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On The Morality Of Choice

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by James E. Miller of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada

The Morality of Choice

Picture yourself walking into a department store to purchase some laundry detergent.  As you approach the aisle stocked full of brightly-labeled containers, you come face to face with a crucial decision.  Which detergent do you choose?  Do you go with the tried-and-trusted brand?  Do you save money with the generic variety?  What’s on sale?  What about the high-efficiency kind?

The choice between something as inexpensive as laundry detergent seems trivial in a modern economy marked by mass production and the division of labor.  But the large selection of goods that consumers are faced with today is an incredible betterment relative to the past thousand years of human existence.  Indeed, the lives of even the most impoverished in Western economies far surpasses that of kings centuries ago.

For all the condemnation it receives by those considered on the forefront of intellectual thought, capitalism is responsible for lifting mankind out of a dreary life of hand to mouth survival.  Economic freedom is ultimately to blame for the higher standard of living the West enjoys compared to the once Communist East.  Material prosperity is a phenomenon not brought to the world by governments but by entrepreneurial spirit.  The state just is a reactionary institution that derives its power from the gun it puts to the back of public’s head.  Those who succeed in the marketplace only do so by appealing to consumers.  Businessmen force no one to purchase their wares less they play footsie with the political class for special privilege.  The pursuit of profit is what drives competition and expanded choice.  Without it, societal progress stagnates as living standards lower.

In Canada, the demand is growing for the country to allow a private alternative to its public health care program to emerge.  In a new poll conducted by Ipsos Reid for Postmedia News and Global Television, almost three quarters of the respondents were in support of a mixed model of health care delivery.  From the Vancouver Sun:

The majority of Canadians support a “mixed” model of health care that would give them the option of spending their own money for care in a private system, according to the results of a new poll.

And three-quarters of them support being able to buy private health insurance for all forms of medically necessary treatment, including cancer care and heart surgery, which they could then obtain outside of the public health care system.

In recent years, the very health of the system has come into question and there has been persistent debate about whether the federal government should allow the emergence of a “mixed” model in which the non-profit public system and for-profit private system operate side-by-side to give patients greater choice.

As many know, the Canadian health care system is publicly funded and under strict government control.  Care is administered in so-called “private entities” that receive their funding from the various levels of government.  In reality there is little private competition.  It has been this way since 1984 with the passage of the Canada Health Act.  The only exceptions are dental work and drug coverage which aren’t usually covered by the government but by private insurance.

According to the Vancouver Sun article, the mixed model would allow Canadians to purchase private insurance “for all forms of medically necessary treatment, including cancer care and heart surgery, which they could then obtain outside of the public health care system.”  It is believed that such an option would relieve the wait times for major surgeries.  While the extending of private competition is certainly a step in the right direction, it will by no means be the definitive cure to a non-market model that lacks the necessary characteristics which allow markets to function.

The problem with Canada’s health care system is the same problem every socialized industry faces: the lack of price signaling.  Doctors are prevented from charging extra and user fees are prohibited.  Services can’t be rationally allocated because consumers have little indication of prices.  Government acts as a third party by picking up the tab and concealing the true cost of care.  State administered health care almost always has the same results of high demand, low supply, and scarcity of service.

Economic issues aside, Canada’s health care system isn’t lacking in just market incentives.  What is missing is the allowance for something so simple and taken for granted, it hardly receives serious consideration.

What I am referring to is the option of having a real choice when it comes to medical care.

Choice itself is really an extension of the moral basis for capitalism.  In exercising your preference for a particular good or service, you are really exercising your free will to consume.  Choice is the embodiment of freedom, private property, and is the key ingredient to rising living standards.  As long as people aren’t obstructed from pursuing their interests, they will act in a way to improve their own lot.

What government does through its various regulatory edicts is stomp down upon the free interactions of others.  The political class can only inhibit commerce; it can’t enhance what would otherwise be unrestricted.

To imagine what the prevalence of choice in healthcare would look like, it helps to picture the world of television’s The Simpsons.  In the famous cartoon show, two reoccurring characters are that of Dr. Julius Hibbert and Dr. Nick Riviera (typically referred to as Dr. Nick).  Fans of the show should easily remember that Dr. Hibbert is considered the more competent of the two while Dr. Nick is horribly inept.  Given his track record and blatant incompetence, few would trust Dr. Nick to perform major medical procedures.  However, despite all of his shortcomings in being a professional, he might still be able to perform relatively simple medical procedures and check ups.  Because of the low quality of care he offers, Dr. Nick would thus have to bid down his prices to appease consumers.  As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.”

The question is, why should consumers not be able to choose Dr. Nick over Dr. Hibbert even with their clear differences in ability?  Surely Dr. Nick would botch any complex procedure, but should he be barred by the state from practicing medicine?  Should consenting adults not be allowed to pay for his services?

Recommending that someone reconsider their choice in doctors and forcefully prohibiting them from doing so are two starkly opposed positions.  The former is a recommendation without the threat of violence to back it up.  The latter is the crushing of liberty by dictatorial insistence.  In erecting legal barriers to industries, what the political class is effectively telling the public is that they are incapable of making sound decisions without the help of the paternalistic state.  The real objective is instilling an all-encompassing dependency to a nanny government that is always on the prowl for excuses to increase its own power.

It is a shame that Canadians currently have little choice in medical care.  It is equally disheartening that “for-profit” industry is demonized while a system built up on the violent suppression of genuine competition is dominant.  What’s really perplexing to hear big government supporters antagonize over the threat of monopolies when they give full dedication to the greatest monopoly of all.

With the outlawing of a complete private option, the Canadian authorities have denied the people the right to do as they see fit with their own property. It has, in essence, disallowed them to be human and exercise their own free will.  As Ludwig von Mises wrote, “under capitalism, private property is the consummation of the self-determination of the consumers.” With “government knows best” superseding consumer choice, Canada’s health care system will only continue to suffer in terms of quality and service.  And it is all because the most human of all aspects has been forcibly removed; that is the ability to choose for oneself.


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Thu, 07/05/2012 - 18:54 | 2590395 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Freedom and capital, bitchez!



We provide buyers of rolling bearings in Peru a CHOICE!  Anytime someone buys one of our Korean bearings, that means they saw value in OURS vs. the competition.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:01 | 2590422 Fancy Bear
Fancy Bear's picture

Two important points:

1) Canadians already can and do buy private health insurance, which covers care provided at private hospitals (generally in the US).

2) #1 doesn't compromise the public system because individuals must purchase such insurance in addition to participating in the public system. Thus, the universal system benefits from decreased utilization when people use supplemental insurance.

It's a beautiful system the US has no hope of approximating any time soon.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:05 | 2590446 mjk0259
mjk0259's picture

Yes, even in the linked article it says 80% want non-profit health care vs profit or mix of non-profit or profit.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:19 | 2590480 MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

I really liked this article, which highlights the role of “public-private” initiatives in the 21st century:

It’s a great compromise between the left and the right, that can bring everyone together to build practical solutions to social problems. The article examines previously successful public-private initiatives like the emergency financing of General Motors in 2009, and how we could build on this success by mandating green technologies. It’s not about government vs the free market, as libertarians like to characterize it. Government can work WITH corporations to achieve positive outcomes for all Americans. Public-private – who could disagree with that?

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:55 | 2590555 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

"Public-private – who could disagree with that?"

Pretty much everyone.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:15 | 2590591 Precious
Precious's picture

Obama, Pelosi, Reed and the Rinos have led us to the kind of choice you get in China.  It's not a tax.  It's a penalty.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 00:11 | 2590929 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

imo public/private initiatives are the essence of fascism.  i'm more inclined toward the usefulness of countervailing forces: profitable corporations with strong, shareholder-friendly boards of directors, consistent enforcement of just and practical regulations by a rule of law government, good labor unions that truly represent their workers' interests and a curious, adversarial, investigative press.  so pretty much utopian.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 05:32 | 2591100 PulpCutter
PulpCutter's picture

Bullshit.  China is about corruption and state control, which the GOP specializes in.  Check the vote totals: on issue after issue that has supported corruption -  NAFTA, the "Patriot" Act, Gramm-Leech-Bliley (repealing Glass-Steagall), Commodities Futures Modernization Act, etc - virtually the only no votes are from the Democratic side of the isle.

