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Free Markets Aren't
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Current
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« Reply #75 on: March 20, 2009, 11:47:33 EDT »

If prison officers can't be fired then why should they do a good job?

There are other ways of providing adequate motivation, like being "overlooked" repeatedly for a promotion,
Perhaps.  In my view though that most people don't give a fig about promotion.

Do you really think that an efficient organization can ever be constructed using employees that cannot be fired?

or assignment to a boring job.
Government employees, like most other sorts of employees, can only do what their job description describes.  To give them another job is constructive dismissal and therefore illegal.

Apart from that though, if prison officers like a little interest in their life surely they would be happier with their prison moderately full?

The idea behind not being able to fire most government officials is that a new government can't replace all of them with their cronies as soon as they take over, which is a fairly sensible idea.
Even if that's true it hardly applies to low level employees though does it?

A politician, such as the Secretary for Education, should not be able to fire a civil servant, such as the Permanent Secretary for Education - at least not at with some process.  That doesn't mean though that the headmaster of a school should be unable to fire a teacher at that school.

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I wouldn't trust the government with the job either really.

You'll have to trust someone with it
Trusting any particular individual or group is always unwise.

or go back free-for-all quackery (we've already been there, and it's not pretty). Which body would you find trustworthy for the job?
What is needed is competition in the field.  A single monopoly organization like the AMA will run things for the benefit of their members, which is what they do.  A monopoly government organization will run things for the governments interest at the time.  As I said, look at what has happened to university degrees.  Government ran admissions and wanted everyone to get a degree.  The result is load of meaningless and worthless degrees.

I think the solution is to permit multiple professional bodies.  Many professions already have several professional bodies.  Electronic engineers such as myself have the IEEE and the IEE.

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What happens if a technology is invented to make a certain operation cheaper?  What happens if a technology is invented that makes an operation more expensive but more successful?

The price list does get updated once in a while to reflect this. As a temporary measure, new treatments can be "mapped" to older items on the list until the update happens. The list also contains items the reflect usual "optional" parts of treatments (like different materials for tooth fillings, etc).
But who sets the price?  And on what basis.  That is the problem.
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Ihlosi
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« Reply #76 on: March 20, 2009, 12:08:15 EDT »

Perhaps.  In my view though that most people don't give a fig about promotion.

The promotions also come with a significant raise. Most people would want that.

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Do you really think that an efficient organization can ever be constructed using employees that cannot be fired?

Seeing how difficult it is for regular companies to lay off people around here, I'd say yes. There are some companies around here that rarely, if ever, fire people, and the joke is that working for them is almost like being a government official (e.g. Bosch).

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Government employees, like most other sorts of employees, can only do what their job description describes.  To give them another job is constructive dismissal and therefore illegal.

Well, the thing is, they're government officials, not government employees. Government employees (those exist, too) are subject to regular employment laws, government officials aren't (yes, a job that you can't be fired from does come with some other strings attached).

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Trusting any particular individual or group is always unwise.

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Government ran admissions and wanted everyone to get a degree.  The result is load of meaningless and worthless degrees.

Not around here, I don't think ... plenty of my classmates failed or finished their degrees with less-than-spectacular grades.

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I think the solution is to permit multiple professional bodies.  Many professions already have several professional bodies.  Electronic engineers such as myself have the IEEE and the IEE.

One of them is an international organization, the other one is a national one. I'm sure similar organizations exist for physicians.

But does one of them actually have a say in who's allowed to work as an engineer and who is not?
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Current
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« Reply #77 on: March 20, 2009, 15:09:43 EDT »

Perhaps.  In my view though that most people don't give a fig about promotion.

The promotions also come with a significant raise. Most people would want that.
I expect everyone would like the raise.  That's not the same thing as wanting the promotion though is it?  For someone to want a promotion they have to consider the extra responsibility (and possibly work) worthwhile.

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Do you really think that an efficient organization can ever be constructed using employees that cannot be fired?

Seeing how difficult it is for regular companies to lay off people around here, I'd say yes. There are some companies around here that rarely, if ever, fire people, and the joke is that working for them is almost like being a government official (e.g. Bosch).
If a company rarely if ever fires people that doesn't necessarily mean that they can't be fired.  As far as I understand it even in Germany an employee can be fired for misconduct without much difficulty.  Just because a company rarely fires people doesn't mean very much.

