Timmy elsewhereMay 21, 2014 Tim WorstallTimmy Elsewhere24 CommentsAt the ASI. Some people really do miss the point of this profit motive, don’t they? previousRitchie still doesn’t understand the tax system, does he?nextThe curriculum vitae of Mr. Murphy Richards 24 thoughts on “Timmy elsewhere” Richard Gadsden May 21, 2014 at 9:28 am You really are staggeringly stupid, Tim. Most people think that the profit motive is bad. We have a word for people who do things only for money, and it’s not a nice word. It’s “whore”. Trying to make money out of delivering a service is a bad thing. That’s conventional morality. You should deliver services because people need them, and you should be paid for the effort and skill you put in. The fact that this doesn’t add up economically is, well, not the point. Morality doesn’t have to work in the real world. Those are the moral values that the medical profession is taught – they’re paid, not on demand, but on how good they are at doctoring. They doctor not for pay but because it makes people well. That you’ve worked out that the profit motive results in more goods and services being available to consumers doesn’t make the profit good; it makes it a necessary evil. Now, you may adopt a different moral position about profit. But you should recognise that the professional and managerial (as distinct from entrepreneurial) classes who dominate our public discussions of morality and ethics don’t agree with you. Calling someone stupid for having a different opinion on a question of right and wrong (as distinct from one of fact) is inane. Roue le Jour May 21, 2014 at 9:51 am “You really are staggeringly stupid, Tim.” “Calling someone stupid for having a different opinion on a question of right and wrong (as distinct from one of fact) is inane.” Bloke in Germany May 21, 2014 at 9:56 am To be completely fair I think he’s calling Tim stupid for thinking other people should think more about the profit motive and how it works, not for having an opinion difference from the great medical class. But then Dr Gadsden is clearly staggeringly stupid for not getting Tim’s ironic style, or perhaps his comment is some form of double-crossing irony, he wouldn’t be the first person to call Tim’s deliberately innocent “misunderstanding” of other peoples’ idiocy staggeringly stupid, and mean it either really or ironically. For medics to believe that they are not profiteering from the woes of the sick is of course staggeringly stupid, the kind of staggering stupidity one comes to expect from doctors. dearieme May 21, 2014 at 10:38 am It can be, Dr Watson, no coincidence that applications for admission to medical school have shot up since Toni Blair’s government gave medics an extravagant pay rise. What do you conclude, Holmes? Greedy bastards, Watson. Rob May 21, 2014 at 10:44 am It is evil to work for profit. It is noble and progressive to be non-profit and take the entire surplus as an enormous salary. The Stigler May 21, 2014 at 10:53 am Richard Gadsden, “Those are the moral values that the medical profession is taught – they’re paid, not on demand, but on how good they are at doctoring. They doctor not for pay but because it makes people well.” No they aren’t. They’re paid because they gained some pieces of paper that are in very short supply and as such have a high, artificial barrier to entry to their industry. I’ve witnessed more tenacity about solving problems with my car from my mechanic than I saw with a medical problem from 2 GPs, a locum and an ENT (which I eventually solved myself). And I wouldn’t have given a damn if some ruthless Gordon Gekko type was living in a massive beach house and only cared about fixing my medical problem because he wanted an even bigger beach house. I don’t care about whether a “professional” or an “entrepreneur” fixed my problem, I just wanted it fixed. “Professions” are just a self-righteous term for people with qualifying pieces of paper, often deliberately high barriers to entry to the work to keep more of it for themselves. Surreptitious Evil May 21, 2014 at 10:54 am It is evil to work for profit. Hence the Guardian. bloke in france May 21, 2014 at 11:42 am Dr Gadsen sounds like a maiden aunt horrified by Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees. Taking the discussion down a few levels, what about the toilet cleaners? Not enough personal satisfaction in the job if it’s a public toilet. So (horrors! vapours!) we have to pay cleaners. The Stigler May 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm bif, a lot of people out there care about doing their job well, including some cleaners. The woman that used to clean our house left it spotless. The “professions” always piss me off because they always try to make out that what they do is special, that they have some sacred bond with what they do. But I could say the same thing about people I’ve met at companies like Airbus or some test managers I’ve met. It’s not just about the pay or moving up the career ladders. Doing the job right matters to them at a personal level. And the professions contain some of the most complacent people I’ve ever dealt with, and they’re complacent because they know that nothing’s going to happen to them. They have managed to create organisations to regulate them that have become quasi-state, but in reality are not about protecting their clients but about