- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Who is 'we' to decide what is proper and what is wasteful?

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on April 07, 1999 at 12:45:06:

In Reply to: Heh. posted by Red Deathy on April 06, 1999 at 19:47:15:

: Hate to tell you this gee, man, but we already have a national health service, that covers everyone in the country, usually outlying districts have smaller istrict hospitals, liek the one my mother works in, or at teh least, ahve a community call out Doctor. Ever heard of Hellicopters?

Thats one of the expensive options I mentioned. The point was not that a service exists but that it cannot be one that provides an equal service to all. In British newspapers (and news sites) there are stories about how people in one county get one type of treatment unavailable in the next county and so on. The collection times for people in the sparsely populated areas differ also, not every outlying village has a district hospital in convenient range. The call out doctor doesnt have the resource to deal with everything a major hospital can, nor do district hospitals. In these senses the NHS coverage is 'unfair' in that it discriminates.

:: Note the key words "very expensive". Providing medical, educational services, providing food, shelter and other material goods is very expensive. Whatever resource you spend on this, there are less resources to spend on other things.

:Like Nuclear submarines, and aircraft carriers....

Take another look at the UK budget (or the US budget for comparison) and see where the vast majority of the money goes - social welfare programmes. These are a bottomless pit, there is always another ill peron, another child, another twisted ankle to take care of. Keeping the current budget level and devoting every penny to welfare would reach further into the pit, but that is all. The point of the post was to ask "where would you stop?"

: no, but we can direct resources to meeting everyones basic needs, and stop producing 'luxury' items like rolls royes...

Who is "we" to decide what is proper and what is wasteful? The people buying Rolls Royces, Flavoured crisps, holidays abroad, Easter eggs, childrens cuddly toys, daytrips to the funfair, ice cream, tickets to football games, alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and other such 'unnecessary luxury' goods are a huge part of "we". Where is a line to be drawn? Thats the point I am making.

: Strangely until recently, when the general economic crisis has begun to kick in, we managed over here with a very fine health service, free eye tests, free dental check ups (at the point of use that is), etc.

Are you sure your not painting a rosy picture of the NHS? It appears to be much better now, more people 'processed' and recovering rather than less. All due to the increase in medical knowledge. Im sure the current budget applied to 1970s medical knowledge (or whenever the NHS heyday was) would make a really 'great' system. Because now more diseases are treatable than ever before, so more people are suddenly patients.

: How about definijg it relative to the mean of society?

I dont mind that so much, a few very rich people dont make a huge dent (as per the longevity measure) unless its a tiny country where all the billionaires move to! A mode or median average is the best measure, because it looks at how the majority of people are.

:But poverty is relative to wealth, if we abolished poverty, wealth would disapear, rich would vanish, it can only be known by referrence to poverty...

Youre right in a way Im not sure you meant when you said "if we abolished poverty, wealth would disapear" assuming the method of abolishing poverty was 'redistributing' income away from those who had it (and once the few rich were bled then next would be the so called middle and working classes of the west).

But the point, again, was to ask at what point is one satisfied that everyone who needed 'help' has had sufficient? And at what cost?

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