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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Thoughts on the hacked climate change e-mail

One of the problems is that science has become politicized. Industries hire hacks (including scientists) to attack any science that does not meet their needs. Think of the Chamber of Commerce's recent call for economists to write a paper that will attack health care.

Under constant attack, scientists may feel the need to "play defense." Just like a football team that keeps its practices secret to prevent opponents from learning their plans, scientists may well become insular.

In this way, industry destroys good science, which should depend on sharing of information.


Comments

There is plenty of industry lobbying in the area of intellectual property - I don't think I have to tell you on which side. I cannot see how that could justify my hiding my data or suppressing studies that argue in favor of intellectual property. I am far less concerned about industry publishing studies - which are generally transparent propaganda - than with its buying politicians. I find this extremely frustrating. That may be a problem with environmental issues as well - but portions of the environmental movement have a very negative impact through exaggeration. Being under constant attack does not justify, explain, or otherwise rationalize scientific misconduct. The solution to the other side lying is not to respond with lies. Lies do not serve truth.

Environmentalism and IP are both socialist artifacts.
The Chamber of Commerce did not hire anyone to attack healthcare, whatever that means. This may come as a shock, but that organization is not against healthcare.

What they are against is government trying to socialize and control the contracting, delivery, pricing, etc. of healthcare. Sounds good to me. Do you want the organization that gave us Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention intellectual monopoly, controlling healthcare? No thanks.

The current US system underserves the poor and downtrodden and contributed to the financial crisis (as many people who had expensive illnesses defaulted on their home mortgages).

Canada has a system that seems to work reasonably well (despite the occasional nonsense you'll hear from right-wing nuts).

Keep in mind that universal health care is a public good, since some diseases are transmissible and since a population of ill people cannot provide products and services as well, so anybody receiving health care potentially has positive externalities, and anyone getting sick potentially has negative ones. Infectious disease, in particular, is like pollution in that if not dealt with in some manner it will spread to affect much of the population. Witness the new flu.

There are sound reasons for government to provide a health care safety net for an entire population. Not least of which being that the penalty for getting sick while middle class shouldn't be repossession of your home, nor is the death penalty appropriate for the heinous crime of getting sick while working class or poor.

You say "the current US system underserves the poor and downtrodden." You mean that Medicaid doesn't work? Shocking! And it didn't cause the financial downturn, which was made by the Fed, a monopoly money purveyor, and Congress, in the form of laws mandating mortgage lenders to lend to unqualified borrowers.

Here's a Canadian doctor on the Canadian healthcare system:

"What's Wrong With Canada's Healthcare System?"

We might also point out that Canada has precious little innovation in medicine.

I don't think that healthcare is a public good, but even if it were, then we should strive to marshall the skills of both medical professionals and their allied workers in reducing the outbreaks and transmission of diseases and confining them to as narrow a subset of the population as possible. That calls for economic action, not state action.

Government should no more provide healthcare than it should do anything else. The sooner we get rid of it, the better for our health.

@Bill Step: I can point to a million US doctors that say far worse is wrong with our system. I have lived in Canada and I assure you if you told Canadians (or any other first world nation) that you were going to "Free them from the tyranny of social medicine" they would throw things at you. If you don't want the government to intervene in what has become a real problem for the working class backbone of the US then, fine say that. I just wish you guys would stop saying look at Canada!! Because their system works for the most part... It's not perfect but it does work AND it works for everyone.

@Stephan Kinsella "Environmentalism and IP are both socialist artifacts"

Hua?? So is Evolution, The power grid and Space travel?!? IP is a farce, the environmental impact of our hockey mom society is a fact. I know, I know, you're going to argue that we have no evidence to support that global warming is a man made event, at least no evidence that you can't dispute. I see it like this - Our environment transcends our purely imaginary systems of government and their laws, from IP to homicide. There is no such thing as political philosophy that shields it's subjects from solar radiation. At least not that I'm aware of.

Richard:

I would LOVE to see you point to a million U.S. doctors who say far worse is wrong with our system.

(1) There are about 740,000 practicing doctors in the U.S., so achieving one million seems a stretch.

