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    The Will to Create

    Entries in healthcare (75)

    Saturday
    Feb272010

    Organic growth vs central planning

    America is a fertile country for organic growth to create miraculous results -- economically, culturally, intellectually, technologically, spiritually and organizationally.

    From the BusinessDictionary we get this --

    organic organization

    Organizational structure characterized by (1) Flatness: communications and interactions are horizontal, (2) Low specialization: knowledge resides wherever it is most useful, and (3) Decentralization: great deal of formal and informal participation in decision making. Organic organizations are comparatively more complex and harder to form, but are highly adaptable, flexible, and more suitable where external environment is rapidly changing and is unpredictable. Also called open organizations, they are contrasted with mechanistic organizations.

    The statist, mechanical organizaton of America is failing -- it has already falied in Europe. The world needs somewhere to invest and grow economically -- America is a better long term bet than China, but there's no reason China and America together can't lead the economic recovery. But, we have to stop our direction to European bankruptcy. Mark Steyn has a good post at National Review online:

    Mechanical, centralized organization of states is causing widespread economic destruction. China's mixture of mechanical social control and organic economic activity is working for the present, but it's at risk of failure in the future if the people ever grow weary of being used, with little reward, as cogs to support the structure which allows organic economic growth. In order for organic growth to work long term, people have to be free and government power has to be limited.

    Organic economic growth doesn't call for anarchy -- there must be stable rules which protect individuals from coercion, but once the framework of fairness is set, organic growth can take place as information flows to where it's needed and efforts are guided by supply and demand. Organic economic growth is an intelligent, complex process which no committee of experts and managers can comprehend, much less manage.

    Most people in America have been trained to think in terms of mechanical, managed growth, but herein lies the problem -- our economy and our needs have become too complex for central management. Europe is on the cusp of collapse because they've arrogantly assumed technocrats have the ability to manage their economy and institute programs of equality and fairness. They've blindly and arrogantly violated every economic law known to man, and America is following the same route of arrogance.

    In our world of technological and cultural change, we need an organic system which is flexible and adaptive, and people operating in the system need to be freed to apply intelligence where intelligence is needed -- skills and intelligence need to be broadly applied, rather than wasted through protected specialization. In the present healthcare argument, for instance, no one is pushing for relaxation of licensing laws so that skills and intelligence can be applied where needed at lower costs and more efficient results. In an organic, decentralized healthcare system, flexibility and adaptibilty could resolve a lot of our problems with improvement of delivery and information management. PAs and RNs can provide services which now have to be delivered by high-cost physicians -- burdensome regulations and centralized management prevent an organic approach to create an intelligent, responsive system. Regulations and mechanical, centralized management prevent an organic development of solutions to insurance arangements and payment for services by blocking innovation and competition at the point of delivery where fexibility and adaptibility are sorely needed.

    But, it's not just healthcare, it's throughout our economy where organic organization is needed. We call this organic system of organization the free market, but we've lost faith in a free market due to the perverse devolution of capitalism into state/corporate enmeshment and cronyism. What the State has done to our economy is not an inevitable result of growth and complexity, it's a refusal to admit incompetence when challenged with complexity. The State solution to deal with complexity has been to manage harder and regulate more, but this has created corruption, as powerful special interests have bought their way in to the mechanical, statist solutions. In an orgnic system, the rent-seekers, dependents and crooks would be weeded out, because they have nothing to offer, and the rules would find their actions in violation of fairness, unfit for an intelligent system.

    If America can allow a free market to function with stable rules as the framework to work within, we will see the whole world stampeding here to invest in the future, then they will follow and we'll have healthy global competiton which will bring third world countries to prosperity and independence rather than ruin through dependency, ruthless dictatorships and welfare schemes.

    If you watched the Healthcare Summit, just take a minute to think about all the millions of individual, economic transactions going on as the summit was being held, think about the individuals involved in the summit, then ask if it makes sense that these people can competently manage the complexity of our economy. When you stop laughing, or shaking in terror, ask yourself if you'd rather trust people freey working together at all the individual points in a giant, complex system to make the best decisions for each interaction and transaction, all based on stable rules of fairness to weed out fraud, theft and any other forms of coercion -- people freely trading and working out each decision in fairness, based on the best information available. We do this all the time, and we get by just fine, so let's not continue to allow the State to gradually take these decisions away so that bureacrats manage and dictate what we need.

