Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
    Loading
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Author Archive

    President Obama’s poor security advice

    Posted by TM Lutas on 1st June 2020 (All posts by )

    President Obama just published an essay regarding George Floyd and policing. It’s a fundamentally flawed recommendation that funnels energy down the same old pathways that have been failing for decades. I responded:

    This essay is disappointing and shows a lack of vision. When improperly policed neighborhoods have a security alternative that they can choose, the police will have to compete or face the humiliation of being displaced by something better.
    That threat to their jobs, their position in society is already in the law, has been since 1789 when the Constitution was passed, but has been left to molder since the 1913 passage of the Dick Act. A President who understands politics, cares, and actually spent some time thinking about this would have picked up on the opportunity.

    President Obama, you blew that 8 year chance. This essay blows it again.

    Police were invented because professional police of any serious quality are better than the unorganized militia. But the unorganized militia is better than what happened to George Floyd. Revitalizing the unorganized militia, making training available, updating how to communicate with it, making it a real security alternative would place an institutional floor below which any corrupt or incompetent police force would be replaced because there would be an alternative available and it would be an improvement.

    There is a baseline civil rights problem that the minority community faces. Law abiding people who are white have a higher chance of being legally armed than those who are black or latino. The criminals of any color don’t care about the law. That puts minorities in an inferior security position because whites have a higher level of DIY security capability.

    Blacks can and should have the same level of DIY security capability. Latinos should have the same level of DIY security capability.
    The most dangerous people in your neighborhood should be law abiding members who spend time at the range and can hit what’s aimed at. In white neighborhoods, that’s more often the case than in black or latino neighborhoods. That’s something within your power to change.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 17 Comments »

    Cytokine storms

    Posted by TM Lutas on 19th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Covid-19, as a virus, generally does not directly kill. Instead, it fools our own immune system into killing us via the mechanism of a cytokine storm.

    It is not the only disease that can provoke cytokine storms. We don’t know how to reliably stop cytokine storms. If we did, we wouldn’t have to shut down the economy. We could just treat those who are starting to get sick so they wouldn’t develop into a cytokine storm, pay the bills, however, and we would all come out trillions of dollars ahead with a death toll of no national or international significance as the only people who would succumb would be those already on death’s door.

    If nobody else will say it, I will. We don’t need to close down the majority of our economy just to change what’s written on a death certificate that was coming out anyway.

    Diseases will continue to emerge. Any disease that provokes cytokine storms while not killing many itself will be just as scary as Covid-19 and we’ll be back to the question of whether we have another economic shutdown.

    Cytokine storms are not just associated with infectious diseases. The first mention of the term in the literature was about graft vs host disease in a 1993 article. They entered into the general public’s imagination 15 years ago with the H5N1 flu. We don’t really understand why they happen and how to reliably stop them from taking a life. This is a public health issue deeper than how we pay for healthcare. It threatens us all and will continue to do so at irregular intervals as new diseases emerge that cause cytokine storms.

    So as we move past our currently unsustainable shutdown due to Covid-19, we all have to decide whether we’re going to let cytokine storms go until the next time some disease breaks out and kills significant numbers of people via this mechanism or whether we’re going to treat this seriously so that the next time we’ll be ready. It’s our choice.

    Posted in Medicine, Politics | 20 Comments »

    Will we learn not to trust the government with unsexy maintenance tasks for vital public needs?

    Posted by TM Lutas on 11th April 2020 (All posts by )

    Pro-Publica lays out the facts decently but fails to draw the right conclusions in its dissection of New York City’s failure to stockpile for a pandemic. An endowment to finance storage and maintenance of an adequate stockpile would not have been subject to cost-cutting mandates and a move to just-in-time inventory systems. It would not be subject to political moves to take away its budget. It would just go on, year in, year out, assisting medical providers with emergency supplies stock rotation and providing a backup reserve for their on-site emergency supplies.

    So who is going to propose to create such an endowment, whether local, statewide, or nationally?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 9 Comments »

    Covid-19 moment of truth for our healthcare systems

    Posted by TM Lutas on 5th April 2020 (All posts by )

    The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has crucial data on Covid-19 for planning and it comes with a moment of truth for all Americans. The tide of good times has run out and those states that have built up a Potemkin health care system are now exposed in an undeniable way, in insufficient total hospital beds per million, insufficient total ICU beds per million, and insufficient ventilators available.