Also, does Bosch make people redundant?  I don't know about Germany but in the UK and Ireland redundancy is often used as a cover for getting rid of people who would be difficult to fire.

Lastly, is Bosch really an efficient organization?  Or does it exist because of various favours from the powerful?  I'm not really accusing Bosch of being like this, I honestly don't know if it is.

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Government employees, like most other sorts of employees, can only do what their job description describes.  To give them another job is constructive dismissal and therefore illegal.

Well, the thing is, they're government officials, not government employees. Government employees (those exist, too) are subject to regular employment laws, government officials aren't (yes, a job that you can't be fired from does come with some other strings attached).
I don't think that it's reasonable to consider prison officers along with high level mandarins.

We may agree that for some high level positions impartiality is very important.  In these cases it may be more important than competence and diligent performance of the job.  For example, one of my friends once worked for the Bank of England.  He told me his boss was rarely sober after lunchtime.  The government wanted impartiality and they got it, but it came at a price in performance.

Is impartiality in prison officers important enough that they should be treated the same way as senior government positions.  I don't think so.  I think their political power is considerably less and they should be normal employees.

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Trusting any particular individual or group is always unwise.

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Government ran admissions and wanted everyone to get a degree.  The result is load of meaningless and worthless degrees.

Not around here, I don't think ... plenty of my classmates failed or finished their degrees with less-than-spectacular grades.
I know a few people who got degrees with "less-than-spectacular grades".  That though isn't my point.  My point is that almost anyone regardless of ability can get a university degree as long as they pick a college that provides an easy enough course.

Before government were involved in admissions those who went to university and obtained a good grade could be relied on to be reasonably educated.  Is that true any more, certainly not in Britain or Ireland.

So, what the point of having government intervene for the sake of standards?

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I think the solution is to permit multiple professional bodies.  Many professions already have several professional bodies.  Electronic engineers such as myself have the IEEE and the IEE.

One of them is an international organization, the other one is a national one. I'm sure similar organizations exist for physicians.
Well, the IEEE is a US organization that has successfully expanded abroad.  The IET (as they call themselves these days) is a British organization that has not so successfully expanded abroad.

But does one of them actually have a say in who's allowed to work as an engineer and who is not?
Neither of them do in the UK.
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Current
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« Reply #78 on: March 20, 2009, 17:28:19 EDT »

Government healthcare systems in some countries do spend less money than in the US, though there are measurement problems in the comparison.  Some of them do provide better care, many of them don't.

By "some" you mean "everyone but Switzerland, if you don't count government spending on employee health insurance[1]."
As I said though, there are measurement problems with the comparison.

Firstly, in several systems some of the organization involved receive tax breaks, that distorts the measurement.  Secondly, and more importantly, cross country comparisons in terms of price or GDP percentage don't take into account relative wealth.

Um, that's kind of the point of the point of using GDP percentages:  The higher wages result in a higher GDP which then factors back into the percentage and largely cancels itself out.
It isn't that simple.  GDP doesn't just measure wages, it also incorporates interest payments, rent payments, profits, government transfers and rents. (That is one side of the equation the other more often quoted side is investment, consumption, government expenditure and net exports).

Did you see the word exactly there?

You also should know that most other variable costs will be reflected in the GDP.
Economics is not as simple as that.  Other variable costs are not reflected in GDP, as the example I gave earlier of malpractice insurance demonstrates.  For example, look at what Ibian said about house prices in Denmark.  The costs of various consumption goods cannot be expected to be similar when so many various factors affect them.

GDP is an aggregation of many very different components.  Just because two economies may have similar GDPs does not mean that the proportions within those GDPs are similar, in general they are not.  Danish property is only one example of that.  Healthcare is another.

It only seems to be in this odd question of healthcare that people believe that GDP percentages should correspond between countries.  For example, go to the Penn World Tables site.  Bring up the numbers for 2004.  You will find, for example, that investment comprised 28.8% of GDP in Japan, in the UK it comprised 20%.

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In the US incomes are significantly higher than in Europe.  That means wage costs are higher.

Not enough to make up for _how much_ higher US costs are.
I think that's hard to say.