The GOP is trying hard to be "China West", hoping they'll get some crumbs that fall off the table. Just ask your Senate minority leader, Mr. Elaine Chao.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:26 | 2626858 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Sounds like Democrat Citizenism to me, comrade

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:23 | 2626853 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

A penalty that happens to be collected by the IRS and if you don't pay that, they'll put you away using the same "legal" basis as those who refuse to pay the IRS which has no business existing.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:07 | 2590576 whoisjohngalt11
whoisjohngalt11's picture

you are  a very good troll , always in Character, :-)

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:03 | 2590659 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Not really, in a later post he claims only the state knows what's best.

MDB is a hypocrite

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 04:02 | 2591063 Reptil
Reptil's picture

Yes, but ONLY if there are very VERY STRICT controls that prevent conflicts of interest. It's IMPOSSIBLE to serve two goals that are radically different. It's not that hard a concept to grasp.

Otherwise you're opening the door for FASCISM.
Also there must be complete openness and awareness of the public (whatever the construction). Pretty hard to do when the banks OWN the newspapers and news outlets (like they do here)

Otherwise it's a setup. And leads to the lobster trap the world will find itself in, very soon. (prognosis: FUBAR)


one thumbsup for the hilarious "green" reference. you must've been inspired by the good honest folks at the IAEA.


Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:07 | 2590451 bigkahuna
bigkahuna's picture

yeah, that sounds beautiful.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 02:34 | 2591020 orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

Canadians pay 50% in income taxes plus a 13% VAT.  So every six months, Canadians skip eating for two weeks to pay for their private insurance.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 09:01 | 2591436 Manbarepig
Manbarepig's picture

That must explain the almost 40% lower obesity rate in Canada, eh?

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 08:22 | 2591271 Mareka
Mareka's picture

US sickcare system allows no price discovery.

Several years ago I needed to have a CAT scan and knew my insurance wouldn't cover it.

I asked at the radiology clinic that performed the test what the charge would be and they did not know.

This is a test that they perform every 20 minutes every day but no one in the office could tell me an approximate price.

Apparently no one had ever asked that question.

They sent me over to a separate office that handled insurance claims who gave me a price range of $1,200 to $2,800.

That number could vary more if more people reviewed the results and sent in separate bills.

Until the discussion centers around how much heathcare costs and why, instead of how to pay for it, there will be no long term solution.


Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:24 | 2590609 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture





Fri, 07/06/2012 - 03:58 | 2591065 Reptil
Reptil's picture

Fabric softeners are like a toxic coat.

Got some links please of products or brands that are ok?

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:05 | 2590404 wrs1
wrs1's picture

Capitalism is nothing but a dream in the minds of some people.  It is people that are responsible for every bit of that progress cited in the article, nothing other than that.  Systems of thought such as capitalism are not people, systems of thought produce nothing and people don't need systems to motivate them.  As far as I can tell, ism's are responsible for the enslavement of man and these products on the shelves are the result of the enslavement mentality.

As to the real world of business, the person that wrote the article obviously never ran a small cash-flow positive business.  They are grossly naive with respect to the "entreprenuerial spirit".  So was I when I started my business.  I ran a small business for 15 years and all but one were positive cash-flow.  I don't think it was any kind of example of how one succeeds by working hard.  I was run over by larger businesses that lied about their products and services and by crony capitalism up and down the line.  If you weren't part of the group, it was damn hard to sell a thing, no matter how good what you had to sell was.

Finally, isn't it the pursuit of profit that produced the limor scandal and the subprime failure and the failure of the whole mortgage securitization scheme?  Surely this isn't the kind of thing we should be desirous of and if it produces that kind of result, how good are the products it produces?  Not that good IMO.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:09 | 2590455 InjuredThales
InjuredThales's picture

Funny, but people thrive under the auspices of some systems of thought, and stagnate or regress under others. 

Opportunity for consumption is a function of enslavement (or rather degrees of enslavement). It's just that you have the direction of that function upside down.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:28 | 2590499 wrs1
wrs1's picture

The more you consume, the more you are enslaved by the very desires that drive you to consume.  I believe a number of highly regarded people have aptly pointed that out over the centuries.  I am not sure that is the function to which you were referring though.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 22:57 | 2590837 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

That wrs1, is the disease of Supply Side-ism. A fractal, in-finite growth model, which, just like it's medical counter-part, cancer, finally finds it's full expression in an oxygen starved environment, ultimately kills it's host. 

The faux choice that the supply-side presents is merely same-ness in disguise. The root move is a move to demand-side mechanics in every sphere of our lives.

This so called choice? It's the mother of cognitive dissonance. It's true, CD ;-)



Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:11 | 2590458 bigkahuna
bigkahuna's picture

the real battle is statism versus individualism. Where is the median? 

The capitalism/communism/socialism titles are window dressings.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:20 | 2590481 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Remember.  Economic Freedom also means the freedom to fail.


Thu, 07/05/2012 - 23:33 | 2590880's picture

That's what makes capitalism work.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 23:39 | 2590894 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

work towards regulatory capture and ensuring that failure means YOU pay, not them.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:46 | 2590516 Sophist Economicus
Sophist Economicus's picture


Capitalism is nothing but a dream in the minds of some people

Uhm,  Capitalism is a DESCRIPTION of a system where individuals get together and FREELY trade their goods in services with other individuals WITHOUT being harassed.    Each side of the transaction benefits or else there would be no transaction.   What happens in the 'real world' falls far short of this.

As far as I can tell, ism's are responsible for the enslavement of man and these products on the shelves are the result of the enslavement mentality

'ISMS' are responsible for nothing.    Individuals, in positions of power (however obtained) AS WELL AS THOSE WILLING to subject themselves to their abuse are responsible for any ills you may feel towards the 'ISMS'.


As to what you write about small business, etc.   What can be said?   Hard work, capital, etc are not sufficient nor even necessary conditions for success.   If you have an idea, follow it with passion, work hard at it, etc you  WILL PROBABLY fail more times than succeed.   I worked in the large corporate sphere for years and now I own several small businesses.    Each have their risk and reward.   I like the freedom to succeed or fail, and I've been on both sides of that equation.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 23:38 | 2590889 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

You're talking about free markets, not capitalism...  the only way free markets remain free is to have government intervention...  however, government intervention necessitates central planning, regulatory capture, mandated monopolies, barriers to entry, and ultimately, fragility.  Capitalism is at least conceptually some balance of government forces (keeping markets free) and market participants (those seeking to avoid the normalization of profits/competition), but it falls off the apple cart due to the allure of absolute power being greater than the discipline of humans and the political acitvism of those uninvolved.

The concept of free markets is a unicorn...  that has never seen the light of day for more than an instant and only in a particular locale... 

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 08:41 | 2591334 Apocalicious
Apocalicious's picture

The concept of a society free from murder, rape and theft is also a unicorn. Such has never existed, at least in the 10,000 years of history I've studied. However, these activities are more common in some societal structures and less common in others. In the same vein, should we not strive to be more like the economic structure that has always been correlated with the most rapid expansion in average standard of living for a group of people throughout history, despite the undeniable fact that in practice this economic structure must certainly fall short of its theoretical "perfectly" implemented version?

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 09:50 | 2591629 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Well...  I think "try" is an interesting term.  If your "attempt" involves setting up a system that requires exponential growth to continue, is that really an attempt in the most realistic sense of the word?  Especially considering that the boom bust cycle inevitably leads to placing the entire world at risk should the boom go more wrong than usual (development of world killing technology and all), taking into account the interconnected and interdependent nature of the world economy and political organizations.

I think an attempt necessarily entails an examination of the proposed system's durability...  otherwise, an attempt is merely repeating actions we know not to work...

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 08:20 | 2591267 Lebensphilosoph
Lebensphilosoph's picture

'Isms' mould thoughts and thoughts provoke and direct actions. Of course 'isms' are responsible for things.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:59 | 2590753 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

What you fail to understand is the examples of limor, subprime, etc. are failures of law enforcement and not capitalism. I would also tell you that not using bankruptcy is another failure of this current era and is again an example of not following capitalism rules. Capitalism has to allow for profit as well as bankruptcy when failure occurs. What you have now under Obama is not even close to capitalism. Is it any wonder?