    The IHME data is available for download here. You can get to the pretty data projection visualizations here. The link takes you to the national visualization. Click on “United States of America” and you will see a state listing dropdown. They are doing the District of Columbia separately but the territories are missing.

    The state differences are sometimes stark and the worst state in the nation is not Alabama. More to come in further posts.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 57 Comments »

    Dueling Doctors

    Posted by TM Lutas on 29th March 2020 (All posts by )

    In the blue corner, we have the joint statement on multiple patients on ventilators by the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF), American Association of Critical‐Care Nurses (AACN), and American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) which recommends letting people die when spare ventilator reserves run out. And in the red corner, we have the VESper by Prisma Health fresh off of its recent victory to get regulatory approval under emergency use rules to allow ventilators to be used by up to four patients.

    It is triage with its ugly logic of letting patients die vs hope and technical advancement to save everyone, live in the United States at Covid-19 virus hot spots across the nation. This may affect you personally so it is important that you know whether or not the hospital you might depend on to save your life has picked one side or the other in a thoughtful way.

    Everybody could ask the question but it would be better if our press did ask and broadcast the answers. At the time of writing, they’ve had two days to do so. Are you informed on the issue? Are your neighbors? Is your hospital?

    This lack of discussion is the death of journalism. This time ignorance can have deadly consequences for us all.

    Posted in Bioethics, Business, COVID-19, Medicine, Society | 9 Comments »

    Ventilator manifold can quadruple number of people on ventilation

    Posted by TM Lutas on 25th March 2020 (All posts by )

    A paper published in 2014 documents the invention of a ventilator manifold which can lead to up to 4 people sharing a ventilator.

    Ventilator manifold for disaster surge usage

    You can find the paper here and an article describing the invention here.

    Does anyone know the regulation that is stopping us from printing these manifolds and reducing the death toll from a local overwhelmed medical system? A lot of people are rightly worried about our ventilator situation. Something that quadruples system capacity would be a godsend.

    Update: This is deemed a method of desperation with numerous problems that can lead to worse patient outcomes in this joint statement by six US medical associations. They really don’t like it.

    This is not stopping innovators like Prisma Health from developing ways to have multi-user ventilators.

    Update 2: New York has approved ventilator splitting as they purchase 7,000 more ventilators. Federal ventilators are also starting to arrive, all 400 of them.

    Posted in COVID-19, Medicine | 16 Comments »

    How to fix US empty store shelves in 48 hours

    Posted by TM Lutas on 18th March 2020 (All posts by )

    It’s never a pleasant thing to stand up, alone, in the face of a national mania and provide an unpleasant solution. I’ve been putting it off for some time.

    Finally, I’ve had it. Nobody who does this for a living seems to be willing to step up to the plate so I guess I’m stuck doing the job. The free-market solution to excess demand over supply is to raise prices. We are not raising prices to end the empty shelves because the government in various jurisdictions has made it illegal to raise prices in the face of an emergency.

    Nobody has had the courage to say this. Everyone who has taken a basic economics course in the US knows this. This lack of even discussion on how to fix the empty shelf problem is deeply weird and nobody is talking about the odd silence either.

    Update: Kudos to John Stossel who did address this issue (from a different perspective) a few hours prior to my publishing this. His article is here.

    Posted in COVID-19, Economics & Finance, Politics | 30 Comments »

    Blocked by Quora… again.

    Posted by TM Lutas on 19th December 2019 (All posts by )

    I was finally unblocked by Quora earlier today. I was reblocked by Quora two hours later. Below is my appeal note for the benefit of anyone else who may find themselves in this situation.

    I have literally solely asked nine questions since getting unblocked. Which of the nine questions violated any policy? Which policy was violated? If they did not violate any policy, could you please unblock my account?

