Why the State Shouldn’t Manage a Crisis
By Duncan Whitmore
Many libertarians, especially at lewrockwell.com, have written of their scepticism to the draconian responses of states around the world to the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is not difficult to share this scepticism given that at least some analyses – particularly of infections on cruise ships, which, given the unavoidably close social proximity, present the closest thing to a worst case scenario – suggest there is little cause for any heightened alarm. Indeed, for the very vast majority of us, there is probably more to be feared from state overreaction than there is from the virus itself. Even mainstream commentators, such as Matthew Parris in Saturday’s Times, are beginning to question the wisdom of trashing your economy to prevent the spread of an infection that is, at least at the moment, affecting only a relative minority of people of advanced age and/or with underlying health conditions (in common with many other inflictions). States always have ulterior motives when dealing with (apparent) crises as they always see them as an opportunity to expand the ambit of their power over the populace, given that a scared people is nearly always willing to sacrifice its liberty for the sake of security. In fact, if the true medical seriousness of this current virus turns out to be only a hill of beans then it may well have served as a dress rehearsal that has merely tested our pliability for some later calamity.
This essay, however, will not concern whether the spread of COVID-19 is quite the crisis it is being made out to be. Instead, let us assume, for argument’s sake, that the world was to be threatened by a very real and very serious pandemic threat. Would such a disaster warrant stronger, co-ordinated, globalised solutions managed by states and enhanced state powers to deal with the problem? Read more
Given the recent announcement of a new, long term plan for the NHS it seems like an opportune moment to revisit the topic of universal healthcare. The essay below is a new version of a previously published piece, with some sections revised and elaborated, while figures and references have been updated.
Universal Healthcare – an Economic Disaster
By Duncan Whitmore
“Universal healthcare” (that is, an alleged “right” to “healthcare” provided in some form by the state) is a mainstay of social democratic thought – so much so, in fact, that the UK’s NHS is taken as a given, with any kind of proposed healthcare reform couched in terms of improving “our” state-funded health service rather than ever considering whether it should exist in the first place.
However the consequences of universal healthcare are grave indeed, including spiralling costs and ever increasing numbers of sick – pretty much the effects of the welfare state in general. This is without even considering the ethics of forcibly confiscating the money of one person to benefit another, although this essay will focus on the economic aspects of what is, in effect, the socialisation of medicine. Read more
By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), or as I prefer to call them, the Institute for Fiscal Stupidity, have proposed a 10% rises in UK taxes to further feed the ravenous maw of the useless Black Hole otherwise known as the communist National Health Service (NHS).
What kinds of economics courses do IFS staffers go on, anyway?
Let’s suppose we live in a handsome fairy land, where the UK government steals another 10% of the entire economy, without that seriously degrading and undermining that economy. Do they really genuinely think that a socialist organisation like the NHS can take that money and spend it wisely?
Or will it all just get wasted, like most of the current mountain of money they currently consume? Let us imagine a further Snowflake La-La-Land where absolutely everyone in the NHS is a complete well-meaning angel, including its hundreds of thousands of handsomely paid bureaucrats, who really do want to improve the NHS rather than award themselves and their drug-company friends even higher amounts in salaries, pensions, and expenses.
From a possible future near you.
In the wake of the Coalition Government’s pledge to fine hospitals which persist in using mixed-sex wards, it’s emerged that the NHS has produced an unwritten 2-step plan in response:
1) Leave more people in the corridors – patients will be selected for this form of accommodation based on the gender of whichever patient is put in a ward first. Calls for the majority gender in the hospital to receive first dibs on the beds will be dismissed with the response that NHS staff are far too busy
meeting government performance targets treating patients to keep shuffling people in and out of wards on the basis of periodic recounts.
2) Refuse to admit patients for treatment, and refer them to a neighbouring hospital instead. This will head off attempts to invoke sex discrimination legislation to abolish step 1. A Government report will then recommend sex-segregated hospitals, which will be discussed ad nauseam while hospitals quietly get on and implement the idea wherever possible until the mixed-sex ward fine is abolished.
It has now been about 80 days sicne the coagulation took power if that’s what you could call it. 6th May to 25th July is about that, almost 80 days exactly. Usually yu do this sort of stuff in 100 days, but today’s headline in the DT, that NHS managers are drawing up a list of “services” to cut, just emphasises how this lot are not really any different from the last lot.
Instead of cutting services, why not let the “managers” fire themselves? More money would be saved and you could have MORE hip operations, not less. The sale of their BMWs alone – and rights to their parking spaces – would pay for probably a whole new hospital.
This whole episode just shows that whoever you vote for, the government always gets in. Under this current dispensation at any rate. Something will have to be done soon.
The death of the USA as a free and un-socialistically-encumbered nation will be announced in the next few decades. The rot sets in, although happily I suppose (as Enoch Powell once told some of us) “it takes quite some time.”
The Obamessiah’s healthcare “reforms” will soon, it is feared, take place.
You’d think they would look in horror across the Atlantic, to what has happened to us since 1948, and recoil. perhaps it adds evidence to my thesis that GramscoFabiaNazis like Obama do what they do on purpose.
Good thoughts by Paul Marks at Samizdata about how the Brown Terror is going to nationalise yet another aspect of functioning private institutions.