6 comments on “The Shock Doctrine

  1. Like your responses there but man, does the whole moderation thing make having a running comment system a nightmare. You can only argue with people that posted hours ago.

  2. Argue with Mandy. She seems to be able to push her way to the front. If only to give her envy an outing.

  3. The inability to distinguish between “absolute” and “relative” was breathtaking. Alas, such a distinction is irrelevant if it gets in the way of the narrative. Therefore, I shall now begin comparing my salary to Bill Gates in order to garner sympathy for my poverty.

    Cheers.

  4. I note you you’ve started referring to yourself as ‘an economist’.

    Is it Dr Worstall now?

    Tiom adds: Did I? Bugger. Should read “someone who has read some economics” or some such. Apologies. No, it’s just the B. degree for me.

  5. Was curious about the Baumol Effect so went on to wiki to find out more…this effect describes perfectly what is happening to the NHS. Doesn’t this suggest some rather unpleasant and inevitable facts for state-provided healthcare? and more reaching into public service in general? One thing though – surely if the productivity and growth of such industry is close to zero then wont the costs spiral to infinity?

    Tim adds: The important thing about the Baumol Effect is to remember that he’s talking about services: not necessarily public ones. His actual example is symphiony orchestras. We can’t make them more efficient by asking them to play faster, for example, so as the general wage level rises, and manufacturing productivity improves, then orchestras will become more expensive relative to manufactures.

    OK, so far so good. But what we actually desire is the provision of music, not particularly of a symphony orchestra. An iPod is a substitute, a gramophone, bit torrent is.

    So, with, say, medicine. It’s true that the specific and necessarily labour part of a health service (wiping bottoms say) will become relatively more expensive. But the thing we want in total is the curing of disease: and there we do have substitutes. Pills for example.

    So, yes, we do expect that part of medicine which is necessarily labour intensive to get relatively more expensive over time, but only to hte extent that we cannot substitute technology for it.

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