    The nine questions are:
    1. If Speaker Pelosi does not pass on the impeachment articles to the Senate, when do they expire?
    2. If President Trump wanted to apply for a writ of mandamus to unstall his impeachment if Speaker Pelosi doesn’t pass the process on to the Senate, how would that be done?
    3. Did Joe Biden intervene with the Navy to lessen Hunter Biden’s punishment?
    4. Can you count cards and ‘sell the count’ to the players at the table for a guaranteed profit without actually gambling?
    5. Is not naming House prosecutors (called managers) to prosecute the President’s impeachment a defense of Trump or an attack on him?
    6. Since FISA was passed in 1978, why has it only been in 2019 that an inspector general done a thorough review of a FISA case?
    7. Is the Bloomberg Group’s five million euro fine by a French financial markets watchdog for a lack of journalistic ethics a fair penalty?
    8. What will happen to Puerto Rico’s crime rates now that their gun laws have been radically revamped (effective date 1/1/2020)?
    9. Would you invest in a robot to be rented out for short-staffed factories?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 10 Comments »

    Quora Profile

    Posted by TM Lutas on 18th December 2019 (All posts by )

    Quora is a great Q&A platform that has teething problems. One of them is the character of its moderation. I wouldn’t mind so much except that I get a bit of mad money from them through their Quora partner program. I used to ask questions (paid activity), answer them (unpaid activity), and comment (unpaid activity). After being suspended for two weeks without any actual content being marked as being a problem, I’ve decided to let people know that I am solely changing my behavior because I can’t figure out how to paint within their lines or even figure out where their lines are to determine whether I want to write there anymore. Here’s the profile update in case that goes away.

    I got the message Quora.

    I can be suspended without any answers or comments being moderated and appeals won’t necessarily reverse it. I’m currently limiting my Quora fun to questions until I get clarity on how to participate within the rules and not be subject to sanctions. As in so many other parts of my life, I’m apparently a minority in ways that matter.
    I actually am interested in your answers and only ask questions I have a personal or professional curiosity about. If you would like to discuss my questions, I am generally reachable on social media as TMLutas. My personal email is dbrutus -at- mac -dot- com
    I do ask questions that come in large data sets. Examples of what attracts my attention might include:
    * Who are all these people/groups that the US has sanctions on and why are they there? Do they deserve it?
    * Is this true?
    * What things that people think are constants are actually variables?
    * What are the fixed points of human nature and how do they express themselves?
    I have a personal goal to ask twenty questions a day as it exercises my brain and keeps my thinking from getting too much in a rut. If I can do that inside an hour, I’m upping the number.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 3 Comments »

    SPLC Hate – I

    Posted by TM Lutas on 13th December 2019 (All posts by )

    The Southern Poverty Law Center is the current king of describing hate in the United States of America. But does it do a good job? If the SPLC isn’t fit for purpose, the rot won’t start in listing inappropriate groups. It will inappropriately deal with certain brands of hate or hate ideologies.

    One of the pages on the SPLC website describes hate ideologies. According to the SPLC, there are 20 different ways that Americans hate including the catchall group “General Hate”.

    I didn’t realize hatred was expressed in so few ways. But is hate really expressed in so few ways? In the SPLC telling, whites hate blacks and blacks hate whites. That’s a pretty common result of lived experience. If you receive enough hate, people respond with a hate of their own. The idea that hate only flows in one direction is unnatural and unexpected. You would think that most every long-standing expression of hate would have return fire headed the other direction but that’s not always how the SPLC sees it.

    Misogyny and Misandry naturally pair but only Misogyny (Male Supremacy) gets an entry. Misandry is invisible.

    Phineas Priesthood naturally pairs with Black Bloc as both are not organizations per se but labels describing violent political actions. Black Bloc is invisible to the SPLC.

    Anti-Muslim ideology naturally pairs with Muslim extremism. Muslim extremism is invisible.

    Neo-Confederate longing for the antebellum South naturally pairs for anti-southern bigotry that discriminates against the accent or the address. But the latter is invisible.

    Stuffing hate ideologies down the memory hole is something that the SPLC seems to have significant experience at. How do they pick the ones that are not mentioned?

    I wonder.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 9 Comments »

    Tearing off the Fig Leaf

    Posted by TM Lutas on 27th August 2019 (All posts by )

    In 2019, New York finally did it. They gave up pretending that they can ever run the state under the state constitution and the normal rules of American governance. After pretending since WW II that the state’s housing situation was in a temporary state of emergency started by that war and periodically renewing the state of emergency this year, the rent control and stabilization kept the emergency but got rid of the time limit. The state of emergency is now permanent.

    On pages three and four of the bill, six separate edits make it clear that New York has adopted a permanent state of emergency. There’s no more renewals, no more expirations, no more re-examination, no return to normalcy.