    Like the people in Greece, you might like the goodies the State hands out in order to manage your lives, but when the goodies are gone, you'll be left with nothing but mechanical, statist management.
    Friday
    Nov132009

    American Rebirth Movement -- Part 3

    I've noticed through the years, especially when working with troubled people in therapy, a job I had years ago and have recently returned to as a way to combine skills to make it through this recession, that many people, when given good solutions start discounting the solutions as unworkable. For many people, real solutions are frightening, and some people fear success more than they do failure. Solutions and success mean being responsible -- day in and day out. The pressure of being responsible and applying solutions is too much for some people to bear -- they'd rather be able to blame others, fate, a handicap or past experiences -- anything but take the solution and go with it.

    American society is like that in many ways -- everybody complains but few do anything about it. It's much easier to feel victimized by the system, some power outside our control, than it is to find solutions and do what you can to succeed. So, naturally, some of the hyperbolic claims I've made about the rebirth of America will be discounted as naive and utopian. The sophisticated cynic doesn't believe in the goodness of man. The statist will tell you only a strong interventionist state, which regulates human activity, can ensure that society is fair and that a safety net is there for those victimized by the oppresive system.

    But deep down, I think we know what is possible -- that men and women can cooperate and solve problems. Most of us have witnessed the powerful reality of compassion, the creative energy of groups with a purpose. America is known for its charitable spirit -- we simply haven't unleashed our full power to tackle all societal problems.

    With nation-wide, coordinated efforts we could build charity hospitals and clinics all across this nation to give healthcare to the poor, with health professionals volunteering their time, or taking reduced pay. Most people want to help -- they want to be part of solutions and know they are making a difference, even if there is fear in such responsibility.

    If the market was freed from strangling regulations, income taxes were lowered, or ended altogether, and if companies are challenged to come up with solutions to meet the demands of retirement, healthcare coverage and unemployment, smart people (and there are many, many out there) would devise means to insure these areas of demand are met-- and if society spreads the idea that young couples having kids need to start dealing with retirement, healthcare and emergencies from the moment of birth, creative savings/insurance plans would be offered so that by the time someone becomes 20 years old, their policies would cover most safety net issues.

    It's not wise for anyone developing different theories of meeting society's needs to get into specifics, because there's the risk of getting bogged down in the details and looking foolish, but we need to begin envisioning ways to voluntarily create safety nets and an environment in which the economy can thrive so that anyone wanting a job can find one. We need innovative education solutions which arise from supply and demand in the market, and which meet our needs.

    Those who sit back and scoff aren't helping. I'll close this series out tomorrow.

    Thursday
    Nov122009

    The American Rebirth Movement -- Getting the groove back

    We'll call it ARM so I can save on the typing. As the news poured in today and I was going from link to link, it all became clear to me -- why not just stop the madness, loosen up and make it happen? The news is filled with huge problems and a couple of small answers here and there, but no answers of any significance.

    I kept thinking of that pile of useless paper called a heathcare reform bill, and it occured to me -- this is not going to work. Not just the reform bill, but all of it. Government has reached the point of maximum incompetence, but don't get me wrong -- I'm not simply repeating the old government-is-bad narrative -- no I'm not that simple-minded like those redneck racist yahoos who are calling for the guvmint to git da hell outta thar bizness. Hell, I've read books, slick, I ain't yer average hick.

    What I envisioned was nuthin' less than the rebirthin' of Amurica. And don't say you don't nothin' bout birthin' no nation, cuz I know you do. Okay, enuff with da dialect.

    Well, maybe you don't know anything about rebirth, because you never studied the first birth in depth, but this is a new day, anyway, and, as they say -- "It's better than doing nothing!" Oh, this is much better than doing nothing.

