Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Strangest Sentence I've Heard Today

A friend of mine from college told me the following over AIM:
i certainly don't think communism can work on any kind of national scale, but socialized assistance programs, like medicine, education, welfare, and social security, ensure that even the poorest people have access to liveable standard of care - of course, the state has to dedicate itself to making that standard liveable
What is communism on a national scale other than a systematic interference with everyone in a country? You have to admire an intellect that can be so inconsistent and not go crazy.


Jenna said...

Umm, what's so inconsistent about supporting a free market in every sector except, say, the one that makes sure people don't die unnecessarily (healthcare)?

I remember we discussed this a long time back, and I'm still not convinced that healthcare is an industry that can be viable in a free market though you tried your damnedest to persuade me otherwise.

The reason, of course, is that healthcare isn't a consumer good that leaves people with a choice. Supply and demand does not work here. "Pay for it or die" is NOT a choice. You can pretend it is, but it is not. It's like food; you can't refuse to eat. (Food, on the other hand, usually does alright in the free market system because there are ways to opt out. Not so with healthcare.)

I, personally, think that the idea of sectors that don't provide consumer choice being run by profit-making interests is inconsistent logic; you can't apply a system to an area where the basic principles of that system don't work.

Just because someone believes that one industry is no good in a laissez-faire framework doesn't mean the whole framework is bad, or that his/her view is inconsistent. It means they support government aid in one industry. That's all. Call it partial socialism if you like but some don't see it that way.

Jenna said...

This is - by the way - still not communism. Communism would be an accurate term if the state were interfering in all sectors of the economy. All of them. Planning the whole economy. Not just one; this isn't economy planning, it's governance.