Then you have never actually bothered to look.

Your deletion of a reference to this magnitude is noted is noted.
I have actually bothered to look.  The WHO report says that in 2005 the US cost of healthcare was 15% of GDP.  Whereas in the other high income countries it was about 9%.

That by itself though doesn't demonstrate that your claim is correct.  I concede that it might be.  But we don't know that without knowledge of the breakdown of the costs.

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That objection also does not nullify the fact that the US system is far more expensive than Canada's, (even though wages are similar for most areas of health care).
As has been said before on this forum Canada's healthcare system is not the most successful.

Yet it does a much better job than the American system for far less money.
What research would you cite to show that the Canadian system does a better job?  The WHO research below?

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Quote from: rwpikul
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As for relative levels of health care, there are two constant results:

The entire first world is about equal in overall performance, (there is variance with each type of treatment, but it is largely a wash), neglecting issues of access.

The US has the worst health outcomes of the entire first world.
Really.  What report have you found these conclusions in?

Pretty much every one that has even been done, including quite a few from the WHO.  This isn't one report I'm talking about, but rather the regular story of yet another report again coming to the exact same result:  The US has higher infant mortality, higher disease rates, and lower life expectancy.
Well, post a link then.

The WHO provides on-line statistics.
What specific table of statistics though do you want to talk about?  I'm not asking this to be a pain in the backside.  It's just that the WHO website looks a lot like the World Bank or IMF websites.  Those are "interesting" to use and frequently produce contradictory data.  See this for example.

But more to the point, what lesson are you trying to draw from these statistics?

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The US has higher infant mortality, higher disease rates, and lower life expectancy.
Those things don't necessarily reflect only on the healthcare system.  Lower life expectancy could be caused by differences in national habits for example, as could the rates of certain diseases.

No, health outcomes are not a perfect indicator of health care system quality, although little else has an impact on infant mortality.
I think even infant mortality has many other influences.  For example it is very much dependent on the health of the mother.  As far as I understands it teenage mothers and single mothers have worse health and more pregnancy complications, as do smokers and immigrants from poorer countries.  Also, measurement methods vary.


This is my basic point, which folks here seem to be having trouble grasping.  Just because one thing happens in one place doesn't even mean that it can happen in another.  After writing this I'm going down the pub for a few drinks with my friends.  Does anyone in this forum seriously think, for example, that the Italian drinks industry could replace the Irish drinks industry?  Does anyone seriously think that life expectancy in the land of the Big Mac is likely to become the same as that of Europe with a few changes to the healthcare system?  The health outcomes are obviously down to much more than the healthcare system.

The ideas of the US left about health systems though are just as silly.  The equation seems to be that the rest of the developed world has "universal healthcare" while the US doesn't.  The rest of the developed world has better health than the US.  Ergo the difference must be that the US doesn't have universal healthcare.  So, if the US adopt universal healthcare it will get better and cheaper.  Even if it is true that other developed countries are healthier because of better healthcare what we're talking about is obviously just correlation.  We don't know that US health is worse because it's healthcare system is not "universal" as other systems are.  Firstly, let's look at what universal healthcare means - it means everyone is covered.  Does that fact by itself make it either better or cheaper - not really.  Are the other countries that have universal healthcare doing it in the same way?  No, not at all.  The British system is completely different to the German system which is different to the Canadian system.  So, there is no obvious reason for believing that the correlation we observe is useful.

The same is true of the "private" versus "public" differentiation.  The US system isn't really very private, the state finance a large proportion of it and control quite a lot too.  The systems in Europe aren't always that public either, in many countries hospitals are private and in some insurance companies are private.  There is no reason to think that making more of the US system state run would improve it's performance or price.  If state ownership of industries really worked then everyone would be driving British Leyland cars and speaking Russian.

What I see when I look into the issue is loads of rent seeking in the US system.  Insurance companies that are protected by complicated regulations from new competition.  Doctors, drug companies and hospitals attempting to take as much from insurers as they can and insurance companies powerless to do much about it except passing on the cost.  As far as I can tell it is these things that really need to be tackled.
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rwpikul
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« Reply #79 on: March 21, 2009, 01:36:40 EDT »

Um, that's kind of the point of the point of using GDP percentages:  The higher wages result in a higher GDP which then factors back into the percentage and largely cancels itself out.
It isn't that simple.  GDP doesn't just measure wages, it also incorporates interest payments, rent payments, profits, government transfers and rents. (That is one side of the equation the other more often quoted side is investment, consumption, government expenditure and net exports).