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 23:34 | 2590883 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

The political system is ALWAYS beholden to the economic system.  As a result, limor, subprime, etc. are failures of the economic system, not law enforcement.  The desire of market participants to avoid the normalization of profits (manifesting itself as regulatory capture) is a natural function of the market...  If you let people do as they please, it ALWAYS happens...  it's how order comes out of the chaos...

What we have now can be described as capitalism...  it can also be described as socialism...  the truth is that it's both...  and EVERY economic system is a mixture of both.  

You're confusing capitalism with the theory of free markets...  that theory is meant solely for an academic vacuum...  whereas capitalism actually has some real world experience, it's still always subject to the desires and incentives of rational actors to avoid the normalization of profits...  the instant you attempt to utilize government to avoid this action, you either digress into regulatory capture that solidifies the acts or further down the spectrum towards socialism (albeit the same guys at the helm or..  the "party").  

Capitalism and socialism are just different points on the same timeline...  they're really just ways of describing the particular sex act taken out on the plebs' anus.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 01:12 | 2590958 killedbyshortvol
killedbyshortvol's picture

It's worth considering how much of standards of living were "fought for with blood" vis a vie "trickled down" by Capitalism.

Capitalism, Communism, Socialism - it's all bullshit. The best we can do is simply strive for the most open system we can, a system that allows human beings to exchange goods, services and ideas to the greatest extent possible, with "the greatest extent possible" decided democratically by human beings (not corporations) and human beings (not corporations) protected by inalienable rights. It's obvious that, as more people populate the planet, "the greatest extent possible" becomes more limited and democracy, therefore, becomes ever more crucial. Good grief, enough with the lame-ass "isms" from simple-minded twits.

I want to vomit when I hear people speak of the economy as an entity that exists separate from human beings. An economy is a metaphysical entity that does not exist without human beings. Economies, therefore, should serve human beings, not the other way around (unless of course we're masochists). As for "Economics", well that just appears to me as nothing but narrative created by human beings about what is happening as a result of human beings' behavior (also, a wonderful source of mental masturbation for creative academics and intellectuals).

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 18:55 | 2590407 midgetrannyporn
midgetrannyporn's picture

division of labor my butt. the proles do all the work and the maggots steal all the money. the division of the 99% from all the cash and power is what it is.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:12 | 2590462 InjuredThales
InjuredThales's picture

Yeah, those proles are just so wonderful. Can't get enough of all those people who, if it were up to them, would still have us living in caves and grubbing for berries and insects with our bare hands.

Ohhhh, the poor proles! Such victims!  You can deny the equity of this sytem without this ridiculous populism frere Gracchus!  Your lumpen working stiff may be honest and all, but what have they ever given that 6 billion contemporaries couldn't give?

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 18:53 | 2590411 Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

That same freedom of choice resulted in the iPhone... There are pros and cons.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 18:54 | 2590413 wrs1
wrs1's picture

I got an S3, the iphone is what my wife and kids have, it can't compare.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 04:28 | 2591078 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture
Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. iPhone 4S Drop Test

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 18:54 | 2590414 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

"Businessmen force no one to purchase their wares "

No but now you can be forced to through tax policy.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 18:56 | 2590416 Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

as well as the complexities of that tax policy will require you to buy software to complete your mandated returns.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:47 | 2590529 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Applications that assist with regulatory compliance (government and industry)are all the rave.

 Too bad for T3, who cannot even use the simplest of them all.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 18:58 | 2590418 midgetrannyporn
midgetrannyporn's picture

I didn't order those baby bombing drones via amazon, did you? I didn't order those xray machines at the airport either.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:35 | 2590511 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

Shit, you can order those drones via Amazon?  Wit sidewinderz n' everthing?

Ima get me three or four, gonna set up 24/7 air surveillance over my compound.  2nd amendment bitchez!

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 18:59 | 2590425 wrs1
wrs1's picture

Maybe not but they sure are willing to lie about what the product does in order to sell it.  That's pretty much forcing it on people with false claims.  This is how the big software companies operate.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:45 | 2590730 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Ah yes, blame the shrewd producer for the idiot consumer. Very good. Difference between the state and private enterprise: one can force you to do something or else, the other must compete for your business. If they succeed in outcompeting their rivals, who are you to say it's unfair? A fool and his money will soon be parted no matter who is setting prices. Trying to protect people from their own stupidity and/or freedom to make mistakes is the worst good intention.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 02:07 | 2591009 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

And when the state is private, what gives?

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 13:05 | 2592424 akak
akak's picture


Fri, 07/06/2012 - 13:12 | 2592438 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture


Not to be confused with brown or black shirts, red coats...

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 14:51 | 2592836 akak
akak's picture

Bite the wax tadpole!

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 15:48 | 2593077 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Ah, ah, I see AnAnonymous wears the green hat.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:15 | 2590470 JustACitizen
JustACitizen's picture

Can someone let me know when we get around to discussing the vast number of choices that we enjoy in the selection of gasoline, electricity, natural gas, airlines, et al. It seems to me that the entire drive of our current system has been to eliminate the number of choices available for all of us cattle.

Let's see - you can have chute 1 or chute 2 or the brand new chute 3?

Seriously - price signals in healthcare? Maybe they'll start sending out flyers indicating their "Weekly Specials"? Maybe someone will give us poor be-nighted consumers an idea for just how many participants and billing centers will be involved in our purchases?


Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:28 | 2590500 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

That's what happens when you get government distortions in the market place. Competition gets suppressed with over regulation. Businesses get subsidies where none should exist. The whole system forces consolidation into large corporations which makes it easier to control from a government perspective. Can't have those pesky small businesses innovating and causing too much disruption in the economy.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:05 | 2590572 JustACitizen
JustACitizen's picture

While I do not totally discount your point of view - I am compelled to point out that there are many cases in which consolidation is a totally business led endeavor to try to gain "pricing power". As for subsidies - why do unrelated by direct shared ownership "businesess" so powerfully unite behind an idea like the sacrosanct farm subsidies and claim to be looking out for "mom and pop farmers"? How about "mom and pop" oil and gas companies - seen any of those around?

Furthermore, who controls who I wonder? Those who can grasp the power of the state or those who buy and sell politicians and judges?

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:32 | 2590619 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

As far as who controls who , in a corporatocracy it's a mutually beneficial relationship . But it helps in policy decisions if there are fewer businesses to contend with.The pricing power I addressed when I pointed out they regulated out the competition. The farm subsidies are a good example of distortions in the market that force consolidation. Large farmers will buy out smaller farmers to buy up the subsidies.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 22:36 | 2590810 Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

Not many small farmers even get subsidies and if they do they tend to be very small and not enough to make it worth buying them out in most cases, they largely go to a small group of mega farms. As with many other things, its a few at the top pulling the most from the system.

Want to know who gets what?

You can drill down and see what most individual small farmers get- its a pittance at best. Then look at the big boys in the top 10 states. The Midwest and Texas really have their snouts in the trough.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 18:57 | 2590419 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture

yup pills by the truck load and abortion on demand but alternative therapies will not be tolerated.  

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:00 | 2590426 Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

Im going to the eye doctor in a few minutes.  I am forced to get an exam if i want to buy contacts on line.  Ive used the same prescription for the past 10 years.  Yep, I can still see, those last contacts still work great... but the gov is telling me I need  a qualified doctor to make sure I am right before they let me spend my money on new ones.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:07 | 2590449 mjk0259
mjk0259's picture

And if he finds you are starting to get cataracts or some such, you will be glad you did. Only costs $80 where I live without insurance.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:12 | 2590463 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture

I am guessing the online dealers are protecting themselves against customer dissatisfaction.   I am starting to lose my reading ability without glasses.  I do not watch TV and have purchased eye correcting glasses.  They work.   Its about strengthening the ocular muscles.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:46 | 2590527 Amish Hacker
Amish Hacker's picture

You're a doctor, so you already "no" this, but a professional eye exam can detect a lot of non-optical medical conditions, too, including diabetes. It doesn't hurt, and it doesn't cost that much. 

That said, I agree with you about the nanny state.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:24 | 2590608 Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

Update,  I just got back.  $200 for the exam which they will bill insurance.  Get this, after 10 years, the same presription.....  Gee, I didnt see that coming....


Oh well, at least I can buy contacts again for 10 years.  To those who replied about how good it is to get an exam, all good reasons.... but should I be REQUIRED to do that just to buy some contacts which I know already work?

