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C & C: Coronavirus #4

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3 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

Isn't the bureaucracy in technically non-governmental organizations such as hospitals largely a result of government requirements?

I'm sure that's part of it, but I don't think we can say that bureaucracy is exclusively caused by government requirements. It's not as if removing government requirements would also eliminate excessive bureaucracy. Requirements might be something like accepting a form of insurance, or the way money must be allocated for beds. But I would bet there is a certain culture of bureaucracy embedded within hospital policy that exists apart from the government. I say that because of my own experience with hospitals, in terms of making appointments, multiple phone calls just to get a single test, things like that. I mean, as far as I understand, hospitals have developed alongside governments within healthcare in the US, so I'm not sure you could ever disentangle the way government and healthcare interacts. That's what I mean by a culture of bureaucracy - there are long lists of rules and hierarchies to get through because that seems to be what hospital administrators have learned.

5 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

People who are in a position to start new companies may be able to accomplish something.

I don't think that would be enough. Radical political change is necessary. But people also need to come to terms with the deep bureaucracy embedded within American industries. Corporate bureaucracy is a thing as well.

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30 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

but I don't think we can say that bureaucracy is exclusively caused by government requirements

Granted, but market forces push for "lean and mean" systems. Unnecessary (excessive) bureaucracy is not added because a business wants to make money. The excessive bureaucracy is either through bad management or governmental pressure. 

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52 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Granted, but market forces push for "lean and mean" systems.

Market forces don't push one way or another on their own. A bureaucracy exists because someone thinks it's better than not being there. Their goal is efficient bureaucracy, and like you, they would say that excessive bureaucracy is just caused by bad management. But the whole problem is bureaucracy in the first place. Sets of rules that a computer could follow, and divergence is unacceptable. Someone believes that it works better than the alternative of being hands-on and adaptive. Also, since a hospital is not completely driven by profit (why do you think they receive donations?), bureaucracy can be viewed as a way to keep things under control so that resources are not wasted.

Bureaucracy I think only exists insofar as the people who use bureaucracy in their administration are not competent or creative enough. They don't know any better.

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16 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Market forces don't push one way or another on their own.

Not sure why you don't see this. An environment of competition "pushes".

Free market forces push to bring down prices or to get more for the same dollar.

vs.

Governmental protectionist action push to increase prices and increase income for the ones it is protecting.

A bureaucracy is basically size of management. Some management size is optimum. Excessive bureaucracy, is too much or unnecessary management. By definition this is dead weight. It should not exist at all.

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23 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Free market forces push to bring down prices or to get more for the same dollar.

No, not if there aren't any people who know how to do this while also using money efficiently. But in a way, bureaucracy is the name of the game in America. Not only that, but America manages to have so much bureaucracy in healthcare, and without socialized medicine.

I think there are cutting edge pharmaceutical companies based in the US, and the US is pretty innovative when it comes to treatments and creating new treatments. But hospitals? They are a mess.

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13 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Not only that, but America manages to have so much bureaucracy in healthcare, and without socialized medicine.

What about Medicare and Medicaid? What degree of encroachment is needed to cross the threshold from non-socialized medicine to socialized? Or is this, perhaps, a case of separating the healthcare industry from the insurance side of the healthcare industry?

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I guess I would just say it's not as socialized as the ones in Europe. You might be right though, that the insurance side of things should be considered something different than healthcare per se. If anything, if we split the two up, socialized insurance is much worse than socialized medicine.

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Healthcare and health insurance are not uniform in Europe. 

Switzerland doesn't have a Medicare-like system. Health insurance is not tied to employers. The government subsidies its purchase, but people buy their own health insurance. Italy and Spain are highly socialized.

Switzerland's per capita spending on healthcare is much higher than Italy's and Spain's. Switzerland is #2 in the world, USA being #1.

Switzerland is doing much better than Italy and Spain against the coronavirus. The latest stats show Switzerland's cases/population is about 110% of Italy's and about 90% of Spain's. Italy's death/cases is 4.5 times and Spain's 3.4 times Switzerland's. 