Did you see the word exactly there?

You also should know that most other variable costs will be reflected in the GDP.
Economics is not as simple as that.  Other variable costs are not reflected in GDP, as the example I gave earlier of malpractice insurance demonstrates.  For example, look at what Ibian said about house prices in Denmark.  The costs of various consumption goods cannot be expected to be similar when so many various factors affect them.

You are arguing from a false dichotomy, it is true that you couldn't say that 10% would be really higher than 9%, but we're not talking about small differences.

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It only seems to be in this odd question of healthcare that people believe that GDP percentages should correspond between countries.

You think it might be because health care needs are pretty much proportional to population, and the nations the US is generally compared to mostly have similar GDP per capita, (especially when compared on a purchasing power basis)?

A more careful look, using variations in per capita GDP and using a purchasing power basis to minimize the effects of cost variation, actually makes the US health care costs even higher in comparison due to being right near the top of the chart, (with most of the nations topping it being small and rich).

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Quote from: rwpikul
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Not enough to make up for _how much_ higher US costs are.
I think that's hard to say.

Then you have never actually bothered to look.

Your deletion of a reference to this magnitude is noted is noted.
I have actually bothered to look.  The WHO report says that in 2005 the US cost of healthcare was 15% of GDP.  Whereas in the other high income countries it was about 9%.

That by itself though doesn't demonstrate that your claim is correct.  I concede that it might be.  But we don't know that without knowledge of the breakdown of the costs.

If you think that costs could be varying that much, there is little I could do to help you.

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Quote from: rwpikul
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That objection also does not nullify the fact that the US system is far more expensive than Canada's, (even though wages are similar for most areas of health care).
As has been said before on this forum Canada's healthcare system is not the most successful.

Yet it does a much better job than the American system for far less money.
What research would you cite to show that the Canadian system does a better job?  The WHO research below?

That's part of it.

Much of the rest are the fairly steady trickle of reports from various sources that get discussed on shows like Ideas and The Current.

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Really.  What report have you found these conclusions in?

Pretty much every one that has even been done, including quite a few from the WHO.  This isn't one report I'm talking about, but rather the regular story of yet another report again coming to the exact same result:  The US has higher infant mortality, higher disease rates, and lower life expectancy.
Well, post a link then.

The WHO provides on-line statistics.
What specific table of statistics though do you want to talk about?

WHO provides their on-line statistics through dynamic tables.

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  I'm not asking this to be a pain in the backside.  It's just that the WHO website looks a lot like the World Bank or IMF websites.  Those are "interesting" to use and frequently produce contradictory data.  See this for example.

I take it you didn't check out his sources, just checking the first two shoes him to at least be in error, (he claims different numbers for two sources that actually agree).  He also makes a big deal about different measurement units not agreeing, (e.g. a purchasing power conversion v/s an exchange rate conversion with a exchange rate depressed currency), while reporting some non-GDP numbers as if they were GDP measurements..

Quote from: Current
But more to the point, what lesson are you trying to draw from these statistics?

Hmmm, another couple points of comparison between Marxists and Libertarians:  The need to repeat things, and the preference to go to fellow travellers for info.

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Quote from: rwpikul
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The US has higher infant mortality, higher disease rates, and lower life expectancy.
Those things don't necessarily reflect only on the healthcare system.  Lower life expectancy could be caused by differences in national habits for example, as could the rates of certain diseases.

No, health outcomes are not a perfect indicator of health care system quality, although little else has an impact on infant mortality.
I think even infant mortality has many other influences.  For example it is very much dependent on the health of the mother.  As far as I understands it teenage mothers and single mothers have worse health and more pregnancy complications, as do smokers and immigrants from poorer countries.  Also, measurement methods vary.


This is my basic point, which folks here seem to be having trouble grasping.  Just because one thing happens in one place doesn't even mean that it can happen in another.