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:34 | 2590621 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture
"$200 for the exam which they will bill insurance"   Its $200 because the insurance is paying and the more these services cost the more the insurance premiums will cost.   Did you argue the cost??   your questuion "should you be rquired ...........well no, especially if you are paying hard cash rather than your surrogate, the insurance company.   i paid $70 for my first and only eye exam two years ago  
Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:35 | 2590626 Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

I completely agree and that is my point.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:36 | 2590714 Arkadaba
Arkadaba's picture

I was surprised when I moved to the States from Canada and found out I couldn't order contacts online anymore without an exam. 

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 22:46 | 2590827 mjk0259
mjk0259's picture

Yes because you if you can't see good you might drive into me. 10 years is a long time and you are not even paying. If you did pay it would be more like $80 so lifetime cost of $500.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:00 | 2590428 wrs1
wrs1's picture

I am all for abortion on demand, having kids is the last thing I want to do in my next life.  I had five this go around, someone else can do the work next time.  I have more than fulfilled that onerous obligation of life.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:09 | 2590453 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture

There are alternatives, pull out, keep tabs on her cycle, the pill, and the morning after or how about wear a condom or get snipped, its even reversable incase you change your mind. 

My point was more about how easy it is to get an operation that in essence ends one life and potentially ruins another and you have to wait 2 years or more to get a kidney transplant or some other life saving operation.  to many saved lives any way. 

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:55 | 2590556 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

Or change everyone into homosexuals and shemales

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:02 | 2590431 spooz
spooz's picture

You left out this part when you quoted the Vancouver Sun article:

"when only given a choice between a not-for-profit and a for-profit model, four out of five (80 per cent) Canadians said they preferred a not-for-profit model of health care — up nine percentage points since 2006."


Fri, 07/06/2012 - 00:07 | 2590923 Terminus C
Terminus C's picture

The real issue surrounding scarcity of service in Canada is the monopoly the Medical Schools hold over licensing of doctors. These institutions deliberately limit the number of doctors to keep their wages high.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:03 | 2590435 El
El's picture

Inexpensive laundry detergent? It's been a while since you've shopped for laundry detergent, hasn't it?


(FYI, it runs about $12 bottle.) :)

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:04 | 2590441 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

ALWAYS go with Tide !!!!!

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:05 | 2590445 Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

Yep, in a pinch you can sell it on the black market for drugs.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:55 | 2590558 Id fight Gandhi
Id fight Gandhi's picture

True, some urban stores lock it up.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:49 | 2590535 aphlaque_duck
aphlaque_duck's picture

Durable, divisible, fungible, portable...

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 01:24 | 2590985 monad
monad's picture

ALWAYS go with Paper Street Soap Company !!!!! Available even in Canada too. Just don't blow bubbles with it...

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:09 | 2590454 Heroic Couplet
Heroic Couplet's picture

I don't want to pay for training a police force in Iraq. I want the military budget to be put under the same scalpel that Republicans want to put the Department of Education under. I want the total dollar amount of damage caused by Phil Gramm, the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which kept the bank system in this country stable for sixty years, to be totalled and charged to Phil Gramm. Let's interview Brooksley Borne and remind ourselves why she warned we don't know enough about the risk of the bullcrap derivative products that came about because of Phil Gramm's legislation. Republicans want deregulation but they're too dumb to realize deregulation in the finance sector leads to increased risk.The more hedge fund managers, bankers, daytraders destitute, unemployed, and on food stamps, the better off the world will be. The finance sector will shrink and even over-correct on its way down. That will be change I can believe in.

I had a Republican pal who stated he knew one person from Canada who talked about the Canadian health care system. I stated "Only a Republican would be dumb enough to take one anecdote and draft policy from it. If you handed in an English term paper, you'd receive an F." Reminds me the State of Texas wants to do away with critical thinking skills. Too late, they're already gone!

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:18 | 2590473 InjuredThales
InjuredThales's picture

What is risk?  Heroic Couplet doesn't know, but he sure things that more regulation will reduce it...whatever it is.  If you understood risk, you'd know why, by definition, you can't regulate it away.

Whatever your views on the current wars may be, the military is one of the few legitimate expenditures of the state in a world where everybody wants to take what everyone else earned.  "Education" is an illegitimate expenditure of a fascist state where systemic risk is bred by standardized and mediocritized sameness across the board.

All the socialists coming out of the woodwork today.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 22:48 | 2590829 mjk0259
mjk0259's picture

If you limit banks to taking deposits and making credit card, car and personal loans the maximum risk is all their loans will go bad. If you let them gamble trillions on whatever they want, the maximum risk is much greater assuming you don't let them go bankrupt which no one has. So yes regulation can reduce risk.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 00:10 | 2590928 Terminus C
Terminus C's picture

Education is a fascist endeavor but foreign military adventures ar legitimate?

Not sure you have your arguments in order.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:03 | 2590566 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Yes yes go blue team... Bad red team.... it's all the republicans fault. Remind me again who signed the bill...It was Bill Clinton a democrat. Oh yeah you better take a look at how many democrats in the house and senate voted for it. I can provide the information if you like. The bottom line is they are all guilty crooks who have been bought off. It looks to me that the lack of critical thinking wasn't reserved for the republicans.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:14 | 2590456 spooz
spooz's picture

Interesting comments section here on the Vancouver Post article about Canadians opinions on their health care.  I like to see what the sheeple think about such polls instead of relying on what may be propaganda:

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:14 | 2590468 Shigure
Shigure's picture

Making the best choice is only possible if you have complete and perfect knowledge of the product/service and all the alternatives.  Who has the time or inclination to do all that research?  The persuasive power of advertising bullshit has more influence, and they are lying!

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:53 | 2590547 Goatboy
Goatboy's picture

, smearing and hiding!

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:17 | 2590475 Joaquin Menendez
Joaquin Menendez's picture

This is a false argument.  Sure, you could pick your primary physician great, I already do that, but when your wife goes into labor at 2:00 AM or the ambulance brings you into an emergency room in some hospital that you never heard of then there is no choice possible, doesn't matter what kind of healthcare system you have.    

The main symptoms of the problem we have are:

A. Our quality of healthcare, forget expense and access, sucks.  You can go to the hospital with a critical injury and you may not even see a doctor because the idiot triaging you has little more than AA degree from the local community college. That's when the flesh eating bacteria strip the meat off your bones before anyone figures out what is going on. My wife got sick in Italy and the doctors there discovered a heart condition that her doctors here in the U.S. totally missed!  It's just one bad experience after another here in the U.S.  You think a free market is going to fix this?  The republicans want to make it really hard to file suit against these assholes after they fuck you up; great.

B. Ou healthcare is totally overpriced and not available to so many Americans.

The problem causing these symptoms are the insurance companies because they must have a predictable flow of cash coming through the insurance system in order to make money on the float.  Pure and simple, they care about the statistics of occurance rather than resolution to make money.  Until this changes healthcare will continue to suck.


Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:46 | 2590526 jimmyjames
jimmyjames's picture

You think a free market is going to fix this?

The problem causing these symptoms are the insurance companies because they must have a predictable flow of cash coming through the insurance system in order to make money on the float.  Pure and simple, they care about the statistics of occurance rather than resolution to make money.  Until this changes healthcare will continue to suck.


Yes the free market would fix it-

If Governments stayed completely out of it except for standards/requirements/laws to be put in place to protect the well being of the people-approved by the people-

Insurance companies/pharma/doctors/staff and everything involved would have to meet the choices and affordability of the consumer-

Subsidies/unions and most of all-clueless government interference at all levels has created this overpriced monster-

We're so far from free markets that most people can't fathom how they can and do work-



Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:08 | 2590578 ATG
ATG's picture

Re If Governments stayed completely out of it except for standards/requirements/laws to be put in place to protect the well being of the people-approved by the people-

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:23 | 2590607 JustACitizen
JustACitizen's picture

Actually - I believe that Wall St. created this monster.

Free markets for the exchange of goods and services only exist (beside the imagination of various folks) in products and services in which there is free flow of information/feedback and no/limited barriers to entry in the marketplace. Tel me what part of any healthcare system would mee teven these simple criteria?

 A large part of the healthcare system was originally not-for-profit. Had any hospitals consolidate around your area? We have 2 dominant systems in this area - each with 5 or 6 hospitals.  Howsabout Blue Cross and Blue Shield - originally set up like a "mutual insurance company" for healthcare - today - just another gouging entity whining as they pay themselves millions.