France and the UK seem somewhat less socialized than Italy and Spain. France and UK death rates are less than Italy and Spain, but much higher than Switzerland. Ironically, WHO ranks France #1, Italy #2, Spain #7, and Switzerland #20 in healthcare (UK #18). 

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On 3/30/2020 at 6:09 PM, Boydstun said:

For Autocrats, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power 

Selam Gebrekidan in NYT 3/30/20

“Leaders around the world have passed emergency decrees and legislation expanding their reach during the pandemic. Will they ever relinquish them?

“In Hungary, the prime minister can now rule by decree. In Britain, ministers have what a critic called ‘eye-watering’ power to detain people and close borders. Israel’s prime minister has shut down courts and begun an intrusive surveillance of citizens. Chile has sent the military to public squares once occupied by protesters. Bolivia has postponed elections.

. . .

“Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha of Thailand has assumed the authority to impose curfews and censor the news media. Journalists there have been sued and intimidated for criticizing the government’s  response to the outbreak.

. . .

The measures taken by Israel are quite draconian. How necessary for a dense population in a small area, clearly the cause of the fear, isn't certain. But the nation isn't any autocracy (like a few that it has been lumped with by the writer), It's Knesset demonstrates a (chaotic, many would say) solid democracy with all peoples represented and a free Press. If one knows the general Israeli character, one could be certain there would be a huge public outcry if these emergency precautions were extended just a month or two past the worst of the pandemic. 

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On 3/31/2020 at 5:02 PM, Eiuol said:

 

I'm talking about taking an opportunity to do something. A time has come along to make a radical change. People should take that opportunity. It sounds to me like you are afraid somebody else wants to make good out of an otherwise bad situation, while you don't have a plan to do anything at all different than usual. 

You are missing what is so apparent. The underlying ethics ("of emergency") is being pushed to the hilt by an alarmist media. The overwhelming 'narrative' I read and hear, from all corners and many individuals, is one of altruism-collectivism-egalitarianism. Because, for one reason given, "we" will need a "better" world "afterwards". We are all "equal" now, and must remain so. One would have to blind not to see that the Left discovered its premise, power base and raison d'etre based largely on the narrative of victims and oppressors. With "victims" running short - in a booming economy, falling unemployment and so on - they have had to find others, just to survive. And therefore played the race card, the migrant card and many other divisive victim "cards".

The success and freedom of increasing individualism and capitalism is too self-evident. Their biggest foes can't argue with that. Therefore, the ethics of emergency and (temporarily necessary) state emergency powers HAVE to be furthered beyond the crisis. These new "victims" fortuitously produced by the coronavirus have provided all the timely justification for sacrificial and self-sacrificial measures - and ethics and political power - to be embedded in much of the people's minds, well into the future. There's little good for individualists facing the rising tide, now and in the near future, and the purported defenders of capitalism, big business, have already bought into those sacrificial ethics and absconded.

You show me how 'to make good out of an otherwise bad situation" in politics and economy. And: "People should take that opportunity". Which people and why? - a majority are indeed taking the opportunity to press for change:

in the opposite direction to which you imply.

A recent corona meme: "Capitalism did this, so it must be controlled" (never completely overturned, you notice - the far left knows on which side its bread is buttered).

For the record, this virus will lose its grip, due to the best of men's and women's minds/dedication, but the virus called the sacrificial morality will not.

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50 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

You show me how 'to make good out of an otherwise bad situation" in politics and economy.

I don't believe that you really can't think of anything.

52 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

There's little good for individualists facing the rising tide, now and in the near future, and the purported defenders of capitalism, big business, have already bought into those sacrificial ethics and absconded.

Radical change that you don't want is indeed scary if you have nothing to fight back with. You've given in as well if "temporarily necessary" state power is all you can do to respond.

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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I don't believe that you really can't think of anything.

Radical change that you don't want is indeed scary if you have nothing to fight back with. You've given in as well if "temporarily necessary" state power is all you can do to respond.