    The country is at a point where we all know that something must be done, so we'll start at a point of agreement. It would be good if President Obama went along with ARM, but it's not necessary. He is a good salesman, and those skills will be needed, and this is where  presidents and congress-peeps can play a major role and redeem themselves in the slaunched-eyes of the public.

    Since we've perversely placed the state at the center of America's attention when it comes to big issues of change, politicians will need to be leaders of the ARM. If not Obama, then the next president, or the next, depending on how bad our financial house is disordered, should speak frankly with the American people -- the upcoming Economic Summit would be a good opportunity. The message should transcend the ordinary emptiness of political speech, and should be aimed straight at society in general as a large group of individuals who have the power to transform the country and overcome our financial and social problems.  

    I believe there's a growing desire in the country to be empowered to create change. The powerlessness many people feel is frustrating -- people want to be able to do something. Despite the loss in wealth due to the recession, there is still a lot of wealth in America, but beyond wealth there's a great deal of untapped creative energy. If challenged, the people of this country could create a new America. Cynics will say the American people are ignorant and self-centered, but the cynics would be the first group of small minds to be left on the porch in a regenerative movement. The tension the nation feels between where we are and where we could be  creates frustration, cynicism and pessimism, self-deating responses which keep us trapped in a looping downward spiral, but the creative tension can inspire a regenerative energy which breaks the country free of the negative loop into an optimistic future of innovation and creative solutions.

    Using the bully pulpit, the president and members of the political class can embrace the private sector as the key to generative energy. An out-of-the-box possibility is a nation challenged to use its resources to, first, resolve the healthcare problem. An admission from the government players that any government solution will be inadequate to the needs of a large, diverse, free country, and that private solutions are the first choice, would remove the healthcare problem from the poliitical realm of partisan wrangling and special interest warfare to the private realm where resources are available to develope voluntary solutions which won't be subject to the corrupting influence of politics.

    Now, in the Information Age, is the perfect time to begin the private resolution of problems such as healthcare which have become entangled in government programs which are quickly bleeding money and energy to little good effect. An environment of transparency, urgency and optimistic problem-solving should be created in America -- a new way of thinking and acting should be born. At no time in our history has it ever been this important to join public and private sources to move forward. The old game of government trying to get as much from the rich as they can get and the rich trying to hide as much as they can from the government poachers should end.

    Look at all the wealth in the sports industry, in Hollywood, in the music industry, among billionaires like Gates, Buffett, Soros, Pickens, Turner, and all the millionaires across the country. If these people were brought into the game and asked to be vital players, the amount of resources and connections and positive energy is staggering. If businesspeople and the rich in general could trust government as an honest partner and they felt like their efforts to solve societal problems would truly be good for everyone concerned, there's no limits to the creative ideas and efforts which could change the direction of the nation. Just imagine what it would do for the psyche of the nation to truly feel like we are all in this together, and that as individuals we can make a difference and work together toward something excellent.

    With a concerted effort of the public and private realms, the economy would turn around -- and as we grow in prospertiy and our standard of living rises, a constant focus placed on building a healthy, educated, safe and optimistic society will benefit us all.

    I will extend this idea in a couple more posts to present particulars which I think are possible and desirable for the rebirth of America.

    Thursday
    Nov052009

    The almost impossible task

    We can continue to piddle at the cusp of our problems in America, or we can begin facing our problems, identifying them for what they are, and then find solutions. The progressives are still hammering away at the narrative that the state is necessary to correct past injustices, and that the only way to do this is to transform capitalism into some form of socialization and central planning. There are those who look at government intervention then say that without intervention certain things wouldn't have happened: education, post office, roads, strong middle class, assistance for the poor, Medicare, Medicaide, food stamps, unemployment insurance, technology research, dams for energy, infrastructure of all sorts, public transit, safety, environmental protection, Social Security, de-segregation, women's rights, civil rights, building standards, food and drug standards, consumer protection of all sorts, financial regulations, on and on and on.

    It's almost a hopeless case because we have given government so much power to control these areas of concern, that all people can see is what has happened due to government intervention. It would take a genius imagination to go back to the beginning and imagine other routes to the same results, or much better results. You would have to assess the effectiveness of all the areas of government intervention, then build a fictional alternative -- "fictional", because in most of these areas of concern the private sector was never allowed to, or never forced to, deal with the problems.