Delivering compounding 5-7% growth (per Wall St. Analyst expectations) isn't easy - in a finite world.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:25 | 2590695 jimmyjames
jimmyjames's picture

Howsabout Blue Cross and Blue Shield - originally set up like a "mutual insurance company" for healthcare - today - just another gouging entity whining as they pay themselves millions.


Funny you sahould mention that-

I just dropped blue cross and got a much better package with an insurance company at a better rate-

If i see another deal that's better then this-i will go there-

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 23:30 | 2590876 spooz
spooz's picture

Just hope you don't get sick and have to be stuck with the preexisting condition handicap; your choices may disappear.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:39 | 2590610 JustACitizen
JustACitizen's picture

My bad - double post...

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:34 | 2590624 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

You raise a good point, but it's important to remember that the first *major* health-insurance provider in the USA was the government, and it was Medicare.  It existed before that, but few folks had it, and for the most part paid for services.  Things that were too expensive weren't done.

Medicare poured enormous amounts of money into the health-care industry, and a lot of that money went into the research that has developed all the super-expensive technologies and treatments that virtually no one in the country can now afford.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 23:49 | 2590908 snblitz
snblitz's picture

Hmmm... "the first *major* health-insurance provider in the USA was the government"

I suggest a quick reading of 'From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State" by David Beito.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 00:07 | 2590924 snblitz
snblitz's picture

Here is a good quote:

The tendency to join fraternal organizations for the purpose of obtaining care and relief in the event of sickness and insurance for the family in the case of death is well-nigh universal. To the laboring classes and those of moderate means they offer many advantages not to be had elsewhere.  -- New Hampshire Bureau of Labor (1894)

Can't find any mentions of medicare at the time.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 09:09 | 2591437 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

That wasn't "health insurance" as we understand it today.  You're referring to social organizations which provided assistance to suffering individuals and families, not unlike local churches.

Healthcare was much less expensive before the '40s because there was literally very little that could be done for so many diseases.  It just doesn't cost very much to feed and water someone in a bed for awhile, or to chop off an arm or a leg.  Most types of health-problems were a concern for the ill NOT because they couldn't afford to pay medical bills, but because if they were too sick to work, they had no income, and couldn't eat or provide for the family.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:18 | 2590477 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

More big corporate shilling from the Mises Institute of Canada.   

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:30 | 2590496 JustACitizen
JustACitizen's picture

I wonder how all of the people that got defective hip replacements/knee replacements feel about being under recall? I mean seriously - my car gets a recall - after it is repaired - if I choose - I could change brands. Help me to understand why healthcare is just like any other consumer good?

And then, to add insult to injury (literally in this case) these guys want the government to shield them from any consequences - legally speaking. Who can blame them though - they bribe doctors to use their products exclusively - their only  is to requirement is to enrich shareholders (themselves first though) - what could go wrong?

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:27 | 2590497 fasTTcar
fasTTcar's picture

So please enlighten me.

Why do Americans refer to the Canadian medical system as "socialized", when they do not refer to their own police forces, fire departments, road crews etc... as socialism?

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:45 | 2590525 Joaquin Menendez
Joaquin Menendez's picture

99% of the U.S. road system is a socialized project.   There not be much industry in the U.S. without what has to be one of the greatest socialized projects in the history of the world, namely the U.S. interstate highway system.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 10:59 | 2591877 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Very effective propaganda systems and indoctrination.  We're really WAY out in front of the rest of the world when it comes to molding the minds of the citizens.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 13:56 | 2592648 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

most amrkns align themselves along a red/blue party team sports model - they're prone to using words they've no idea the meaning of, nor do they have any education or critical thinking skills to move beyond what the media "buzz words" knee-jerk primal response training prompts them to 'think" - and therefore voice, like so many ventriloquist dummies.

even here, or especially here, the need to label "things" and then tuck them away in the mind, on the appropriate side/divide, runs strong.  as the threads prove, not everyone agrees on the definitions - those handy "buzzwords" are like cattle prods when used by those whose hand up the ass moves the mouths. . .

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:41 | 2590519 ProtectiveFather
ProtectiveFather's picture

Canadians go to department stores for laundry detergent? Things are more messed up there than I thought.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:44 | 2590645 Not Too Important
Not Too Important's picture

And they put gravy on their chips! F$%$in' madness, I tell ya!

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:19 | 2590674 erg
erg's picture

You're talking batshit crazy now. They're actually pouring gravy on potatoes? Who would have thunk it? Bunch of radical hosers.

Now, back to my turkey dinner with all the fixins', mashed pertatahs and gravy.

Edit: It's my 1st ZH birthday. Woohoo. Thanks Zero Hedge, Tylers ,contributors, and of course commentators.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:51 | 2590542 jeff314
jeff314's picture

Hi everybody...

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:52 | 2590546 kevinearick
kevinearick's picture

Breeding Spirit

…instead of hoarding, and its offspring, scarcity and tyranny, the embodiment of jealousy. It’s not about efficiency; it’s about focus. Everything else is autonomous.

Take a step back. Look at the empire. It breeds passive aggressive robots, controlled by passive aggressive authoritative gatekeeping robots, all with some form of gun and badge. Didn’t you love that empire infomercial, spanking causes mental illness? Crack me up.

It doesn’t get any easier than fear of the unknown, breeding fear of the unknown. O-o-o-o , I’m so afraid Iran is going to shut down the strait and start WWIII, NOT. I’m so afraid we are going to run out of oil, NOT. I’m so afraid there will not be enough food and shelter, NOT.

Kissinger is an idiot, in a circle jerk with all the other idiots directing China, and Silicon Valley is full of idiots designing tablets for the show. Put me in jail; give me an army to go with navy. Put a bullet in my head; save me the work.

Bitch and moan on your own time, on your own bridge, or take our technology for the purpose. You are welcome to it. By the time you figure it out, we will already have the next two bridges ready, for our children.

Vikings breed their opponents out of existence. If you pull out a bully and leave him to fend for himself, what happens? How do you cull out large populations of bullies? Why did we give them the Internet? Broadcast the true nature of false assumptions.

Equal rights, traveling salesman, prisoners dilemma, fusion/fission, holy grail, looking glass, and multiplexer are all the same thing, PANDORA”S BOX. Corporate opens it every time, with the unwitting assistance of purposefully misguided disparate youth, and labor closes it, timed to outcome.

Of course we can blow up all the robots. Stupidity on the part of corporate is no cause for an emergency on the part of labor. Have you noticed the evolving androgynous flux? You always have access to fathers and mothers, if you seek them, by being yourself, as God intended you to be.

Every time you lie, you lose sight of God, the unknown, with distance multiplied by wave propagation, the people it touches. You are born into an immersion of liars. If you blow off 10 minutes, you need to produce more widgets in less time, increasing pressure and decreasing volume, with anxiety. If you learned to increase system effectiveness in those 10 minutes, you created economic profit, due to downstream multiplier effects, from which earnings are retained.

Eastwood, like all other politicians, made the Pavlov switch on cue, for the empire, presenting GM as the solution to the solution, rather than the problem, faith in dependency from another autonomous pitchman in the middle.

Aggression has a purpose in nature. The best defense is a good offense. The best offense is a good defense. That’s football. Soccer is a chess match, with many boards. Why are goal tenders so important, and why do they give up a goal in the first half of a critical game?

This planet runs on automatic. Insert a plug, provide a return, and increase diversity of trade-offs in the middle. Wake the f- up. How hard is it to provide an appropriate return for nuclear power? How hard is it to distribute energy generation? Just breed as the black hole implodes, with sufficient acceleration to ignite it. Employ pre and post ignition as required for your development.

Dad is the anti-bully. To ensure that you will never fear a bully, with a negative feedback loop. When I went to California as a small child, from a farm in Ohio, I laughed at the school superintendents who hit me with a paddle, and had to play football on my knees against their “selected” bullies, to make game of it. The empire is left with passive aggressive bullies over time.

In our day, if you allowed anyone to step in your path to bully you, your siblings gave you a much worse beating, and your father beat you with a belt to what appeared to be inches of your life, when he got home. Look for your mild-mannered elders that become entirely different animals when presented with a bully, an ignorant obstacle, or look for a kid that never feels the need to intersect with bullies, who manages black holes.