You keep tossing up "radical" as if the individual, individualism (and accompanying laissez-faire, individual rights) isn't as *radical* as it gets. Defined - "of the roots", I can't get more radical than "radical".

Whatever changes possible to the economic-political arena in the direction of radicalism is for the majority to choose, and they I can't force. By nearly all accounts, exacerbated by the pandemic and the extravagant media attention given it, the majority is choosing badly and irrationally.

As Objectivist, here is what I "fight back with". Radicalism.

By definition "radical socialism" is a contradiction in terms. (One could rather call that "extreme" socialism).

Since socialism depends on the pre-existence of capitalism, like collectivism relies on individualism, i.e. the stolen-concept fallacy. (And as "theft" depends on "property".)

I fail to see why there's a problem: the government, especially one at its most limited, has the obligation to protect individual rights - in the case of national emergency, inclusively. Of course the extraordinary powers should be tightly delimited and temporary.

But first has to questioned -  is this pandemic -actually- a case of national emergency?

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4 hours ago, whYNOT said:

the government, especially one at its most limited, has the obligation to protect individual rights - in the case of national emergency, inclusively.

Diseases don't violate rights, so protecting individual rights by means of objective law doesn't have to do with protection from diseases. You could say that a person with a deadly disease can initiate force, and you could lawfully do things to that person, but that doesn't have to do with broader methods of disease control. Emergency powers therefore create the groundwork and basis for expanding state power even further in areas that they don't belong. Keep in mind I mentioned radical change, not radical beliefs.

The fault here is in the people who believe that such emergency measures are absolutely necessary. That is, granting some erosion of rights - and acting as if that erosion isn't happening by saying these emergency measures across many countries are perfectly good - will cause the very thing you don't want to happen. "Some people want to build on what's happening, how dare they!" Is like denying that you are actively helping them achieve specific political objectives. All you need to do is offer an alternative, and hopefully speak out the more and more measures are implemented.

Better to push back now when it's a bit more manageable. But like the article pointed out, now is a great opportunity to highlight and emphasize specific political goals.

 

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2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Diseases don't violate rights,

An infected person that can transmit, can violate rights.

2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

but that doesn't have to do with broader methods of disease control.

When you explore options of "disease control" some can violate rights.

2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Emergency powers therefore create the groundwork and basis for expanding state power even further in areas that they don't belong.

They can. But the term "emergency powers" implied powers that are different than "normal powers". Emergency is the new normal. Just a matter of degrees now.

The little socialism, soon to be "the 70 percent" socialism, is always founded on dealing with "the emergency de jour".

We already were using "emergency powers", even before the emergency. The meaning is lost. "Emergency powers" means "more emergency powers". There is no emergency vs. non-emergency anymore.

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12 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Diseases don't violate rights, so protecting individual rights by means of objective law doesn't have to do with protection from diseases. You could say that a person with a deadly disease can initiate force, and you could lawfully do things to that person, but that doesn't have to do with broader methods of disease control. Emergency powers therefore create the groundwork and basis for expanding state power even further in areas that they don't belong. Keep in mind I mentioned radical change, not radical beliefs.

The fault here is in the people who believe that such emergency measures are absolutely necessary. That is, granting some erosion of rights - and acting as if that erosion isn't happening by saying these emergency measures across many countries are perfectly good - will cause the very thing you don't want to happen. "Some people want to build on what's happening, how dare they!" Is like denying that you are actively helping them achieve specific political objectives. All you need to do is offer an alternative, and hopefully speak out the more and more measures are implemented.

Better to push back now when it's a bit more manageable. But like the article pointed out, now is a great opportunity to highlight and emphasize specific political goals.

 

I think we should go back to basics: the individual right to life - therefore - right to freedom of action.

1. Government - the protector of rights - can itself be the violator.

2. Fellow citizens, who can and often do violate one's freedom of action.

3. Foreign invaders (aliens...)

4. Natural disaster.

4). could be - widespread drought and other extreme weather conditions - causing say the whole East Coast to be flooded - and any series of natural calamities, known as "acts of God".. It is inarguable that the government and all its resources comes to the aid of millions of people whose very lives are being lost and threatened.