protecting the profession. bloke in france May 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm Stig No doubt you’re right about your cleaner, and if we were all only motivated by profit we’d be sociopaths with no children. But y’know Tim is writing for the ASI, and y’know Adam Smith’s most (or second most) famous quote. Tim’s just following the ideology of his employer. The fact he probably agrees with it is irrelevant. bloke in france May 21, 2014 at 12:22 pm Agree with you Stig and others. Professional classes moralising is even more nauseating than Miliband. Matthew L May 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm My “favourite” argument on this subject is the one about profits being extra money on top of the cost of whatever, so therefore it’s always cheaper for government to do things. No evidence will ever sway people who believe this. Squander Two May 21, 2014 at 2:53 pm There’s a lot of weird logic from Hastings and de Andrade there. But without evidence that e-cigarettes work, they conclude, “The tobacco multinationals have leapt enthusiastically into this market; all now have major e-cigarette interests. This is not a consumer movement but the full onslaught of corporate capital in hot pursuit of a profitable opportunity.” So, first of all, the point of ecigarettes is that they deliver nicotine smoke, which is not very dangerous in the sort of doses involved, without all the tar and crap that has been repeatedly scientifically proven to be extremelty dangerous. That is exactly what they’re for. But these guys take it upon themselves to claim that the only point of ecigarettes is to enable people to give up smoking, so that they can then claim there’s no evidence that they do. But of course that’s the opposite of the purpose of ecigarettes: their point is to make smoking relatively safe so that you don’t have to give up. Do they genuinely not know this? Secondly, I really don’t think they are demonising profit here. If Waitrose were to pour a load of their corporate capital into expanding the profitable free-range chicken market, there’d be no complaints. I think what they’re implying here is that Big Tobacco are bad, therefore stuff they do for profit is bad. And that’s weird. I have sympathy for the view that Big Tobacco are bad because they make profit out of killing people, but these guys have their logic the other way around. Jim May 21, 2014 at 3:20 pm Is ‘Richard Gadsen’ for real, or just a troll? Please tell me that rant at the top wasn’t genuine. BraveFart May 21, 2014 at 5:05 pm Richard Gadsen I’m still unsure whether your comment is ironic or not. That apart you say: “We have a word for people who do things only for money, and it’s not a nice word. It’s “whore”.” In fact, I believe using “whore” for those who do it only for money is generally considered to be less of an insult than when it is used for those who do it not for money- ie the worst “whores” are those acting without the profit motive? Bloke In Italy May 21, 2014 at 5:40 pm Whores are just girls who are trying to get on, nothing wrong with that as long as no compulsion is involved. Personally I fucking hate sanctimonious bastards like the supposed dr Gaddsen, and all the bastards in government and HMRC who make a career out of making life difficult for everybody else to get on with theirs. Richard Gadsden May 21, 2014 at 7:31 pm I’m sorry, I was trying to write like a Guardian-reading doctor, and clearly overdid it. I thought the contradiction about the use of “stupid” was the giveaway, but if no-one got it, then I need to be more careful about that sort of thing. Runcie Balspune May 21, 2014 at 8:24 pm Matt Ridley’s take is interesting too: http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/e-cigarettes-are-making-tobacco-obsolete,-so-why-ban-them.aspx Gunker May 21, 2014 at 8:36 pm @Richard Gadsden, Poe’s law strikes again. Thomas Gibbon May 21, 2014 at 10:54 pm Richard Gadsen I got it & was amused. Unusual to see such mass SOH failure in these comments – maybe everyone’s a bit overwrought, what with the election thingy So Much For Subtlety May 21, 2014 at 11:08 pm bloke in france – “No doubt you’re right about your cleaner, and if we were all only motivated by profit we’d be sociopaths with no children.” It is a commonplace that people stop having children when their labour is not useful on the farm any more and you can’t hire them out as chimney sweeps. It may have escaped your notice but for Welfare Queens, we have pretty much stopped having children. Although those people who have a child because it would be, like, a fun friend to play with are verging on sociopathy in my opinion. monoi May 22, 2014 at 11:42 am @ Richard, I must admit I thought you were sarcastic/parodic but I could not make my mind up! Justin May 22, 2014 at 1:06 pm @SMFS “Although those people who have a child because it would be, like, a fun friend to play with are verging on sociopathy in my opinion.” What about those who have children as a cheap alternative to turkey at christmas? So Much For Subtlety May 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm Justin – “What about those who have children as a cheap alternative to turkey at christmas?” Where can I get one? Do you know what turkey costs these days? Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. 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