Spanking does not cause mental illness; the social norm to fear it does, ensuring the outcome every time. Marriage is between external intelligent trial and internal error propagation. Learn to surf to learn. It’s not rocket science. Be yourself in a manner that benefits others, and nature will provide a surplus, if you are of its spirit.

Law, unlike science, is a discretionary false assumption of false assumption propagation, guiding robots into habit by rote. The more they accept, the more they get paid. It’s gravity. Travel in parallel, but not out of habit, and you will see the gates. When you build the bridge, you will see that you had choice and equal opportunity from the beginning, to follow or not.

False assumption conditionals:

Beauty is tall, thin, and blonde;
Men compete for women;
Men want dumb women;
Perpetual competition for scarcity is natural.

“You may only fail without empire, so lie and collect the associated habits to proliferate economic activity, so the empire will provide for you.” That is the voice in their head, filtering out God. Quit judging and move forward. Fix to the root and all else will provide for itself.

I work for my family, which is to your maximum advantage, but replicate fear if you want, and be afraid of its parent, the empire’s shadow puppet. As an addict, you are perfect to lead Celebrate Recovery. Just read History, and its master you will be. Empowering isn’t it?

The last person you want to follow is someone that wants to lead, paid by others, with TITLE. In August, all the talk of municipal pension reconciliation goes poof…Governments are constitutionally clueless, unless you give them a clue. You depend upon the unknown; take initiative. That is the imperative. “You can’t wake others, pretending to be asleep,” including China.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:13 | 2590588 Itch
Itch's picture

You mean the framus intersects with the ramistan approximately at the paternoster?

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 15:00 | 2592872 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

"Be yourself in a manner that benefits others, and nature will provide a surplus, if you are of its spirit."

excellent advice kev

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 19:56 | 2590560 Piranhanoia
Piranhanoia's picture

The author doesn't understand morality.  This destroys the premise.  When you shoot yourself in the foot before you start talking, are you looking for sympathy?

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:03 | 2590570 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.”

You pay for what you get...and when that is applied to something like healthcare, plenty of people will be seeing Dr. Nick because they have no other meaningful choice. 

Stop pretending the freedom to starve to death or perish from disease is a panacea. It's not. And a not-insignificant portion of the progress for which you laud capitalism came from government support of private enterprise, so stop fooling yourself into fantasizing about good old days that never were. And even if that were true, it would not excuse the exploitation of some that occurs so that others can be profligate.


Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:18 | 2590598 lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

on a separate note, but oddly somehow related.  'i'm loving it'.  the 'smile' in the announcers voice turned me off to tv as a child.  and this is related to the next article as 'barclays wins best .....'  if you own the media, you win the awards.

happy fourth of july.  hope you all enjoyed it.



Thu, 07/05/2012 - 20:32 | 2590620 LoneuhRanger
LoneuhRanger's picture

Last fall I pleaded with the canadian health authorities for the opportunity to see a head docktor.

They said I would have to wait 4 - 6 months and stop smoking pot / drinking wine in that time.

Nurse Krachet said someone would be checking to ensure I was clean and mean.

Turns out I wasn't as crazy as I thought. This system works!

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:03 | 2590661 lizzy36
lizzy36's picture

Another piece of crap post from this contributor

Choice - GMAFB. Choice is ALWAYS constrained by cost. That is life in a real capitalist system.

If 2008 taught us anything it is that people rarely act in a manner consistent with "improving their lot". Behavioral economics has pointed out the blantly obvious:people "irrationaly seek satisfaction" instead of "maximizing utility".

The Fraser Institute conducted the study quoted in the Vancoucer Sun. The Fraser Institute is a "just right of Dick Cheney" think tank.

Fully 80%- 90% of Canadians support a public healthcare system. Absolute NOBODY in this country wants a US style system. NOBODY. 

Lets talk about the doctors first, just the ones I know who rationally choose Canada over the US.

My uncle is an OB/GYN Did his medical degree and his residency at Stanford. Was offered many opportunties and shunned them all to come back and practice in Canada. He would not participate in a system where healthcare was rationed by who could pay for it. The amazing thing about my Uncle is always wanted to be a Doctor. He never thought is was a means to get rich but rather a means to a rich life. My gastroenterologist came from Mayo clinic. When he was forced to turn away the 20th person with bad Crohns disease because of a) lack of insurance or b)limits on insurance, he too was done with US healthcare. To say nothing of his malpractice premiums.

Second lets look at rationing. 

In the US healthcare is rationed by cost. Awesome for profit system. Meaning the bottom 50% usually don't have access to regular healthcare. The $8000 cost to have a baby becomes $50K, because the mother wasn't seen by a doctor until she showed up at the hospiatl in labor. The stage one breast cancer gets ignored and becomes stage 4, because the woman couldn't afford regular care, and never saw a doctor until the lump was so big it was impossible to ignore.

Lets not forget that great US system which up until the crash of 2008, was the leading cause of Bankruptcy. 

In Canada service is rationed by waiting time. So yes one may wait 4 weeks for an elective MRI (or we have MRI clinics which one can pay for and get screened w/i 24 hours - see we do have some CHOICE) OR if it is critical, say one has a lump and my GP (who will see me same day if one is really sick or when one notices the lump) is worried, then i can get an MRI within 24 hours.

I choose my GP, I choose my surgeon, my Gastroenterologist choose me. I have dismissed doctors from my hospital room, and on one occasion told an anesthetist that he either did it my way or he could wheel me back to my room and I would wait for another anesthetist. Seems to me I exercised common sense and "CHOICE". 

When my father had his heart attack, he drove himself to the hospital. He was in CCU within an hour. He was the cath lab the next day. Twenty four hours later he had 3 stents in one side, 48 hrs after that he had 2 stents in the other side. Total time in the hospital was 8 days. One week post discharge he was in his cardiac re-hab program. Now maybe he didn't have his choice of CCU, and maybe he didn't have his choice of cardiac surgeons but I am guessing the percentage of Americans that have both of these choices is around 20%.

When it came time to go to university the US was out for me as my PRE-EXISTING condition meant there was no price at which i could purchase health insurance. My choice was limited due to COST. Such is life.

Between yearly and life-time caps, deductibles, what is and isn't covered, access to doctors pre-determined by HMO, no coverage for pre-existing conditions, and the way Yank doctors are forced to practice CYA (cover your ass) medicine to satisfy "standard of care" demands to avoid malpractice lawsuits, I will take my Canadian lack of perceived choice any day.

Morality, in my world, means not telling a mother she has to choose between making this months rent or taking her child to the doctor for his ear infection. In my moral world a friend who is an employeed parapalegic is not denied medical insurance because of his pre-existing parapalegic condition. 

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:24 | 2590691 Arkadaba
Arkadaba's picture

++ Totally agree

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:25 | 2590694 spooz
spooz's picture

Many thanks for a comment I truly appreciate, from the trenches instead of the propaganda mill.

I envy you Canadians. Though your system may need some improvement in resource use, your citizens are protected from third world living conditions.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 22:39 | 2590816 msjimmied
msjimmied's picture

My sister had a stroke last year, she lives in Canada where she is a citizen,  and the US where she has residency and a home. She has health care through IBM where her husband is employed in the US. She opted to get all her health needs adminstered through her health care services in Canada. We were both taken care of through our childhood by the British NHS. Beats the HMO's by a mile. As a child, I remember not thinking twice about stopping at the clinic to get a boo boo taken care of before I got home. Too much trouble going home and then backtracking. The doctors knew who I was, I took a number and was on my way home within  half an hour. 

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 22:50 | 2590831 jimmyjames
jimmyjames's picture

Behavioral economics has pointed out the blantly obvious:people "irrationaly seek satisfaction" instead of "maximizing utility"


Damn fine rant and you're correct about peoples rationality in seeking satisfaction ie: debt slaved over easy credit-but this is only possible in a credit money system such as we have today-

With a hard backed money system-people have to deal every day with the stern discipline of gold and any system can work within it-very efficiently-


Fri, 07/06/2012 - 01:42 | 2590989 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Wow Lizzy lays down the law on Canadian health system, unfortunately that system is likely to be dismantled (at least to some extent) when it comes up for renewal at the hands of the Harper government. 