I think the basic principle, being, not "initiation of force" -- which doesn't apply to natural phenomena - but "protection of lives".

Following, during this natural disaster, 2) and 1) might be and often are applicable: government can overstep its bounds of limited emergency powers, and violate rights; other civilians could violate one's rights with initiation of force (looters, arsonists, rioters, etc.) and if sustained then martial law would need to be implemented.

What we've got with the pandemic is governments scrambling to save lives and/or reduce deaths. Since they have social pressures, general panic - and critical economic considerations, with most experts making dire predictions, and others suggesting other courses of action, they are understandably floundering: adjustments on the fly, between over-reaction or under-reaction with the former hugely predominant.

How we can totally "defeat" a virus beats me, it can be contained, humans build up resistance, eventually vaccinated against, and so on - but it does not simply disappear, then another one crops up. 

( I read that the "Hong Kong Flu" H3N2 of 1968 which was responsible for about a million deaths - 100,000 in the US -  "still kills 12000 to 60 thousand people annually".

The "bite the bullet option", I think of it, seems rational**, on a human hierarchy of values. At which point does man's life, freedom of action, which is non-negotiable, begin to matter more than "lives"? The present and uncontested course of global response prioritizes lives over "life", bringing on untold miseries and sacrifices to billions of people right now, and which will severely hamper their future survival/flourishing, possibly continuing into the next generation. Among all the understandable uncertainty, this is a certainty.

I went off-point. My opinion all in all, this pandemic should not have been turned into a national and global disaster, that permits our governments emergency powers..

**(That article by Dr Joshua Leichtberg I linked is brilliant for its objectivity. Here:

%2Fmerionwest.com%2F2020%2F03%2F24%2Fbalance-is-needed-in-the-fight-against-the-coronavirus%2F

 

 

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Keeping perspective. Maintaining the sense of proportion:

https://www.news4jax.com/health/2020/03/29/100000-us-deaths-from-covid-19-how-does-that-compare-to-sars-swine-flu-and-other-pandemics/

Quote: "It takes 12000 to 61000 lives annually". (STILL).

That was H3N2 (1968) that killed in a short period one million worldwide-- and has killed -at very least - 600, 000 since.

(50 years x 12000). With a top figure, 3 million. And counting annually.

Who has made a fuss about this annual and ongoing loss of life, how many people even know?

Compare: 48,289 deaths from coronavirus, yesterday's number (and climbing, that's true) -- and is only roughly equal to the deaths which an "old" and forgotten virus takes every year.

How come the world has lost its collective head over this pandemic?!

How quickly people forget the past.

 

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2 hours ago, whYNOT said:

I think the basic principle, being, not "initiation of force" -- which doesn't apply to natural phenomena - but "protection of lives".

"The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence."

Galt’s Speech,
For the New Intellectual, 183

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On 3/28/2020 at 8:43 AM, Boydstun said:

One thing that has struck me about the social impact of this outbreak is how much the character of the social response is altered by the advance in communications technology. In 1957-58 there was the pandemic of the H2N2 virus. I was only nine and didn’t retain much memory of it. According to the CDC note linked below, it killed about 116,000 people in the USA. That is twice the number of Americans killed in Vietnam. The population of the US in 1957 was about 172 million, whereas today it’s about 330 million. So percentage-wise, it would today be as if about 200,000 Americans were killed. I attach also a study I found on the US response to that pandemic.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1957-1958-pandemic.html

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/bsp.2009.0729

Tony, I wanted to make sure that you saw the second link in this quoted post. The US response to the 1957-58 outbreak, the stats, and the economic impact is interesting to compare with what is being done now here.

Here is what one needs for self-defense against Covid 19.

I'm pleased to see your exchange with E has come to the larger question, also, of evaluation of government policy in terms of the proper functions of government. I do think it is proper that government be engaged in tort actions, not only criminal and contract actions. That would mean engagement in protection of people against accidental harms from other people in the government's region of jurisdiction. So I'd start from there and then on to specific methods of providing this interpersonal protection by proper government in the current virus contagion.

