Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Elsewhere: Universal Health Care, Regulations, and Capitalism; David Foster Wallace

  • Matt Haughey argues that universal health care might be good for capitalism:
    Everyone I know that freelances or works a day job and wishes they could quit and follow their dreams of launching a company complains about the lack of healthcare. Whenever I used to talk about freelancing at tech conferences, the first question was always about healthcare coverage. I've heard that in places like Berlin where you don't have to worry about where your healthcare is coming from or how much it costs, up to 35% of working age adults are freelancers. It may sound crazy and anti-capitalist to consider healthcare for all, but if we flipped a switch tomorrow and everyone had health coverage I swear a million small businesses would launch overnight. I know lots of people that keep a job just to get healthcare that are wasting their creative talents because they had a cancer scare or were born with a defect or otherwise are deemed uninsurable on their own.

  • In a similar vein, Yglesias points to an example of regulation improving the market.

  • Via Kottke, an excerpt of a sort-of biography of David Foster Wallace, and an interview with the author of that biography.

4 comments:

Margo said...

Interesting idea. I'm not sure where I stand on this issue, but you make a good point here.

Holy Hyrax said...

>In a similar vein, Yglesias points to an example of regulation improving the market.

Republicans are not libertarians.

Random said...

Regardless of the merits of otherwise of the main point, the author isn't advancing his case by citing Berlin (a city so left wing that the old East German communist party sits in the state government) as some sort of model of free market capitalism. 35% of the people there are not free lancers because universal health care frees them to pursue their dreams of free market prosperity, they're free lancers because the rules on the hiring (and especially) and firing of workers (not to mention the social benefits employers are mandated to provide) are so oppressively restrictive that employers in order to retain some shred of labour force flexibility overwhelmingly prefer to hire free lancers on short term contracts rather than take the risk of employing them on the regular staff. Berlin's 9and to a lesser extent, the rest of Europe's0 high rate of freelancers isn't a symptom of the flexibility of the labour market, but rather of the opposite.

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

Republicans are not libertarians.

I didn't say they were.


Random:

Could be, I don't know much about Berlin.