(2) Even if the number is less than one million, you assume that virtually all doctors will agree that the problems pointed to in the linked article, lengthy waits for healthcare, lack of access to specialists, indifference of the extensive monopoly system, losing clients to the open system south of the border, and lack of innovation are far less problems than the problems of the U.S. health care system. You will HAVE to provide a link to your contention. I struggle to believe you could get anywhere near 100% of all doctors to agree to anything, including a tee time or which luxury car they should drive.

Richard:

I would LOVE to see you point to a million U.S. doctors who say far worse is wrong with our system.

(1) There are about 740,000 practicing doctors in the U.S., so achieving one million seems a stretch.

(2) Even if the number is less than one million, you assume that virtually all doctors will agree that the problems pointed to in the linked article, lengthy waits for healthcare, lack of access to specialists, indifference of the extensive monopoly system, losing clients to the open system south of the border, and lack of innovation are far less problems than the problems of the U.S. health care system. You will HAVE to provide a link to your contention. I struggle to believe you could get anywhere near 100% of all doctors to agree to anything, including a tee time or which luxury car they should drive.

Hold on - are supporters of a blog named "Against Monopoly" proposing that the US government create a healthcare monopoly like Britain's NHS?
Richard: "I can point to a million US doctors that say far worse is wrong with our system."

This is irrelevant. Showing that something is wrong with our system does not justify the naked aggression and theft that you have to commit to set up a socialized medical system.

"Because their system works for the most part... It's not perfect but it does work AND it works for everyone."

How does this observation justify aggression? You do realize you have to use the force of the state--the threat of jail--to take taxes from people to pay for this, right? And to enforce the various medical system regulations. Why do you gullible liberals trust the evil, criminal state?

"@Stephan Kinsella "Environmentalism and IP are both socialist artifacts"

Hua?? So is Evolution, The power grid and Space travel?!?"

Evolution is (if true, as I think) a fact. It's not an artifact. Environmentalism is a policy movement, based on bad economic, bad politics, and bad science. IP is an unjust state policy.

"I know, I know, you're going to argue that we have no evidence to support that global warming is a man made event, at least no evidence that you can't dispute."

What I woudl say is this. Advocates of global warming are usually scientifically illiterate liberals or vested interests. We know they are either misanthropes or illiterate because they do not openly advocate nuclear power. If they were not scientifically illiterate and really believed in global warming and favored a clean environemnt they'd be pushing for nuclear power. That they don't says it all.

I don't trust for one second the state-biased AGW propagandists. They have much to gain from using this as an excuse to further socialize the economy and hamper industrialism, and to redistribute wealth to their friends. And even if there was a problem, to trust the criminal state--one of the biggest destroyers of the environment (imagine what the Iraq war alone has done!)--to protect us is insane.

Stephan Kinsella writes:

"How does this observation justify aggression? You do realize you have to use the force of the state--the threat of jail--to take taxes from people to pay for this, right? And to enforce the various medical system regulations. Why do you gullible liberals trust the evil, criminal state?"

I'm going to ignore the troll-o-meter's bleeping for the time being and treat this post as serious.

Stephan: how would poor people get health care in your ideal, anarchist world? Do you expect that underfunded, overworked charitable organizations would somehow manage to provide it for all and sundry? Or would you say "f&@! the poor" and expect them to die, after first of course spreading all kinds of transmissible, easily-preventable diseases. You do realize of course that this would make for a hygiene hazard in your cities. Then again, I suppose the poor would be segregated in ghettos while the rich lived in gated communities with armed guards that would shoot any of those plague-bearers on sight even coming anywhere near the place.

Of course, some pathogens are airborne, and large masses of discontented people have a way of organizing and eventually managing to overthrow the system. Or in this case, the lack of one.

"What I woudl say is this. Advocates of global warming are usually scientifically illiterate liberals or vested interests."

The last time I checked, those arguing AGAINST AGW are usually scientifically illiterate conservatives AND vested interests. Most seem to be beholden to oil companies, car manufacturers, or similar businesses.

"We know they are either misanthropes or illiterate because they do not openly advocate nuclear power. If they were not scientifically illiterate and really believed in global warming and favored a clean environemnt they'd be pushing for nuclear power. That they don't says it all."