    Most importantly, there is no state Constitutional amendment. The guarantee for just compensation for a taking of property remains. The prohibition of using the government to provide private benefit remains. In a time-limited emergency, such guarantees can be temporarily suspended, but not permanently. The state of New York has been claiming Hitler as their justification for suspending the New York Constitution for decades. No longer.

    Now New York claims the right to suspend their Constitution permanently and to widen the suspension from a few limited districts to the entire state. This is a horrifically bad idea. It’s also probably unconstitutional. But will anyone notice?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 5 Comments »

    Posted by TM Lutas on 24th August 2019 (All posts by )

    Sometimes your eyes can trick you.

    HT: Political Calculations

    Posted in Diversions | 7 Comments »

    A US sanctions bleg

    Posted by TM Lutas on 7th August 2019 (All posts by )

    The US maintains a list of individuals and organizations it sanctions under various programs here. Does anyone out there independently keep track of these individuals/groups and why they’ve been placed on the list?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 3 Comments »

    A short reminder about New York City municipal takeovers

    Posted by TM Lutas on 24th July 2019 (All posts by )

    The New York City Subways were largely built by private enterprise and had private owners. Rides were $0.05. The private owners of the various systems couldn’t keep offering service for that low a price and were discussing raising the fares.

    The city took over the multiple private systems in 1940. The stated reason was in order to save the nickel fare. They did, for seven whole years. They then doubled it to $0.10. The current fare is $2.75 a ride, an inflation of 5,500% from the takeover date of 1940. Annualized over the 79 years that’s 5.2%. Average inflation has been 3.72% over that period of time.

    Mayor Bill DeBlasio just proposed looking into taking over the regional electric company, ConEd which serves the city and Westchester County. His stated reason is to reduce the number of service failures.

    Note: as I wrote in the comments, I asked for someone to check my math. The numbers were recalculated and the verbiage edited. I’ve never thought it was important but I’m not an economist. I’m also not an alumnus of the University of Chicago. I was invited on this blog many years ago as someone “at heart” and have been contributing ever since. The University of Chicago is not responsible for me and I’m not responsible for it.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 17 Comments »

    Fixing the border facility crisis

    Posted by TM Lutas on 4th July 2019 (All posts by )

    It’s useful to review how to fix conditions of overcrowding in a facility. There are two fixes available.

    1. You build more capacity
    2. You increase training and oversight of the personnel running the facilities if they’re not behaving adequately

    Both of these fixes require more money allocated by Congress. It helps when the Executive requests more funding but Congress doesn’t require it.

    Go look at the legislative history. President Trump asked for more funds, Congress turned him down. It wasn’t his own party that denied him, it was the Democratic delegation that was against relief.

    President Trump sought to work around the restrictions by declaring an emergency and using military construction money. It was left wing advocates who went to court to fight Trump, preventing him from building more facilities.

    The left wing solution is to cause so much suffering so that our hearts break and we stop enforcing the law.

    That’s cruel. It’s cruel on purpose.

    Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez alleges misbehavior by camp personnel. She is one of a small select group, just 535 people strong who could directly improve the situation by introducing legislation that would force improvements in behavior. She has yet to introduce any.

    The Congresswoman is a prominent part of the cruelty agenda.

    In a normal country, hard questions would be asked by the mainstream media of those who have recently been part of this cruelty agenda.

    Posted in Americas, Culture, Immigration, North America, Politics | 9 Comments »

    A US political thought experiment

    Posted by TM Lutas on 25th June 2019 (All posts by )

    Resolved: The US needs at least two political parties that can reliably be trusted to hold power without driving the US constitutional settlement into a ditch and risk civil war.

    Query: What are the names of the two (or more) parties?

    You’d think that this would be an easy thought experiment. What do you think is the percentage of the US population who couldn’t readily name two parties they fundamentally trust? Has that number been going up or down over the past decade?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 9 Comments »

    What about Mexico’s border wall with the US?

    Posted by TM Lutas on 12th February 2019 (All posts by )

    If you go to where Mexico meets the US at the Pacific Ocean you will see a curious thing. There appear to be two fences. One appears to be on each side of the border.

    This arrangement is normal and benign. Both countries have their own security needs.

    But there’s a journalistic scandal staring at you right in the face. The US media conversation covers the US fence often enough. I can’t seem to find any coverage of the Mexican border fence. Why is it there? How much coverage does it have? How much does it cost to maintain it?