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

"The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence."

Galt’s Speech,
For the New Intellectual, 183

We are not there, yet. One must hold context.

In that purely individual rights future, it can be easily envisaged that large-scale natural disasters will be rapidly responded to by private associations/organizations, a long way off. Only (mostly) governments now, have that sort of organized capability.

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2 hours ago, whYNOT said:

We are not there, yet. One must hold context.

You were talking about rights, and going "back to basics". But if you agree that natural disaster is not the domain of government power, you are promoting the use of illegitimate powers beyond what exists already. This is what I'm trying to point out: anyone who promotes the use of state measures to enforce "protection from diseases" (as opposed to individuals who pose imminent threat of initiating force) is willingly allowing their rights to be eroded. Statists would argue that times like this would show that the state should intervene for most kinds of emergencies for any person, and protect people from falling into that emergency. 

2 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Only (mostly) governments now, have that sort of organized capability.

This is false. What I mean by radical change is finding the people with that organize capacity. Elon Musk has enough money and organizational capability to do it, and will even be producing ventilators. In fact, any billionaire can do it. To act as if only governments can do anything today is to ultimately grant that free enterprise is unable to deal with things that are needed to survive (food, shelter, medicine). If businesses mostly don't have that organizational capacity today, even the multibillion-dollar ones, then they probably will never have it.

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4 hours ago, Eiuol said:

You were talking about rights, and going "back to basics". But if you agree that natural disaster is not the domain of government power, you are promoting the use of illegitimate powers beyond what exists already. This is what I'm trying to point out: anyone who promotes the use of state measures to enforce "protection from diseases" (as opposed to individuals who pose imminent threat of initiating force) is willingly allowing their rights to be eroded. Statists would argue that times like this would show that the state should intervene for most kinds of emergencies for any person, and protect people from falling into that emergency. 

 

Specifically, the natural disaster I mentioned is widespread flooding, right now, when saving lives is top priority. Who has the scores of rescue helicopters, boats, etc. and trained personnel to respond immediately? Musk? That he and Gates could do so doesn't mean they would do so.

I believe THIS "coronavirus crisis" does not justify emergency powers by the governments.

 

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5 hours ago, Eiuol said:

 

This is false. What I mean by radical change is finding the people with that organize capacity. Elon Musk has enough money and organizational capability to do it, and will even be producing ventilators. In fact, any billionaire can do it. To act as if only governments can do anything today is to ultimately grant that free enterprise is unable to deal with things that are needed to survive (food, shelter, medicine). If businesses mostly don't have that organizational capacity today, even the multibillion-dollar ones, then they probably will never have it.

The "organize capacity" isn't hard to find in the business world. You want to make a "radical change" by wealthy individuals here and there who prove the efficacy of free enterprise with their actions. Fair enough, as a part of the enterprise of change. I'd like to see them. But their effort will be a drop in the ocean if the fundamental ideas have not caught hold in a populace. For many people, it will be: Oh, they're rich, they can afford it, anyway I/we "are entitled". My frank opinion, many of those billionaires aren't capitalists, they are mixed-economy pragmatists, so would hardly idealistically and energetically promote laissez-faire and self-interest. That would rock their comfortable boats. 

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22 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

I believe THIS "coronavirus crisis" does not justify emergency powers by the governments.

I really don't follow any more what your position is.

22 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

That he and Gates could do so doesn't mean they would do so.

That's all that matters. If there were no billionaires in the world, then you might have a point you could argue. But there are. And if they decline to do it, that's just too bad. 

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19 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I really don't follow any more what your position is.

That's all that matters. If there were no billionaires in the world, then you might have a point you could argue. But there are. And if they decline to do it, that's just too bad. 

Philanthropy by those billionaires is fine. Some, voluntarily turning their factories to temporarily producing much-needed emergency equipment, ditto.

However, since life isn't an emergency, the wealthy advocate of capitalism who sets up and maintains a hellishly costly emergency disaster operation will rightly ask: What's in it for me? I am not a charity worker ..

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