    This would be a herculean task, although many libertarian writers have shown how some alternatives would work -- writers such as Rothbard and Friedman. But to address all government interventions would be a lifetime task, and even then people would have a difficult time understanding the alternative vision, because they are trained from childhood to accept government intervention as vital. Another herculean task is the one presented to libertarian-leaning policy makers who promote privatization for this or that -- for every area of concern which would be better off privatized, there are thousands of bureacrats dependent on a government program connected to the concern, politicians who are trying to save their power-base, and perhaps millions of dependent citizens who are afraid of change and don't want to risk losing something the government has provided.

    I have no idea how government can ever be limited as it should be limited short of a collapse and rude national awakening. Our government is presently driving the country to financial disaster, and we can no loger pretend it's not an all-out attack on the free market -- between the energy efforts and healthcare reform we're talking long term, permanent costs, not just one or two time bailouts or a stimulus package here and there. Plus, with the attack on free enterprise, unemployment is likely to be high for a long time, costing us much more in benefits to support the out-of-work, with permanent unemployment rising. Safety net costs will go through the roof. It also appears we're politically stuck in two wars which will require long-term maintenance.

    Baby boomers are retiring, so SS and Medicare will sink even further in the bog of unfunded liabilities. With government regulating the financial industry into stupor, lenders are going to be skittish and very conservative. Capitalism is being strangled and government spending is rising at record levels. This can't be sustained, and if government tries to soak the rich, money will flee even faster. The big question is -- Who is going to pay for all this? More and more young people are leaving high school with no marketable skills, barely able to read and write. It's incredible that small and medium size businesses are not organizing people to take to the streets -- but, so far, I don't hear any loud reaction.

    I'm afraid people are stunned and hoping it will all go away, but from all the evidence it's only getting worse. More and more people are becoming dependent on government assistance and this is not good. We need another revolution, but most intelligent people are capitulating to power, playing the political game and burying their heads in the sand. A nation full of competent men and women, and we're being led by a handful of new age techno-fascists. The only ray of hope has been the Tea Party movement but it should be quadruple its size. This is no time for a replay of intellectuals slobbering over Stalin -- and, no, I'm not comparing Obama to Stalin, just weak intellectuals to weak intellectuals.

    We're in a period where ordinary people are protesting, doing something they've never done before, participating in politics as free people should, and the intellectuals are trying to ridicule them into silence. Anyone who chooses the corrupt status quo of state power over people who want to limit the size of an over-reaching government are complicit in the destruction of liberty -- the media, Hollywood, representatives, big corporations, academics, unions, and every man and women who remains silent because they are afraid of losing some bauble from the gift-givers in D.C., they are all complicit.

    Big corporations are hiding from competition behind the skirt of the state, comfortable in their international business, unconcerned with the damage done to the American economy, but when government gets desparate for money they will drain these sorry rent-seekers like hogs on a hook at the slaughter-house.

    Just look at how Pelosi and Obama have strong-armed the insurance industry and shackled the finance industry, plus what they are in the process of doing with the auto-industry. Whatever company gets in their sights will be at risk. But, these companies asked for it -- when you make a deal with the devil you have to read the fine print.

    The problem now is that it's doubtful we can stop this. One thing is for sure -- docility, capitulation and compromise will not help matters.

    Thursday
    Oct292009

    Why would anyone want the public option?

    http://reason.com/blog/2009/10/29/new-at-reason-steve-chapman-on

    What Steve Chapman writes is not surpising. Anyone who has paid attention to government run programs knows the inefficiencies, the manipulation, the hidden cost and the underlying goal to expand power.

    What's surprising is that so many many people still support the public option. Surely the public knows by now that government programs aren't the answer. This just goes to prove how deeply ingrained is the dependence on government. You would also think that out of all the representatives in government there would be far more fighting against the public option on the Democrat side of the aisle. Because, even though there are many people who still don't get it, there are many, many more who are getting it, and this could be a political nightmare for many politicians with dreams of re-election.