And JimmyJames "With a hard backed money system-people have to deal every day with the stern discipline of gold and any system can work within it-very efficiently"

Yes of course, gold backed currency will fix all problems. Except for one minor issue - production. Australia and China produce almost the same amount of gold per year (in your scenario gold = absolute wealth) yet China has a whole lot more people. So I guess all of a sudden Australians would be the overlords of Asia? 

In short order Canadians could own most of Europe and the UK. Peru and Russia could team up to buy the United States.

The IMF & central banks could team up to buy whatever is left. 

All economic output would be relative to gold production with gold itself being almost completely useless but suddenly more important than any other industry.

Clearly a gold-backed currency is bulletproof. 

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 14:15 | 2592726 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

thanks for taking the time to put up real life examples / experiences, lizzy36 - rather than theories based on prior prejudices. 

He would not participate in a system where healthcare was rationed by who could pay for it.

this line really stood out for me - the choice of words point out the inherent dysfunctions in the "for massive profit" system used by amrka, held in the tight grip of the pharma industry, fist in glove with the AMA secret society.

when in Britain, I used the NHS for a couple of minor injuries, and marveled at the human-ness, as opposed to "authority figures" dispensing "truths" like so many high priests that amrka suffers under.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:03 | 2590663 Never One Roach
Never One Roach's picture

HMOs destroyed high quality health care in the USA in the will only get worse every one of my doctors tell me.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:08 | 2590668 Henry Chinaski
Henry Chinaski's picture

BLUF (Bottom line up front): "Indeed, the lives of even the most impoverished in Western economies far surpasses that of kings centuries ago."

In other newz, Serena Williams is kicking butt at Wimbledon...

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:13 | 2590672 Bringin It
Bringin It's picture

Ludwig - I am all for freedom and I do agree with you about state power to extract wealth, but not what constitutes progressCheck your assumptions. But the large selection of goods that consumers are faced with today is an incredible betterment relative to the past thousand years of human existence. 

Life is not lived by laundry detergent alone.

I once personally heard about some guy who lives in a jungle.  That's right a jungle.  Surrounded by thousands plants, animals (mostly benighn insects like fire flies) and 'shrooms that you probably never heard of.  Frogs and birds sing all night and half the day.  You can swim in the waterfalls and soak in the hot springs.  The plants are medicinal.  Each one tones you up in a different way.  A Shaman among others, knows the ancient encyclopedia that hasn't quite died out yet.  Most on the outside are afraid to enter the jungle, so it is quite safe.

This guy's never even bought laundry detergent.  What a shame.  If only he knew what he was missing out on.  /snark

If people can learn to cooperate again.  Many things are possible.  We have to drop the climb-a-mountain-of-goods mantra as a way to happiness, IMO.  Life's not really like that.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 21:39 | 2590706 PulpCutter
PulpCutter's picture

If you've read the article, I have a question for you:  "You're a Canadian who's just been found to have cancer, or a heart condition, that requires immediate treatment.  How long do you have to wait for that treatment?"

Answer: You don't wait at all.  Treatment for anything even vaguely time-sensitive is immediate.  Don't believe me, ask a Canadian.  And also ask them is they'd trade their system for ours.

Miller is trying to create a scare story, by telling you half-truths.  Here's a whole truth: Millis is full of shit. 

Yes, Canadians don't like the 1984 law - their CLINICIANS would love to be able to bill more, for the same services, by providing them on the side.  American clincians make 2X what they can anywhere else in the world, mainly because the govt does not prevent them from configuring the system to squeeze all the cash they can out of it.  Canadians took control of the system, themselves, in 1984...and their clinicians would dearly like to wiggle out of it.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 22:59 | 2590841 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

I'm calling bs.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 23:08 | 2590848 headless blogger
headless blogger's picture

Some of the docs (here in the U.S.) will gladly soak clients more if they can, and we got a Doctor in town that told me he came to the US to practice because he can make more money, which is due to the Insurance System we have (I don't feel sorry for these guys). The only Orthodontist available in our area is the richest guy in our county. Also, Since massage is now covered by many Insurance policies, Massagers have increased their prices, so what used to cost a cash paying system $25 an hour is now at least $80, but most often much higher....The guy getting the massage still has to pay his $25 dollars out of pocket for co-pay, but someone with no insurance and little money no longer can afford it.

They're just trying to get Canada all caught up in the U.S. style system. Hopefully Canadians will stay on top of this, especially since it looks like the "idea" is being presented to them on a silver platter.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 22:10 | 2590767 msjimmied
msjimmied's picture

Choice? Have you ever been in an HMO health care plan? Listen to the opening song lyrics of  "Rawhide"... Most of the time, they are too busy dotting the i's and crossing the t's making sure their paperwork is straight, so hopefully they don't get sued. They are not listening. I tried for a while to find a personal doctor, but I don't get sick enough to afford me many chances. Laundry detergent? I make my own. I've messed with the recipe for months, and got it just right finally. pennies per load, and clean as a it smelling wondrous too. 2 whole canister of Downy's 'Unstoppables" will do it to a year's supply of laundry soap. I'm cutting everything down to the quick. It isn't just the money, learn the art of "from scratch", learn to cut out the marketing. I have cut loose from TV and the rest of the noise. I'm getting down to bare bones where nothing comes into the house unless it's solidly made and is needed. I have years of frou frou to work through.  It's a whole new way of thinking and living, might as well practice it now, so I am prepared for when the succotash hits the fan. The shiny is when I've run out of raw materials. I am not paying for processing. 

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 00:24 | 2590938 Seer
Seer's picture

That's the right attitude!

"nothing comes into the house unless it's solidly made and is needed."

I look at things like they will be the last that I'll ever be able to obtain.  I've always looked at quality over quantity: have fewer quality things rather than more crappy stuff.

Look for things that are productive.

People need to find the enjoyment in learning new things, as that helps draw one's mind away from how fucked things are really going to be.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 22:39 | 2590817 crawldaddy
crawldaddy's picture

US, Healthcare system highest in cost, 34 in quality. WHat WE HAVE DOESNT WORK.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 01:57 | 2591002 maxblockm
maxblockm's picture

I abosolutely agree that what we have doesn't work, but jumping into the fire from the frying pan is not the solution.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 22:42 | 2590823 mjk0259
mjk0259's picture

Psychological studies show that people are much happier when they only have to choose from a couple things than from dozens as they worry less that they made the wrong choice.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 22:51 | 2590832 headless blogger
headless blogger's picture

I guess the Insurance companies are eying Canada now? There are people in the U.S., approx 40 million, that don't have a choice at all. Stick that up your smart Mises ass.

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 23:18 | 2590861 Seer
Seer's picture

Imagine walking into a department store and it's NOT FUCKING THERE!


Should be The Misses Institute.  Sorry, I really do believe that your horse is more attractive, but it's STILL in the fucking glue factory!

"For all the condemnation it receives by those considered on the forefront of intellectual thought, capitalism is responsible for lifting mankind out of a dreary life of hand to mouth survival."

BULLSHIT!  It's fossil fuels that have done that.  Capitalism has been the most expedient tool for MINING our resources.  Growth through exhaustion.  Fucking morons...

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 02:28 | 2591016 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

US citizens are found of circular reasoning.

The economic success of US citizens has relied on the massive increase in the inputs to their society.

But from the beginning, US citizens have tried to cover this dimension.

They prefer to put forward a kind of exceptionalism: US citizens are exceptional by their culture and/or genetic make up.
This is why they have been so successful.

But as globalization is about to end, as the inputs are plateauing or even decreasing, cracks in their economic success appear.

So back to obscuration.

There must be a change in the US citizen culture and/or genetic make up because those are the key points for US citizen success.

Acknowledging the importance the increase of inputs has had to their economy exposes US citizen fallacies about their culture and genetic make up.

US citizens like the OP author will always be a success in US citizen audience as there is a demand by US citizens for tales dismissing the importance of the growth in inputs.

They want to hear it, they want to read it. US citizens'demand is on hearing that something has changed in their culture and/or genetic make up.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 02:55 | 2591032 GernB
GernB's picture

I think the US belief in exceptionalism is rooted in the power of freedom. Not that the US is a free country any more. The OP point is that freedom, through the capitalist system, harnesses one persons desire for a better life, channeling it into productive means that provide society with the things it's members want and need. Freedom is repugnant to all people who want to decide for others what they are entitled to.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 02:19 | 2591012 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Ah, a cherished by US citizens topic.
It is how funny how US citizens forget to mention that between the times of comparison, globalization has happened.

