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December 24, 2009

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Doug

I can't speak for tea party folks, but you can't just "give up your medicare" if you choose. Though I'd really love to give up social security. It's a legalize ponzi scheme that would put Bernie Madoff on the piker list. But that's another story.

As for "how it's supposed to be," I stand by what I have said. Where government protects against competition (insurance companies) and restricts entry into new markets (mostly thru licensing laws), guarantees monopolies by way of granting patents, then you will not see businesses fail because competitors aren't free to serve consumers better. Where markets are relatively unhindered (i.e. computers, TVs, and mostly the entire electronics market), competition constantly drives prices down. This is simply a historical and observable fact. Imagine the reduction in costs we could have when the health industry (NOT just insurance) would actually have to compete with each other to provide the lowest possible cost to consumer-patients. It doesn't take a Marxist/Rothbardian/Keynesian theory to explain. Prices come down as goods and services become more prevalent, and as competition requires businesses to survive by offering the best services.

But as I said, many businesses are insulated from failure. My question for you is, would you not want and desire a profit motive to be based on satisfying consumers?

zero

i sure would but many companies make a ton of profit and do not do much to anything to satisfy customers. the two should be linked but are not in reality. the market isn't the answer to every delivery system that can be imagined. perhaps the absolute "free" market that keeps being pushed but that isn't in effect in this country, it never has been and it most likely never will be. too many with interest in keeping the system just as it is will continue to buy congress/presidency to keep the status quo.

Doug

How can a company make a profit without patrons who want such a product or service? A response saying that we as consumers HAVE to purchase their products simply proves my point about protectionism (insulation from competition). Big Business is not pro-capitalism.

Zero, I think one thing we can agree on is the corruption in government and in those who wield wealth by colluding with the government. It puzzles me why you still want to find a government-solution, though, when the "power" should not be concentrated but spread out to as many people as possible. To some extent, the free market is a democracy of sorts.

zero

when personal gain is the motive for anything i trust neither government or business. at some point, no matter how it's set up or begun, the personal gain factor will led many if not most to begin to act in such a way as to put the gain ahead of anything else and will get it by any means. corruption borne of greed. thus will end the goal of providing goods or services at a reasonable rate in a fair manner and all sorts of malfeasance will commence.

Doug

Zero, you didn't answer my question. If businesses aren't protected by government, how can they be profitable unless they are providing something to others that they want? And if they are doing it unscrupulously, why aren't other firms emerging to provide it in a better way?

As for corruption, we agree. But since government has guns and can tell us what to do, and businesses do not and must rely on service to get us to give them our money, I think I'm going to err on the side of NOT giving government too much power. "Holocausts" aren't caused by free markets but by centralized power in the hands of a few. The very opposite of such centralized power is a free market with everyone being and being treated equally. No favors. Shouldn't we seek such a system?

zero

but the point is they don't and they aren't. your theory is lovely but it's not reality. it would be great if we didn't need government to protect anyone or any entity and it would be even greater if people acted with the best interests of others at heart. chuck has explained this to you much better than me in more than one thread here. as for others emerging to provide a better way? some do and get beat out of business by the unscrupulous, bought out in hostile takeovers or sweetheart deals or become just like what they are competing against. just read recently that generic drug companies are being paid by the major "name" drug companies NOT to produce generic versions of their drugs when the patents run out so that there's no generic competition to the name brand. this is business practices we want to promote? that's competition?

fundamentalist

Zero: "i want medicare for all. there are aspects of living that should not be a part of private industry at all. this includes utilities, oil companies, etc."

Why stop with those? Why not give control of all of our life to the state? In other words, what rationale can you give for the state controlling those things and not everything? Let the state own everything and dole out the proceeds to each according to his need? That should usher in the kingdom of God. Wait! Someone has tried that and they didn't like it.

As for HMO's they're just a different type of insurance. They deny care only for procedures that you haven't paid for. If you don't ever want to be denied any type of care at all, an HMO or insurance company will sell you that coverage, but it will cost you a fortune. It's dishonest of consumers to choose an HMO because the premiums are low and then demand coverage that you didn't pay for.

The problem with health insurance is that it is not insurance at all. Insurance was intended to cover random events, that is events you can't plan for. But states began to legislate coverage for all kinds of planned events, such as pregnancies. And we spend millions of dollars on very old people to extend their lives a few months. But instead of paying for those ourselves, we want someone else to pay for them. Insurance has become nothing but a way to shift our expenses onto someone else.

In a more virtuous America, people saved in order to prepare for old age and ill health. Today, we demand that our neighbors pay it all while we spend all of our money on living the goods life.