    The idea of Mexico paying for its own fence along our common border simply doesn’t enter into the US conversation about borders and relations with Mexico. Omitting it does make for simplified narratives, but mostly that’s in the service of laziness. We could do better, but we don’t.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 14 Comments »

    Sometimes silence to a simple question is astounding

    Posted by TM Lutas on 6th February 2019 (All posts by )

    I published a question on Quora.That’s not particularly unusual for me. What was more unusual that I got people following the question (they were interested) but nobody answered the question. That’s not an ordinary occurrence, answers are usually much higher than follows.

    Here’s the question:

    Does your state’s government adequately police against infanticide and how can you tell?

    I would think with the legislation in NY and VA, this would be a question in the hearts and on the lips of pro-lifers everywhere. It’s not like it’s something that the police wouldn’t answer. But nobody seems to want to touch this with a ten-foot pole.

    Why?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 23 Comments »

    The problem of modern socialism

    Posted by TM Lutas on 18th August 2018 (All posts by )

    This is lifted from one of many retyped responses to people who just want to engage in history-free, context-free thought experiments on whether socialism is any good. This particular one came in response to a person who was defending the USSR as a viable method of organizing society.

    “The problem is, and likely will remain for the foreseeable future, that there are wannabee genocidaires who would like to be signing the death warrants for those who resist the advance of socialism. There is no reliable test to separate those evil people from those who haven’t figured out why socialism landed on the ash heap of history and genuinely want to run through what happened, what went wrong, and why so many people died in the pursuit of this idea of implementing the labor theory of value as government policy.”

    If there is a reliable test, I certainly would love to know it. The ignorant are coming out of the US education system by the boatload. The malicious are far fewer than that, but so dangerous that they can’t be ignored.

    Posted in Academia, Economics & Finance, Education, Philosophy | 15 Comments »

    How intellectually rigorous is Vox Day?

    Posted by TM Lutas on 29th June 2018 (All posts by )

    Vox Day is an alt-right figure who is a perfect illustration of why the alt-right needs to be engaged and not just thrown into the outer darkness. He’s accomplished, influential, smart, and cruel. He claims to be interested in the truth. No matter where it leads, he wants to follow and his position is that at the end of any journey committed to the truth, you’ll end up alt-right.

    He is more correct about mainstream western society than mainstream society (left or right) is comfortable admitting. There are sacred cows aplenty in both conventional camps and people do notice them and treat those conventional pieties with the cynicism they deserve. These positions leave an opening for alternative political camps with a greater fidelity to truth. Vox Day is attempting to position the alt-right as a better-enough successor to conventional conservatism in order to reorient international politics.

    But when encountering something he is unfamiliar with, does he have the guts to actually chase it down and educate himself?

    De-russification is largely about Russia’s peripheral states attempting to get people to switch allegiances to the local nation from Russia. It’s very close to classic American melting pot politics. It also appears to be working, something that Vox Day has made claims cannot sustainably happen when talking about the future of the USA.

    So what will Vox Day do when he reads up on the subject? Will he condemn the Baltic states’ efforts and be consistent across societies? Will he reassess the chances for melting pot politics in the USA and attempt to move the alt-right to a different destination? Stay tuned. The man is unlikely to leave the subject permanently unaddressed. It’s too obvious a weak spot for his camp.

    I’m assuming, without any evidence whatsoever, that Vox Day actually is not aware of what de-russification entails. It’s the charitable thing to do. But doing so without following up is not charitable. It is merely foolish.

    Posted in Culture, Education, Politics, Russia | 13 Comments »

    Best thing I’ve read all week

    Posted by TM Lutas on 16th April 2018 (All posts by )

    “What if the Internet interprets Silicon Valley as damage and routes around it?” – Glenn Reynolds

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 30 Comments »

    Harvey Weinstein journalism tip

    Posted by TM Lutas on 11th October 2017 (All posts by )

    Dear journalists, here’s the link to Harvey Weinstein’s IMDB page. For every entry, there are potential questions you could be asking. The man has 331 production credits, 79 credits where he plays himself, and 34 movies which offered screen thanks to the man.

    For example, Piers Morgan used HW as a guest host multiple times over the course of four years. Did he behave himself? Call up each and every one of those 34 movies and ask for comment on HW’s situation and ask if any new prints will continue to offer him thanks.

    The opportunities just go on and on and on. All from one single web page, and I gave the link.