Nor are the results from one place inapplicable to other places.
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Chakat Firepaw - Inventor & Scientist (Mad)
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« Reply #80 on: March 23, 2009, 15:32:24 EDT »

Um, that's kind of the point of the point of using GDP percentages:  The higher wages result in a higher GDP which then factors back into the percentage and largely cancels itself out.
It isn't that simple.  GDP doesn't just measure wages, it also incorporates interest payments, rent payments, profits, government transfers and rents. (That is one side of the equation the other more often quoted side is investment, consumption, government expenditure and net exports).

Did you see the word exactly there?

You also should know that most other variable costs will be reflected in the GDP.
Economics is not as simple as that.  Other variable costs are not reflected in GDP, as the example I gave earlier of malpractice insurance demonstrates.  For example, look at what Ibian said about house prices in Denmark.  The costs of various consumption goods cannot be expected to be similar when so many various factors affect them.

You are arguing from a false dichotomy, it is true that you couldn't say that 10% would be really higher than 9%, but we're not talking about small differences.
What do you mean?  What is the false dichotomy you think I'm making?

Quote from: Current
It only seems to be in this odd question of healthcare that people believe that GDP percentages should correspond between countries.

You think it might be because health care needs are pretty much proportional to population,
Housing needs are also quite proportional to population.  That doesn't mean though that the cost of housing is similar in countries with comparable income, it isn't.  Ibian mentioned Denmark where he lives in another thread, housing is very expensive there.  Other major spending items are not comparable across national borders, such as food and cloths.

and the nations the US is generally compared to mostly have similar GDP per capita, (especially when compared on a purchasing power basis)?

A more careful look, using variations in per capita GDP and using a purchasing power basis to minimize the effects of cost variation, actually makes the US health care costs even higher in comparison due to being right near the top of the chart, (with most of the nations topping it being small and rich).
Using GDP per capita modified for purchasing power doesn't really change the points I'm making much.

It's not true though to say that the other countries the US is generally compared to have similar GDP per capita.
The Penn World Tables have data for 2004 for GDP per capita adjusted for purchaing power.  This is what it gives:
39535 United States
32697 Switzerland
31600 Canada
30583 Ireland
29462 United Kingdom
28759 France
28074 Germany
26658 Japan

If you search the net for more recent years you will find that they show a similar pattern.  (The problem though is that recent data is not so accurate because much of it hasn't been finalized yet.)

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Quote from: rwpikul
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Not enough to make up for _how much_ higher US costs are.
I think that's hard to say.

Then you have never actually bothered to look.

Your deletion of a reference to this magnitude is noted is noted.
I have actually bothered to look.  The WHO report says that in 2005 the US cost of healthcare was 15% of GDP.  Whereas in the other high income countries it was about 9%.

That by itself though doesn't demonstrate that your claim is correct.  I concede that it might be.  But we don't know that without knowledge of the breakdown of the costs.

If you think that costs could be varying that much, there is little I could do to help you.
Well, I certainly do think they could be varying by that much.

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Quote from: rwpikul
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That objection also does not nullify the fact that the US system is far more expensive than Canada's, (even though wages are similar for most areas of health care).
As has been said before on this forum Canada's healthcare system is not the most successful.

Yet it does a much better job than the American system for far less money.
What research would you cite to show that the Canadian system does a better job?  The WHO research below?

That's part of it.

Much of the rest are the fairly steady trickle of reports from various sources that get discussed on shows like Ideas and The Current.
OK.  I have never seen "Ideas" or "The Current".  Without you citing anything specific it's hard for me to argue against you.

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Really.  What report have you found these conclusions in?

Pretty much every one that has even been done, including quite a few from the WHO.  This isn't one report I'm talking about, but rather the regular story of yet another report again coming to the exact same result:  The US has higher infant mortality, higher disease rates, and lower life expectancy.
Well, post a link then.

The WHO provides on-line statistics.
What specific table of statistics though do you want to talk about?

WHO provides their on-line statistics through dynamic tables.
What I'm asking is, which particular statistics do you want to talk about?  I can't talk about all the statistics on the site.

Quote from: Current
  I'm not asking this to be a pain in the backside.  It's just that the WHO website looks a lot like the World Bank or IMF websites.  Those are "interesting" to use and frequently produce contradictory data.  See this for example.

