[ExI] "Controlling the cost of health care" an immoral idea?
anders at aleph.se
Sat Apr 28 10:56:42 UTC 2012
On 28/04/2012 07:10, BillK wrote:
> Perhaps our leaders see the future and it frightens them. Western
> society is faced with the closing jaws of an aging population with
> extended lifespans and the 'death of work'.
Seeing the future and reacting to it rationally are two different
things. Just consider the behavior of certain European governments in
the face of unsustainable economic and demographic factors.
I think a fair number of political decisionmakers know the big
challenges ahead well enough. There is no shortage of academics, think
tanks and advisers talking about them, and those I have talked to
certainly know plenty. Unfortunately it might not be politically
rational to act on the challenges, since the voters often do not get it.
Again, some voters are smarter and more informed than one might think.
But if the perception is that not enough agree, then it will seem
politically rational not to do anything. The result is a situation where
action is delayed longer than any individual agent would actually want.
Technocratic and authoritarian systems replace this form of
irrationality with a tendency towards bias instead. They are free to
implement policies without support, but that means they will get weaker
or no feedback. Mistakes, bureaucratic empire-building and groupthink
Multi-layer systems of course can combine voter/politician irrationality
with bias in wonderful ways. The principal-agent problem is deep and
tricky to solve.
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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