As a consequence, inputs to support US citizen economies come from the whole world while most Kings of the past had to rely on their territory only and were never able to loot the other territories as US citizens are able to.

Once again, we've got here another US citizen statement from the cultural school. The physical environment brings no limitation, the culture matters most.

The environment can not fail, only culture. It is US citizen song. Very funnily, US citizens dismissed globalization on this one.

They only focus their attention on members of the center. It is like assessing progress of standard of life by focusing on the court members. Which gives a similar conclusion.

From 1000 to 1776, court members standard rised as the Kings were able to bring more and more territory under their crown.

Out of the mechanical consequences of adding more inputs to an economy, US citizens weave a cloth to dress US citizenism.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 13:04 | 2592405 akak
akak's picture

Dear Comrade AnAnonymous,

The patriotic management of the People's Liberation Opium Parlour and Internet Cafe #145 regrets to inform you that your internet access is hereby terminated due to ongoing and frequent abuse.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 02:29 | 2591017 GernB
GernB's picture

Some posters act as if the profit motive is a bad thing. The profit motive is the motive for corporations to do what serves me. It is what puts me in charge. When you eliminate the profit motive you eliminate the consumer being in charge. Instead you have a system which rewards based on what you can get government to sell to the people. Government has a role, but just as with individuals, it should be there to ensure the profit motive is not a motive to do harm to others for personal gain.

When you take away the profit motive you are taking away the ability of people to control their own lives and subsittuting for it a selfish desire to determine what everyone else should be entitled to.


Fri, 07/06/2012 - 05:59 | 2591118 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

Your analysis is half baked.


You assume that the corporation needs your individual money (it doesn't - there are many other fools out there)


You also assume that the corporation is not going to grow off the back of 'good service' to achieve a monopoly where it no longer needs to care about providing a good service.


I mean I think Goldman are criminals - but there are many people willing to back them and their monopoly because they are chasing the 'profit motive'. Therefore it makes no difference what I think or where I move my money to - especially as some capitalists are 'worth' (in capitalist terms) 1 Billion of me.


I love your faith in 'the little man' - but this isn't a movie and it doesn't end well. You cannot affect the behaviour of a corporation as a consumer.


Hell - everyone in IT hates Microsoft for many technical reasons - but there are enough ill-infomed morons out there who keep the company in it's monopoly and ensure that consumers are 'tied in' forever.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 09:04 | 2591445 mjk0259
mjk0259's picture

Perfect competition leads to zero profits. To prosper, companies pretty much have to prevent that from happening which is the opposite of serving you. You serve them once they get control of the political levers like the banks have.

They also serve you by outsourcing  your job to India to increase profits.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 02:37 | 2591022 onebir
onebir's picture

"Businessmen force no one to purchase their wares less [sic] they play footsie with the political class for special privilege."
Erm, that "less" bit is why capitalism was able to come about, & we're not still ruled by kings & churches...

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 05:11 | 2591091 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

I used to liike Zh but recently you will let any old idiot write pieces on here.


"The pursuit of profit is what drives competition and expanded choice."


It's also what drives surplus value and diminishing profit margins and leads to the instability you see all around you.

Much as you try to blame government - the failures of capitalism existed and continue to exists regardless of Government interference.

The reason is obvious - clearly some people think 'choice' is theultimate freedom - when actually choice is irrelevant as it can never be a free one.


What matters is what is RIGHT and what is WRONG morally - like most free market goons you raise choie above morality and therefore can excuse your backward thinking and justify exploitation of other human beings.


Like most 'economists' you have NO IDEA of value - value is absolute and not subjective. Subjective value causes bubbles and crashes - and have done since markets began.


Really - the desperation of the free market cheerleaders to 'blame the Government' smacks of fascism where the most powerful private individuals will have free reign as protection from the Government will be gone.


...and don't assume you will be in the powerful set.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 05:33 | 2591102 Lebensphilosoph
Lebensphilosoph's picture

Oh dear. Oh dear. Where to begin?


Indeed, the lives of even the most impoverished in Western economies far surpasses that of kings centuries ago.

This pronouncement is, frankly, absurd. Even if we ignore the problem of what is meant by 'surpassing' lives, the opulence enjoyed by the monarchs of Europe's past, with their beautiful palaces, innumerable servants, courtesans and mistresses, fine clothing, feasts of rich food and drink, and indulgence in every sort of art, alone is enough to reveal this opinion as being the nonsense it is.


For all the condemnation it receives by those considered on the forefront of intellectual thought, capitalism is responsible for lifting mankind out of a dreary life of hand to mouth survival.

On what basis does he declare life to have been 'dreary' in times preceding 'capitalism' when man allegedly was living by 'hand to mouth survival'? Has this ignorant twit ever looked at, let alone considered, a single work of anthropology in his life on the lives of so-called 'primitives' to check if this assumption of 'dreariness' is warranted? Has he even opened a work of an historian on a time before 'capitalism', and if so, how could he possibly have arrived at the conclusion of 'hand to mouth survival'? Or are all his conclusions drawn from the absurdity of thinking that one can deduce a priori 'facts' about life, withotu even bothering to look at life as it is, as Misesians are known to do?


Economic freedom is ultimately to blame for the higher standard of living the West enjoys compared to the once Communist East.  Material prosperity is a phenomenon not brought to the world by governments but by entrepreneurial spirit.

Here is another Misesian sleight of hand. With the equivocation of 'standard of living' and 'material prosperity' he rigs his game of words to prove that whatever maximises 'wealth' is th ebest of 'moral goodness'. Life is not economics, its value has no price, and how one can quantify quality is a feat the psossibility of which boggles the mind and defies logic.


As long as people aren’t obstructed from pursuing their interests, they will act in a way to improve their own lot.

And here we find yet more bunk from the Misesians with their ridiculous assumptions of the 'rationality' and hedonism of man. Please tell me how it follow logically from pursuing ones interests that one 'improves' ones lot, or explain how a Mother Theresa, in pursuing her interests, was 'improving' her lot with her life of charity. Twat, twat, twat! The 'Austrian School' is philosophically bankrupt being based in an utterly false metaphysics and epistemology that no serious philosopher has taken seriously since the 18th century, not to mention a laughable psychology which is two centuries behind the times.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 05:51 | 2591115 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

I don't know which is more depressing - the fact that someone believes this crap enough to write it and put his name on it - or the fact I know many simpletons follow this 'ideal' without asking simple questions about it - which would uncover the scam and affront to humanity that it is.


The grandest disconnect is that 'value' in Economics terms is from the point of "man living in a bubble" (appropriate) - but a philosophers approach to value includes all the elements man requires to live well - including those you cannot put a price tag on.


I do love the idea that 'Capitalism has improved our lot' - when all it has actually done is driven greater demand for resources and material items - but actually the people of the world overall are more unhappy than they were in the past. To the point where the next generation will have to go without as capitalism has ensured that the world has focused on it's 'self' and not considered the next generation.


It's a joke - people are so adamant but with such little information or critical thinking applied.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 06:25 | 2591134 Lebensphilosoph
Lebensphilosoph's picture

I do love the idea that 'Capitalism has improved our lot' - when all it has actually done is driven greater demand for resources and material items - but actually the people of the world overall are more unhappy than they were in the past.

Divorce rates, escapism, abortions, addictive drug use, suicides, intra-social violence, pornographic excess, wanton sexual promiscuity, the rise of clinical psychology, the gluttony of masses of obese pigs, and the misery I see every morning on the faces of city-dwellers would all seem to indicate something like that to the observer who is not caught in the trappings of some progressive ideology.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 11:06 | 2591910 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

If you're miserable, you'll see misery EVERYWHERE.

If you're happy, you'll see happiness instead.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 05:58 | 2591117 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

As someone mentioned in a previous comment the author(and organization) this piece is written by is a corporatist using 'libertarian' literature as disguise to protect their own interests: PROFIT -- the telos of corporate capitalism.

I haven't any problems with the "Austrian School" nor with much of libertarian ideology but you have to distinguish between their ideas and the absolutely false way corporatists try to materialize them to further their causes.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 06:44 | 2591139 Bartanist
Bartanist's picture

I sometimes wonder how the world would work without insurance, interest and taxes...

... Most likely the biggest impact is that we would not have so many tall building and yatchs.

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