Don’t be so blitheringly stupid boy

Healthcare is not a product, no matter what neoliberalism has taught us

Of course it isn’t a product. It’s a service.

17 thoughts on “Don’t be so blitheringly stupid boy”

  1. Stupidity appears to be the default setting for Mr McQueen. But, then, he’s a Maoist.

    Every policy should face this test: is it likely to increase social equality across the generations?

    Why? You are introducing an un-evidenced prior axiom in the middle of your argument.

    How long will it be before the efficiency of supplying blood is totally de-formed by market signals?

    No – market signals _inform_. Although, it has to be said, there are interesting “market signals” in blood donation. The evidence being that it works more reliably in places where it is seen as a “social obligation” rather than overtly part of commerce. But, that’s at the farming end. Nothing in that declares that a commercial organisation would be less efficient* than a state organisation in the treatment, storage and delivery of blood at the consumer end.

    * We have all the usual studies showing that the most reliable way to screw things up is to hand them over to the state.

  2. Bloke in Germany

    Yes irony I know, but I think he means that “Healthcare Is not a commodity to be traded like, er, well, since food, land, labour and everything else I say isn’t a commodity to be traded either there is nothing left for me to liken healthcare to not being”.

  3. From a professional markeitng perspective, there is no difference between ‘product’ and ‘service’. Indeed the line is so blurred as to be meaningless – is publishing, for example, a service or an industry making products? And, as we know, Rolls Royce make a fair lump of their cash from servicing engines rather than merely flogging them and walking away.

    Healthcare is in this box – if I buy health insurance I but from a range of ‘products’. Similarly, I select from a set of brands to decide which headache tablets to buy – products. But my GP provides a service (or, at least, that is intended). But then the GP has a number of specific things that he ‘offers’ – weight loss clinics, quit smoking sessions and so forth. These could well be products.

  4. Humphrey McQueen is an Australian author and historian.

    See also: the rise of the Aussie mangina. I mean, come on – Humphrey McQueen? It’s like his parents wanted to save school bullies time and effort.

    Nothing here has come within coo-ee of Britain’s national health service.

    Or a ‘naughty missus!’ of a Mid Staffs NHS scandal…

    He showed why universal service delivery is the only route towards greater social equality, because in a single system of healthcare the rich and powerful have a life-and-death interest in making it work.

    Except when it doesn’t. Like at Mid Staffs NHS.

    It’s not that neoliberalism is a vicious idea in the twisted minds of evil people

    No, not that at all. He’s just putting that thought out there. Sort of like a sentence that begins with “I’m not racist, but…”

    health care has almost none of the characteristics of a consumer good

    So health services don’t satisfy human wants and provide utility??? Is he talkin bout Mid Staffs NHS?

    Titmuss was right: healthcare is not a product. Unlike when we buy shoes, as patients we have little idea of what treatments we will need.

    Perhaps, but you know the sort of outcome and standard of care you want. When the engine warning light goes on in my car, I, as a non-mechanic, have little idea of what parts and labour it needs. I just know I want it fixed.

    Does that mean we need a National Car Service?

  5. Mr Ecks

    “If we had a National Car Service it would certainly put this country back on its feet.”

    Now that is brilliant.

  6. Steve,

    Does that mean we need a National Car Service?

    Can you imagine if the busybody prodnoses ever got their hands on cars? And not just the selling of them, but the whole thing of using them, too? You’d have these insane looking vehicles, every one of them designed to be accessible to disabled drivers, every one of them with speed and engine restrictions. You’d have mileage restrictions. The inbuilt Satnav would have a number of POIs like organic juice bars, vegetarian restaurants and John Lewis. There would be no mirror in the glovebox as that is simply created by men to enslave women into a rape culture.

  7. The Stigler – Yes!

    And Jeremy Clarkson would be forced to review local bus services while apologising to everyone he meets.

    “There would be no mirror in the glovebox as that is simply created by men to enslave women into a rape culture.”

    Damn right. I had to take the passenger side mirror out of my jeep just to stop the wife pestering me for sex. I’m not a bloody machine, woman!

  8. If they want to prove government provision is so damn good I propose a sort of reverse trial. Rather than trying to squeeze some competition in to health care I think the government should try opening a supermarket, just think of the good it could do selling only Grauniad approved, profitless, low salt and fat foods, no fags, expensive booze, rationed meat etc.

    We’ll see how good the government is at large scale provision in an arena where private industry is already established and the government can’t kill anyone when they fuck up.

  9. Bloke with a Boat


    Great idea. The experiment could be run in all Labour constituencies with the MP as the Chairman and the Board made up local Labour Councillors.

    Lets see how long they last in office of change their tune.

  10. It would run very well because it would have a government appointed board to ensure that fair trading was done by subsidising the sales.
    Other supermarkets would have to be taxed as they are from a wealthy subsection of society.
    Advertising would be banned as naturally redundant.
    Other supewrmarkets should be made to employ the disadvantantaged for the above reasons.

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