Monday, June 9, 2008

Institutional Dependence

The United States was born of the libertarian principles of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. As our society has progressed, the pure principals of capitalism have given way to noble social welfare objectives. Our global economy efficiently provides for the basic needs of humanity, allowing people to search for ways to improve the delivery of higher order needs. One that has incited years of debate is healthcare.

While there is no doubt that the health care system in the US can be improved, institutionalizing health care through a single payer, government controlled system would expand the dependence of the masses on governmental organizations. Without competition, American consumers would lose all choice and would be completely dependent on the government to determine the extent of their health care coverage. Under any system in which the government determines the extent of coverage (e.g. Medicare/Medicaid), there will either be an explosion in program costs due to excessive coverage or extensive frustration and disappointment with “inadequate” coverage, poor quality care, and lengthy delays in “discretionary” services.

In Life of a Slave, the impact of excessive consumption and poor financial discipline on the servitude of the masses was discussed. The socialization of industries, services, and markets institutionalizes a dependence on the government that furthers the degree of servitude experienced in American society. Bureaucrats, who possess a demonstrated proclivity towards self preservation enabled by pandering to special interest groups, would command significant control over our health care choices. Not only could they dictate personal choice, but they would pool their infinite wisdom to determine the direction of the health care industry, pharmaceutical development, and compensation of all industry participants. All the while, these fountains of innovative thought would sell their votes to special interest groups in exchange for campaign contributions rather than permit market forces to appropriately allocate resources to the projects most valued by consumers.

Only through promoting the goals of financial independence, free market competition, and responsible consumption can we avoid the shackles of governmental dominance and institutional dependence. Our current health care system promotes excessive consumption by divorcing the payer from the decision maker. Third party payers are unable to control costs that are driven solely by the decisions of the patient, who obviously feels entitled to the highest quality of service regardless of cost or viability. Until the patient has greater “skin in the game”, the health care system in America will continue to be characterized by excessive cost increases and overuse.

In the face of significant expansion of governmental programs and control over our existence, one must ponder in what type of society he wishes to live. One must decide what type of man he wishes to be.

A Slave is beholden to his employer [master] and destined to toil with the masses to service the debt incurred as a result of excessive consumption. The slave, deeply in debt and without financial reserves, is beholden to the government for charity, bailouts, and special treatment in order to perpetuate an overextended lifestyle.

An Emancipated Slave possesses sufficient financial reserves and fiscal prudence to provide for his or her family in the event of an unexpected change (e.g. job loss, unexpected expenses, weak housing market). The emancipated slave has the ability to walk away from an abusive employer in search of more favorable conditions, but lacks the wealth and financial backing to completely determine his or her destiny.

A Free Man is one with sufficient reserves and wealth to set upon his or her own path free of any authoritative influence. The free man has achieved the utopia of independence as she lacks financial need or dependence on patriarchal support.

My next post will address the evil capitalist speculators that plunder the global financial markets in pursuit of wealth at the expense of the common man. Stay tuned!