That does not prove that AGW is not a real and growing threat. It just proves that politics is getting in the way of properly assessing it and, if necessary, dealing with it.

FWIW, plenty of people do advocate a mix of non-fossil-fuel energy sources that includes nuclear. They seem to get outshouted by the "no nukes" crowd, which clearly is nutty, but then all areas of politics have a nutty fringe at both extremes of the issue, and in this instance, the nutty fringe at the opposite extreme is the Pollyanna crowd that figures to burn as much oil and coal(!) as they darn well please and expects the sky to stay the same, crops to still grow in the same places, and their nice beachfront condo to remain above water.

Well, first of all, I'm not liberal nor am I conservative.. I'm my own man, quite independent. I think that the government in the US has become an Oligarchy complete with political dynasties and has failed to meet it's basic responsibilities while at the same time extending it's powers far beyond anything that was intended when it was established. I view healthcare as one of the responsibilities of the common welfare. Man I really hate the idea of anyone dying due to lack of access to health care. It REALLY pains me that our fellow citizens are routinely told that they have to suffer or even die simply because of their insurance or lack there of. Healthcare should be a basic service thats available to everyone as is the justice system. I can tell you that insurance companies have exactly zero compassion and scant ethics. They exist to serve their share holders not their clients. They are, for the most part in charge of dispensing health care as a united entity.. That is a broken system if ever there was one.

@Julian H "Hold on - are supporters of a blog named "Against Monopoly" proposing that the US government create a healthcare monopoly like Britain's NHS? " ------------------------------------------- Well, it's not exactly a monopoly. Supplemental insurance is common in Canada (I don't know about Brittan or the rest of the developed world) and high end procedures that are not covered by the national plan can be had. It's important to note that we have government monopolies for many of the critically important aspects of a modern society: schools, military, law enforcement etc.. This is a great point we have no problem spending 9 MILLION dollars on a single air to surface missile that will likely be discharged in practice or discarded upon expiration. However the idea of diverting even the most wasteful spending from the Military is met with cries of tyranny!? What we have now is a Monopoly it's an multi-player industry monopoly (an Omniopoly?) where the "options" are essentially the same. There is no incentive to lower margins, and every incentive to deny claims, especially when costs are as over inflated as an LA condo. Of course we all know that the US is subsidizing and 3rd world healthcare, not to mention the constant growth that these provider's board of trusties demands. I say it's time to end that, It's time to do what other nations have done and put a stop to 300 dollar aspirin. I don't have all the answers to these immensely complex issues, but I know when I'm getting robbed (the current healthcare bill is a good example of robbery.).

@Stephan Kinsella ------------------------------------------- Lack of Nuclear power plants is blatant evidence of political corruption. 3 Mile Island was the excuse that big, politically entrenched lobbies needed to move the country onto the path that led to where we are today (55% coal). There is NO REASON other than the coal lobby to ever build another coal burning power plant. (coal releases more radio active material than nuclear power BTW)

If we had invested 1 billion dollars in research to recycle nuclear waste, we could eliminate the only thing preventing NP from providing the worlds electricity until true, sustainable fusion is attained. Actually I think if you just offered up a 1 billion dollar x-prize to the first entity to reduce waste by 90% you would probably have a production ready solution within one decade. But we seem to have invested in tunnels for turtles, I uhh think the whole system is hopelessly broken.

Who hasn't asked themselves "why are we still burning things for energy?". The answer to that question is exactly what this blog is about.

Why replace fossil fuel polution with nuclear polution?

"The global technical potential of concentrating solar power amounts to almost 3,000,000 TWh/y, a number considerably larger than the present world electricity consumption of 18,000 TWh/y."

http://www.trec-uk.org.uk/reports/DNI-Atlas-SP-Berlin_20090915-04-Final.pdf

That's 166 times more electricity than we're using now. How many nuclear plants would it take to match that? There will be a lot to spare even if the many fossil fuel engines now in use were replaced by electricity powered engines, not to mention steam power generated by concentrated solar energy.

Of course the power industry is largely monopolized in most countries, and the areas with abundant and stable sunlight are mostly located in developing countries (lovely euphemism that!)...


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