    You’re welcome.

    Posted in Leftism, Media, Politics | 13 Comments »

    Micro-transactions

    Posted by TM Lutas on 6th October 2017 (All posts by )

    It is now possible to convert electricity to money using an Internet browser (like the one you’re likely using to read this post) in amounts lower than $0.001, which is the smallest unit of account for the US Dollar. Jobs earning that amount are constantly available by doing math on your computer that works on supporting open ledger systems called blockchains.

    The product of the math work turns into cryptocurrency fractional coins which, when accumulated in large enough amounts can be sold for dollars, euros, yen, or any other conventional currency around.

    The transaction costs are orders of magnitude lower than in the conventional banking system, enough that large classes of transactions that were impractical are now merely somewhat expensive. There’s a lot of room for efficiency improvements at present.

    You can see an experiment running the first iteration I’m working with this concept at the project blog for Charleston Dry Feet. It’s currently generating litoshi from anyone who visits. Proceeds go to the worthy project of fixing Charleston, SC’s deficient storm water drainage system. You can turn the widget on or off with a button click.

    Posted in Capitalism, Miscellaneous, Tech | 20 Comments »

    Dangerous Math Teachers

    Posted by TM Lutas on 17th September 2017 (All posts by )

    The proposition that logic is a universal, is unitary, used to be something of a consensus position. The idea of universal logic was (and remains) very useful. It meant that one could, without any other shared beliefs, have some sort of conversation with anybody and, if constructed correctly, the conversation would progress and lead somewhere.

    Communism does not believe in the universality of logic. This is why communism keeps coming back. Logical refutations have no effect because they are constructed with bourgeois logic, something that a priori is rejected by communists as an improper lens for examining communism.

    If you don’t care about truth per se and want an indestructible ideology, this weeble like characteristic of not accepting logical refutation is very attractive. This is why ideologies that have no particular opinion on economic class or the proper way to distribute goods and services fall into the communist orbit. Their defects need to be papered over and the communists provide the only available cure for pesky objective, logical examination and refutation.

    In a communist country, teaching logic is both a dangerous act and a necessary act. Without any logic at all society collapses. With a well taught, well formed mind schooled in logic, communism is rejected, which means a trip to reeducation or worse.

    Yet throughout the communist period, math teachers went and taught their lessons including the concepts of logic and how to apply it to students. Philosophically, they were behind enemy lines and entirely within the power of their enemies while they openly taught a major building intellectual concept that doomed the State.

    This is bravery, and almost entirely unrecognized.

    Posted in Deep Thoughts, Education, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Systems Analysis | 26 Comments »

    Triage vs Surge pricing

    Posted by TM Lutas on 27th July 2017 (All posts by )

    Sarah Hoyt’s site has an interesting article entitled The Free Market versus Death Panels. I recommend it in general but it misses one point that I think deserves some examination. There is one exception to the market rule that is so embedded in our social mores that both market and non-market advocates alike pass over it. They shouldn’t. It’s called triage.

    I have never met a free market advocate of medicine who does not recognize and accept non-market allocation in terms of emergency care, specifically when medical treatment systems and personnel are overloaded. When you have 10 operating theaters and 50 people who need surgery, who gets in first and who gets in last? The market would institute surge pricing and let the ill or their care circles sort out how much they can wait. Triage orders it so that the fewest number of people die.

    It’s an important footnote to recognize triage and to explain *why* that limited exception is ok, properly fenced off with limiting principles so the exception doesn’t swallow the rule, and what is the reason we’re all generally ok with triage causing more suffering and against surge pricing.

    First is to note that triage causes excess suffering because it is designed, and functions well at minimizing loss of life at the cost of extending suffering for those condemned to delays in treatment by the triage system. We’ve all made a moral decision that some non-fatal suffering is an acceptable payoff for a reduced fatality count when medical systems are overwhelmed and resources have to be quickly, efficiently deployed to reduce fatalities.

    It’s important to cover these things because they take away all the central planner’s best arguments away from them when you reconcile the free market with triage. Solidarity, the common good, human decency, these are the heartstring appeals of the statists who falsely claim that free market medicine will cause wicked outcomes because the market has no sense of solidarity, the common good, or human decency.

    These statists are wrong. But they have to be shown wrong. Examining triage is a very good way to do it.

    Posted in Markets and Trading, Medicine | 46 Comments »