just providing faster
non-emergency service, or nicer hospital rooms, but there's plenty of
legal room for research and innovation as well.

> parties, unions, free speech) than the US itself. There are some
> exceptions, like Cuba - and look at what the US did there. The

And which, for all its poverty, seems to live long, unless the WHO is
just trust the government statistics.

> The usual pattern with economic growth in developing countries is
> rapid growth at the start then a slowing down as they reach the levels
> of the more developed countries. It seems that the plateau is more due

Indeed.  It's easier to copy developments than to create new ones.

> provinces. It's not as simple as your contention that any socialist
> measures inevitably lead to economic stagnation.


Behold the failure of social democracy!  A Sweden that is $3000-$9000
wealthier than the United States!  And Denmark, Netherlands, Finland...
(Also Norway but they have oil.)

PPP is a lot more favorable to the US but it's unclear how to interpret
that, especially when a lot of services are free-via-governemtn and
hence not purchased.  Nominal GDP/capita suffers from exchange rate
fluctuations but has the clarity of how much a country can import, and
thus roughly how much in demand their labor or resources are.  At the
moment, the average Swede can outbid the average American for Japanese
electronics or Kuwaiti oil.  Certainly not an obvious failure.

-xx- Damien X-) 

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