I take it you didn't check out his sources, just checking the first two shoes him to at least be in error, (he claims different numbers for two sources that actually agree).
I see what you mean. I'd point out though that no

He also makes a big deal about different measurement units not agreeing, (e.g. a purchasing power conversion v/s an exchange rate conversion with a exchange rate depressed currency), while reporting some non-GDP numbers as if they were GDP measurements..
My point is that many of these sorts of datasets can be taken in different ways.  There are several different methodologies and some organizations use several methodologies in the data they collect.  I doubt the WHO are different to others in that regard.

Quote from: Current
But more to the point, what lesson are you trying to draw from these statistics?

Hmmm, another couple points of comparison between Marxists and Libertarians:  The need to repeat things, and the preference to go to fellow travellers for info.
I mention Tyler Cowen's blog post simply because I'd read it recently.  I could have mentioned many other sources that say the same thing.  It isn't a controversial point.

What you are saying here is that you think I'm wrong.  But you're not very clear about exactly what I'm wrong about.  What statistics do you specifically want to tackle me on?

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Quote from: rwpikul
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The US has higher infant mortality, higher disease rates, and lower life expectancy.
Those things don't necessarily reflect only on the healthcare system.  Lower life expectancy could be caused by differences in national habits for example, as could the rates of certain diseases.

No, health outcomes are not a perfect indicator of health care system quality, although little else has an impact on infant mortality.
I think even infant mortality has many other influences.  For example it is very much dependent on the health of the mother.  As far as I understands it teenage mothers and single mothers have worse health and more pregnancy complications, as do smokers and immigrants from poorer countries.  Also, measurement methods vary.


This is my basic point, which folks here seem to be having trouble grasping.  Just because one thing happens in one place doesn't even mean that it can happen in another.

Nor are the results from one place inapplicable to other places.
I'm not saying that they are inapplicable.  My point is though that how applicable they are is something that must be established, by reasoning or by some other sort of evidence.

Those who point to the aggregate figure for healthcare cost must explain what they are trying to learn from it.  What theory is behind it?
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rwpikul
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« Reply #81 on: March 23, 2009, 21:59:22 EDT »

Did you see the word exactly there?

You also should know that most other variable costs will be reflected in the GDP.
Economics is not as simple as that.  Other variable costs are not reflected in GDP, as the example I gave earlier of malpractice insurance demonstrates.  For example, look at what Ibian said about house prices in Denmark.  The costs of various consumption goods cannot be expected to be similar when so many various factors affect them.

You are arguing from a false dichotomy, it is true that you couldn't say that 10% would be really higher than 9%, but we're not talking about small differences.
What do you mean?  What is the false dichotomy you think I'm making?

That it is either a perfect match or of little to no use.

Ok, I'm done wasting my time with you.  I have no desire to see how many times I am going to have to repeat things, I've been through enough of that with Psy.  At least he generally waited a few posts before making arguments that had already been addressed, not doing things like:

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Quote from: rwpikul
A more careful look, using variations in per capita GDP and using a purchasing power basis to minimize the effects of cost variation, actually makes the US health care costs even higher in comparison due to being right near the top of the chart, (with most of the nations topping it being small and rich).

Using GDP per capita modified for purchasing power doesn't really change the points I'm making much.

It's not true though to say that the other countries the US is generally compared to have similar GDP per capita.
The Penn World Tables have data for 2004 for GDP per capita adjusted for purchaing power.  This is what it gives:
39535 United States
32697 Switzerland
31600 Canada
30583 Ireland
29462 United Kingdom
28759 France
28074 Germany
26658 Japan

Note how I pointed out that this comparison actually makes things _WORSE_ for the US system, as it is not only a larger portion, but a portion of more actual purchasing power.
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« Reply #82 on: March 24, 2009, 05:43:21 EDT »

At least [Psy] generally waited a few posts before making arguments that had already been addressed, not doing things like:

Quote from: Current
Quote from: rwpikul
A more careful look, using variations in per capita GDP and using a purchasing power basis to minimize the effects of cost variation, actually makes the US health care costs even higher in comparison due to being right near the top of the chart, (with most of the nations topping it being small and rich).

Using GDP per capita modified for purchasing power doesn't really change the points I'm making much.

