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Economists vs Average People

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    Economists vs Average People

    During a belated conversation about health care policy, a colleague remarked that “of course, nobody would want to live in a world where rich people and poor people got the same kind of health care”. The economists around the table all nodded in agreement and moved on to matters that were actually controversial...

    “Nobody would want to live in a world where rich people and poor people get the same quality health care.” Having written about economics in popular media for over fifteen years now, I can pretty much guarantee that if you say that in print, some reader is going to interpret it as “poor people don’t deserve the same quality health care as rich people do”. But of course the statement says nothing of the kind. It’s not about what anyone deserves; it’s about the kind of world we want to live in.

    Here’s what the economist means: The only way poor people can have the same kind of health care as rich people is if rich people (or at least non-poor people) pay for it. But if we’re going to spend that much money helping poor people, it’s wildly implausible that they’d want us to spend it all on health care. They’d probably prefer a bit less health care and a little more help buying groceries...


    Hearing Problems at Steven Landsburg | The Big Questions: Tackling the Problems of Philosophy with Ideas from Mathematics, Economics, and Physics

    #2
    "They’d probably prefer a bit less health care and a little more help buying groceries."

    That article reminds me of a cartoon that had very wide circulation just after the first US moon landing in 1969. I was ten years old when I saw it but, it impressed me. It showed a bone-skinny, sunken-eyed, sparsely clothed person in a parched landscape receiving an airdrop of a television from "Care" and on the television was a broadcast of the moon landing. Starving person in the cartoon rightfully had a perplexed look on his face. I wish someone could dredge up that cartoon. I'm sure it would be on the internet somewhere.
    "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

    "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." --Frederick Douglass

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