We all like the idea of society just taking care of us because it sounds good like the products Billy Mays used to sell. Life can be scary — heck, it’s always scary to know at the end we die and probably go nowhere — and sometimes it sounds good to have them take care of us just for being alive, like a member of a family.
But the problem is that this is applied not just to us, but to everyone, and I think very few people know what that means because almost every person is selective in their friends. None of us know “everyone.” Some of us have more of an inkling than others thanks to travels and spending time in the not-so-great parts of our cities.
The first problem with “taking care of everyone” is that many people are, basically, still monkeys (do not think you can correlate this to race). They act on impulse, act always for their desires for pleasure, are irresponsible, and then when things go wrong, expect others to take care of it for them. They have developed limited self-consciousness such that all they know is their own wants, and they are oblivious to consequences. (Plato calls such people “drones” and is probably accurate.)
Since these people have an infinite capacity to absorb any resources society offers, regulation is needed. Do we want more bureaucracy? Well, that’s the option… unless we use a nature-simulacra like economics. Although Social Darwinism, or the idea that the best rise financially as they once did in the woods, seems to mostly work, there’s an even more important factor in economics: limiting people’s demands on the whole.
Polls show most Canadians like their free health care, but most people aren’t sick when the poll-taker calls. Canadian doctors told us the system is cracking. One complained that he can’t get heart-attack victims into the ICU.
In America, people wait in emergency rooms, too, but it’s much worse in Canada. If you’re sick enough to be admitted, the average wait is 23 hours.
“We can’t send these patients to other hospitals. Dr. Eric Letovsky told us. “Every other emergency department in the country is just as packed as we are.”
More than a million and a half Canadians say they can’t find a family doctor. Some towns hold lotteries to determine who gets a doctor. In Norwood, Ontario, 20/20 videotaped a town clerk pulling the names of the lucky winners out of a lottery box. The losers must wait to see a doctor.
Shirley Healy, like many sick Canadians, came to America for surgery. Her doctor in British Columbia told her she had only a few weeks to live because a blocked artery kept her from digesting food. Yet Canadian officials called her surgery “elective.”
Canada’s health care system remains affordable because they have bureaucratic control. The bureaucrats look at the budget, deduct the amount required to hire more bureaucrats, and then figure out how many doctors and nurses they can employ. If more are needed, well, that’s something to take up with the prime minister for the next budget cycle.
However, for the end user, there’s a problem: the budget does not provide for enough doctors because it’s a form of top-down control. Guess how many you need, then readjust as needed. The advantage of a capitalist system here is that financial incentive provides an automatic stream of doctors.
It will be more wasteful; however, thanks to the competition involved, it makes being a doctor a positive goal and so ensures that it works. It’s not much different that sexual reproduction in which the incentive overcomes the obligation, and so people have been having little ones since the dawn of time.
Now let’s look at another problem of the crowd:
More than 800 animal and plant species have gone extinct in the past five centuries with nearly 17,000 now threatened with extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature reported on Thursday.
A detailed analysis of these numbers indicates the international community will fail to meet its 2010 goal of bolstering biodiversity — maintaining a variety of life forms — a commitment made by most governments in 2002.
Just how if you set up free hospitals, everyone shows up and drains your resources, if you let people expand and set up new communities just because they want to, soon they’ll cover the earth. The main killer of species is that we’ve taken the land they need to hunt, frolic, mate, nest, etc. They can’t just buy a condo like we would. They need large, unbroken spaces.
But we have a problem: we’ve made every space on earth for sale, because some government or person owns it and can sell it, with the exception of a relatively small area of national parks. And we keep growing, and no one can stop the train, because if you pull that stop lever — well, let’s just say that unlimited reproduction is very popular with the voters for the same reason free health care is very popular with voters.
Individuals think only of themselves and their own desires, not the consequences. So we see two areas where capitalism is applied, one of which making it a hero, and the other making it an evil. The lesson to be learned is that the problem is the preferences of our voters, not our political and economic systems, because voters pick wrongly in both cases. We need competition, definitely; we also need some way of limiting ourselves before we overload the earth with our numbers.