It's not true though to say that the other countries the US is generally compared to have similar GDP per capita.
The Penn World Tables have data for 2004 for GDP per capita adjusted for purchaing power.  This is what it gives:
39535 United States
32697 Switzerland
31600 Canada
30583 Ireland
29462 United Kingdom
28759 France
28074 Germany
26658 Japan

Note how I pointed out that this comparison actually makes things _WORSE_ for the US system, as it is not only a larger portion, but a portion of more actual purchasing power.

I distinctly remember Psy pulling shit like this on a regular basis... Maybe that's confirmation bias though.
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And if i catch you comin' back my way
I'm gonna serve it to you
And that ain't what you want to hear
But that's what I'll do
-- "Seven Nation Army", The White Stripes

So what you're telling me is that LTV's fudge factor means more than it's independent variable?
Yes...
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« Reply #83 on: March 24, 2009, 09:58:37 EDT »

Did you see the word exactly there?

You also should know that most other variable costs will be reflected in the GDP.
Economics is not as simple as that.  Other variable costs are not reflected in GDP, as the example I gave earlier of malpractice insurance demonstrates.  For example, look at what Ibian said about house prices in Denmark.  The costs of various consumption goods cannot be expected to be similar when so many various factors affect them.

You are arguing from a false dichotomy, it is true that you couldn't say that 10% would be really higher than 9%, but we're not talking about small differences.
What do you mean?  What is the false dichotomy you think I'm making?

That it is either a perfect match or of little to no use.
Well, please explain why the statistics you are quoting are so important.  On what basis do you think that they are?

Ok, I'm done wasting my time with you.
Well, fair enough, debate is always optional.

I have no desire to see how many times I am going to have to repeat things, I've been through enough of that with Psy.
What have you repeated that I have not addressed?

At least he generally waited a few posts before making arguments that had already been addressed, not doing things like:

Quote from: Current
Quote from: rwpikul
A more careful look, using variations in per capita GDP and using a purchasing power basis to minimize the effects of cost variation, actually makes the US health care costs even higher in comparison due to being right near the top of the chart, (with most of the nations topping it being small and rich).

Using GDP per capita modified for purchasing power doesn't really change the points I'm making much.

It's not true though to say that the other countries the US is generally compared to have similar GDP per capita.
The Penn World Tables have data for 2004 for GDP per capita adjusted for purchaing power.  This is what it gives:
39535 United States
32697 Switzerland
31600 Canada
30583 Ireland
29462 United Kingdom
28759 France
28074 Germany
26658 Japan

Note how I pointed out that this comparison actually makes things _WORSE_ for the US system, as it is not only a larger portion, but a portion of more actual purchasing power.
What the statistics above say is that the difference in dollars is much greater than the difference in GDP percentage, certainly.  I expect that to you this makes the comparison worse, I can see your point.

You don't understand my point though.  My point is that the composition of GDP cannot be expected to remain the same for a low GDP country as it is for a high GDP country.

We are not talking here about a problem like, say, buying coal.  The US cannot say "US healthcare is too expensive so we're going to buy it from France". It is something that needs to be provided locally by local labour.  That labour must be traded for in competition with other enterprises.

GDP is closely related to earnings.  US workers have higher earnings than those in other developed countries, hence they must be paid more.  That increases costs for labour intensive industries.  Of course it depends on the particular situation of the industry.

-------------
An example using a very simple model....

Suppose we have two nations X and Y.  There are no companies in either of them, and no trade between them.  There are four professions farmer, builder, entertainer and doctor, all of these are free agents.  The practices of these jobs are similar in X any Y, as are the prices they charge.

In nation X new knowledge about farming practices is discovered.  This allows farmers to become more productive.  Competition causes prices to drop.  As this happens more people buy the goods they produce.  After further improvements though many decide they don't want any more potatoes then they are already buying.  So, at this point further improvements in farming technique mean fewer farmers are needed.  Some farmers become unemployed.

When this happens what will those farmers do?  Probably after a period of unemployment they will join one of the other three sorts of available job, becoming a builder, entertainer or doctor, if they can.

Now, this has happened in nation X consider now nation Y where it hasn't happened.  In Y the income farmers receive will be a larger proportion of the total than in X if nothing else is different.
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