As for denying coverage, we have a doctor on staff who makes those decisions and most of the time he denies coverage only for procedures that the science has proven ineffective.

fundamentalist

PS, if anyone thinks that the state won't deny coverage to individuals, you just don't know anything about European state run healthcare. They deny coverge all of the time. The state has only so much money to go around. They have already taxed the wealthy until they have nothing more to give and the middle class is paying most of the taxes. So state-run hospitals have no choice but to ration healthcare and that is the biggest complaint in Europe about healthcare.

No matter your ideology, you can't escape the fact that wealth is limited in the short run. People can't have unlimited healthcare with limited resources. God imposed the limits, not man. Only capitalism can increase the pool of wealth. Socialism does nothing but consume it until everyone is starving to death, as happened in the USSR and China.

zero

god imposed the limits? how do you figure?


there's a lot i could say about the response but it's all been said and it isn't heard.

Doug

Zero, your example about the generic drug companies is a problem created by the government thru guaranteed monopolies to the "Big Pharma" companies! It is NOT competition!

Doug

"God imposed the limits"... don't take that out of context. What fundamentalist likely meant was that scarcity is not something that was "created" by man, but something that is what it is. We don't have unlimited resources; not everybody can have everything he/she wants or needs simply because it ought to be given to him. You can't legislate abundance, no matter how well-intentioned you may be.

History is clear that free markets have lifted more people out of poverty in the quickest amount of time. It does not guarantee everyone will never be poor, that everyone will be taken care of equally, or that everyone will have the same outcomes. But even if you attribute some injustices (I don't, though) to capitalism, it is undeniable that most goods and services that were only for the wealthy 200 years ago are available to the poorest among us in the United States. Even the King of England had to urinate in a bowl and toss it out the window!

Doug

Zero, as for that not being "the way things are" and my thoughts being a nice little theory, that's not completely accurate. There are many markets that are relatively free, where businesses must compete for survival by serving consumers. Where this is generally untrue (and, as you pointed out, it is not always true) is where Big Business has come in and gotten in bed with the federal government, but that is by definition not a free market.

My question, though, is, shouldn't we seek a society where profit is achieved by serving one's neighbor by offering a good or service he/she wants?

evagrius

Seeking the "free market" is somewhat like seeking the Holy Grail.

Doug

"Seeking the "free market" is somewhat like seeking the Holy Grail."

That sounds like an attitude of defeat. Just because "peace on earth" or "social justice" or [name your ideal pursuit here] does not really exist does not mean we don't do everything in our power to achieve and bring about the ideals we seek after. Otherwise, we should just do what we can to get by, rather than make our lot in life (and that of others') better.

zero

what some on this blog are talking about, proposing, hoping for is a closer to christ way of living; not accepting the way of the world as it exists. this isn't about what theories say or don't say or what systems do or don't do, it's trying to propose a different way; the way christ wanted us to live. and our system, our society doesn't do that. never has and if it doesn't change, never will. what's limited is the willingness to treat others as well or better than self. that's the problem.

Doug

zero, i agree. we are all trying to make a better world according to the Way of Jesus. What we advocate may differ, but the goal is all the same.

zero

the goal might be the same but it can't happen under what you advocate. there has to be wholesale change in the systems, culture, society for to find a heart.

Roger McKinney

evagrius: "Seeking the "free market" is somewhat like seeking the Holy Grail."

Not at all. The Dutch Republic did it for 200 years as did England and the US until the 1930's.

zero: "what some on this blog are talking about, proposing, hoping for is a closer to christ way of living; not accepting the way of the world as it exists."

The creators of capitalism, the godly men and women of the Dutch Republic, were trying to do the same thing. But consider an analogy with medicine. The Bible tells us to pray for the sick and anoint them with oil. However, if someone has cancer, would you refuse chemo therapy and rely on nothing but prayer and anointing with oil? Of course not. You don't consider the Bible to be contain all the knowledge on medicine that is possible for anyone to know. You probably accept modern medicine as a gift from God.

In a similar way, the Bible does not tell us everything about helping the poor. Yes, it commands individuals to give of their property to help the poor, but should we stop with that and never consider under any circumstances the wealth of knowledge about alleviating poverty that economic science has discovered in the past 300 years? Of course not. Smith's "Wealth of Nations" can easily be read as a prescription for reducing (not eliminating) poverty in a nation. And history has proven that his method, free markets, is far more powerful than is charity.

evagrius

evagrius: "Seeking the "free market" is somewhat like seeking the Holy Grail."

"Not at all. The Dutch Republic did it for 200 years as did England and the US until the 1930's."

Thank you for making me chuckle.

They sought the Holy Grail in exploiting foreign populations and stealing their resources.

Why not admit that?

Do you really think the colonies were founded to provide salvation to the native populations?

You remind me of the poor knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the one who kept denying his injuries.

zero

Smith's "Wealth of Nations" can easily be read as a prescription for reducing (not eliminating) poverty in a nation.

why would just reducing poverty be acceptable? i've asked more than once why should anyone be poor? why? this isn't right.

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