Well, yes Mr. Chakrabortty

What\’s happened to England\’s rugby team this autumn is obviously not just about money. But it\’s an excellent example of something free marketeers often ignore, but that research proves: that adopting a market system does encourage people to think about cash and their individual wellbeing.

Indeed this is very true. Market incentives do change behaviour.

Now imagine a healthcare system in which the sick are treated by staff increasingly encouraged by successive governments to see themselves as providers in a market. Care doesn\’t necessarily get worse, but it does change – and in ways that patients might not like.

Yes, indeed, let us think of this.

So, let us ponder the English rugby team of 2011. Let us compare it to the England rugby team of 1991, when it was indeed still an amatuer (hmm, OK, shamatuer) game.

Let us place the England team of 2011 on the field against the England team of 1991. We\’ll use a time machine to bring the old team here at their playing ages, not their current ones. But everything else stays the same: fitness levels, tactics, training periods, etc.

Who will win? I think we know the answer to that, don\’t we? The 2011 team will walk all over the 1991 team. Heck, I\’d back the 2011 Italian team to walk all over the 1971 Lions, let alone the Welsh 2011 to beat the glory days of 70s Welsh rugby.

So, the quality of output has increased in this move to market incentives: and we expect what to happen as we introduce market incentives into health care?

Well, I for one would expect the quality of output to rise to similar to those other health care systems that have a modicum of market incentives in them. You know, the French, German etc etc, health care systems?

Do note, perfectly willing to agree that one can go too far: relying entirely upon private health insurance as in the US system seems not to work so well. Relying upon private health savings accounts plus government run catastrophic health insurance (roughly the Singapore model) seems to work extremely well.

All markets all the time markets is not the solution to every problem we as humans encounter. But a fit of the vapours over some markets some of the time markets, where such has been proven to work elsewhere, is not the solution to any of the problems we as humans encounter.

11 comments on “Well, yes Mr. Chakrabortty

  1. The market tells you nothing – it is a reification, just the aggregation of the decisions of many individuals. But, of course, I see your problem – if it isn’t real, it can’t be evil …

  2. “relying entirely upon private health insurance as in the US system seems not to work so well.”

    Yeah, Medicaid, Medicare, S-CHIP, Plan D, Veterans Affairs, these don’t exist.

  3. @Botzarelli
    Ditto England’s 1966 football team – it’d get taken apart by Wigan who are currently propping up the Premier League.

    Not so quick there. In 1966 they used a different ball with different qualities, and importantly tackling was allowed to be much more robust, thus meaning players with larger physiques than today were favoured. Geoff Hurst mentions this in his autobiography. So if Wigan had turned up at Wembley in 1966 they would probably have been kicked off the park.

  4. “Ditto England’s 1966 football team – it’d get taken apart by Wigan who are currently propping up the Premier League.” … I must take issue, that team was good, packed with quality and in Bobbys Moore and Charlton a pair of true world class players. Sure, that team would struggle against a modern good team, say Spain, but it would even today be a good team.

  5. johnny bonk – I am sure that Charlton, Moore, Banks and Peters would be ok today….but I don’t think Nobby Stiles or Jack Charlton would last very long on the pitch

  6. Whereas would the Wigan 2011 team beat the great team of the early ’90s? Well, both were professional. Good to see RU finally caught onto the idea, 90 years too late!

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