Comments on: Robert Fogel and the economics of good health Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:47:54 +0000 hourly 1 By: yooper Mon, 17 Jun 2013 18:12:16 +0000 Irresponsible countries and governments sit on their hands as the world’s population continues to explode towards EIGHT BILLION humans!

Not only do they sit on their hands, some countries like Ireland, Poland, and the U.S., especially at the state level, actively restrict access to contraception and abortion while using a disproportionate share of the world’s resources. The economic model of infinite growth is not sustainable.

By: drdhesq Mon, 17 Jun 2013 17:45:30 +0000 Actually, our economy would benefit significantly by a resumption of cigaret smoking. Lung cancer kills quickly, thus avoiding many of the medical and personal care costs that we now have with old people.

By: jrpardinas Sun, 16 Jun 2013 17:19:28 +0000 Excellent article!

Thanks for the hyperlinked references.

By: PrintShopDollar Sun, 16 Jun 2013 09:50:11 +0000 Hmm, OneOfTheSheep, you may want to revise your frankly irresponsible views on economics by reading:

1) “Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt for the basics.

and then

2) “The Great Deformation” by David Stockman to know WHY things are foobared (but are bound to correct messily eventually). Hint: it is not due to “governments sitting on their hands”. Quite the contrary.

Furthermore, criticism for Mr. Wapshott can be had at: t-he-spelled-fogel-correctly/

By: lordbaltimore Sat, 15 Jun 2013 03:34:42 +0000 It is universal in Western Europe and a few zip codes in New York to assume that anything done by a bureaucrat must be good. Anything people do for themselves must be dangerous.

This is odd because, of course, European bureaucrats destroyed Western civilization in the 20th Century with a succession of totalitarian philosophies and the wars that went with them. None the less there area few trusting souls who will grant the government that can’t deliver a letter or manage its finances the responsibility not only cure disease but make everybody healthy. One hesitates to take these sentiments seriously enough to assume that they could be tested in the real world.

As far as I can tell the British love national healthcare because it compels everyone who can’t afford a ticket to the US to wait in very long lines for any serious medical treatment. While the system is sweetness and light on the outside, it is the classic English passive aggressive instinct that is gratified in the end.

Any careful reader of past columns by Nicholas and others will wonder why an American recovery must now wait until the public health improves. Is it really argued that America has had long-term unemployment and dismal economic growth because there is a mysterious plague which has caused everybody to call in sick since 2008? A careful reader will recall that we were told that our current American President and his enlightened policies had solved all these economic problems several stimulus packages ago. The problems, however, seem not to have gotten the memo.

The great attraction for government-run medicine in Europe and here is that politicians promise that they can use the power of the state to compel doctors nurses and scientists to provide care and new research and products to consumers at less cost than a free market would impose. In short, it is price fixing and extortion labeled as compassion.

What is the talent of one, good orthopedic surgeon worth? If it makes the difference between you being a paraplegic or not–perhaps more than the Department of Health and Human Services would write into its reimbursement regulations. But the government takes the average and rounds the numbers (usually) down until a political imperative is reached. Oddly, what it costs equals what we wish to spend–is this a great country?

I would grant, if anyone cared to ask, that a competitive market in healthcare and pharmaceuticals would expose heartbreaking inequities. Perhaps we could soften some of these inequities and ease some of that human suffering if our political class did not choose to deny that a government run system could possibly be improved. It is hard enough to fight disease. Who wants to fight city hall and an utterly complicit media?

By: OneOfTheSheep Fri, 14 Jun 2013 06:16:23 +0000 This nonsense might have been topical when Mr. Fogel was a teenager and the world was feeling it’s way from wartime economies into peacetime prosperity. Although WW II moved most of America off the farm into town, into the sixties, it was a “given” that more people meant more workers, and more workers meant more prosperity for all. For a short while there was VALID concern about the “population bomb”. Today we are living with our heads in the sand, in denial of reality.

Since the sixties and seventies positions of countless millions of American production workers, Clerks, Girls Friday, Secretaries, Executive Assistants, lower management, supervisors, draftspersons, project coordinators, railroad workers, etc. have disappeared as greater and greater efficiency has become possible through countless inexpensive computers and software.

All these “middle class positions” are not only gone, but gone FOREVER! Fewer and fewer people are needed to do what our society NEEDS done or produced.

Production jobs that are easy for humans to learn are today offshored to “emerging economies” or illegal aliens (think drywallers and roofers). Jobs that are more complex are today being “redefined” into simpler “dead end” tasks anyone warm and breathing that can read and do simple math can do 95-100% in two weeks by part time employees. No overtime, no benefits, no future when there more and more seeking fewer and fewer jobs. What are these people’s children going to do for a “living”?

Any increase in the minimum wage will accelerate the automation of more and more jobs. Computer guided automatons already build much of our cars, planes, computers, etc. Much of the “brain work” of design is now computer-assisted imagination.

Production will increasingly be structures with robotic capabilities in mind. Robots don’t need health care, get overtime, get sick, take vacations, have family expenses and related problems, expect raises, or consume finite natural resources at the rate an exploding human population does. The only problem is that robots don’t buy stuff either.

Irresponsible countries and governments sit on their hands as the world’s population continues to explode towards EIGHT BILLION humans! And yes, the greatest numbers of the youngest and most desperate will forever be those without land, clean water, sanitation, shelter, transportation, intelligence, money, skills, education, jobs or any reasonable prospect of any of these things.

From birth they have no useful place in their society, doomed to a meager, miserable existence until they die from starvation, disease, exposure or violence. And we are supposed to believe if it were possible to give everyone already born “housing, a generous social safety net, and universal health care”? Please.

The governments he most admired, Britain, France and much of Western Europe are even today on financial life support and these United States hang onto our present economic position in the world only by the “skin of our teeth”. Without today’s production efficiencies utterly dependent on oil and gas for electricity and crop production, three quarters of the world’s population could starve in less than a year. Food surpluses rot without distribution.

This is a scenario that causes the desperate to turn to “strong men”, and “strong men” to wars of survival or conquest. With Canada to our north and fish east and west, America can defend it’s southern border only if it develops the will to do so. I see no way this can end well.