[ExI] Private and government R&D [was Health care in the USA]

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Jul 17 14:05:40 UTC 2009

2009/7/17 Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>:

>> They're not as efficient. The US has an extensive public health
>> system, as well as charity and insurance, and *still* millions of
>> people can't access adequate medical services.
> ### So you think this statement (which BTW is factually incorrect),
> *supports* the need for taxation?
> You mean, the US taxes me a lot, and people still don't get what you
> think they should get, but it only means I should be taxed more?
> Let me give you a one-word answer:
> Insane.
> And you unfavorably compare the efficiency of charity with taxation?
> Jesus H. Christ wept.

Charity won't reliably cover everyone. Charity is fickle and
demeaning, although better than nothing. I know a lot of people who on
principle would not accept charity, but do accept government provided
services, since they are provided under a binding and reciprocal
agreement: i.e., if they earn enough money, they will also contribute
to these services.

In Canada, you pay less tax for public health care per capita than you
do in the US and you get high quality universal health care, with
minimal need to rely on charity or private insurance. Why is the
Canadian system so much more efficient?

>>> What about the inevitable fact that without violence economic growth
>>> would be much higher, making the median citizen much wealthier? (look
>>> at the difference between South and North Korea caused by 50 years of
>>> a mild reduction in violence achieved in the south)
>> By "violence" I assume you mean taxation and government regulation. It
>> isn't the case that less of this leads to greater economic growth,
>> consistently over time. The Soviet Union grew very quickly in its
>> first few decades, then stagnated. China is growing very quickly but
>> it has very extensive government involvement in industry. Switzerland
>> is growing very slowly despite being one of the most
>> capitalist-friendly countries in the world.
> ### You want to convince yourself about the rightness of violence so much.....

I could respond by saying that you want to convince yourself of the
rightness of selfishness and contempt for the weak and the

>>>  You don't believe this,
>>>> obviously, but most people do, which is why they agree to be taxed
>>>> when taxation is such an intrinsically unpleasant thing.
>>> ### Oh, they have been bamboozled by years of schooling in government
>>> controlled schools, where the fox teaches the chickens to appreciate
>>> what he does to the integrity of their coop.
>> An overriding principle in the curriculum of the government-controlled
>> schools that I attended was that a partisan approach to teaching was
>> to be avoided at all times. I don't remember being taught that one
>> political or economic system was better than another, although perhaps
>> the propaganda was *so good* that it infected my mind without my even
>> realising it.
> ### Freedom and non-violence were never even described in their true
> meaning in your school which is why you do not understand them.
> It's just like the term "people's republic" used in my
> communist-controlled grade school - a newspeak reuse of an old word to
> mean its opposite.

My senior schooling was actually private. The students were mostly
conservative (from conservative families) but there were a few
radicals but all were tolerated. Politics was not a prominent part of
the curriculum, but when it was taught, the emphasis was on
disinterested discussion of the facts relating to the various systems
that have existed historically. The teachers were expressly forbidden
from displaying their own bias, although it was often easy to guess. I
confess that I had never heard of "libertarianism" until a few years
ago, as it seems to be a purely American phenomenon. I have certainly
been aware of anarchism, but traditional anarchists are usually
opposed to capitalism, considering it a force for exploitation and
oppression of the working class, effectively a government without even
the pretence of allowing the governed to have a say.

>> The only reason for accepting any political system as far as I'm
>> concerned is that it leads to people being better off. If a particular
>> policy has the opposite effect, whether it's a right wing or left wing
>> policy, it should be dropped. When I was younger I believed more in
>> ideological purity, but I now see that that's nonsense, and the only
>> thing that matters is the result.
> ### Yet you are consistently refusing consequentialist arguments if
> they conflict with your conviction that you have the right to trample
> over other people's lives.

The consequentialist argument is that equitable wealth distribution
and limitation of the exploitation of workers by private corporations
is for the common good. In other words, unfettered capitalism will
trample on peoples' lives more.

Stathis Papaioannou

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