March 2009 Archives


Reading Craig and Russ:

Some top notch economists insist we have a crisis of trust. True enough. Yet it seems to me that the market is trying to fire quite a number of the poor-judging risk-takers in the financial sector -- basically, those that we cannot trust. However, Mr. Obama and Mr. Geithner appear to be doing a damn fine job keeping them there, I think partly because of successful lobbying, but also because they cannot envision the market and political orders that would ensue should AIG, Citi, BoA, and a host of other international conglomerates suddenly disappear.


BBC's Will Grant is absolutely clueless.

Last week President Chavez ordered troops to rice processing plants after accusing producers of sidestepping the law on controlled prices by producing a higher grade of rice.


Mr Chavez is attempting to reduce the cost of the basic shopping basket of ordinary Venezuelans at a time of soaring inflation, says the BBC's Will Grant in Caracas.

I don't think inflation fighting is an even remotely acceptable explanation. Here, we have Mr. Chavez's military assets seizing other people's productive assets, because they followed the law to the letter. Who will now retain any profits from the use of these assets? Mr. Chavez's government. So who gets immediate benefits from this seizure? Plainly, Mr. Chavez! Will more rice be produced, and at lower cost? The reporter doesn't seem to realize that it doesn't matter. He won't be reporting the actual results of the seizure either way...

But business leaders and food producers are furious at what they see as a further attack on their ability to turn a profit, our correspondent says

Now I get it. We must judge Mr. Chavez not on the morality of means taken, but stated ends. And we simply shouldn't believe what producers say at all.

Access to Healthcare

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It turns out that "access to healthcare" is actually an incredibly complex sociological concept:

Facilitating access is concerned with helping people to command appropriate health care resources in order to preserve or improve their health. Access is a complex concept and at least four aspects require evaluation. If services are available and there is an adequate supply of services, then the opportunity to obtain health care exists, and a population may 'have access' to services. The extent to which a population 'gains access' also depends on financial, organisational and social or cultural barriers that limit the utilisation of services. Thus access measured in terms of utilisation is dependent on the affordability, physical accessibility and acceptability of services and not merely adequacy of supply. Services available must be relevant and effective if the population is to 'gain access to satisfactory health outcomes'. The availability of services, and barriers to access, have to be considered in the context of the differing perspectives, health needs and material and cultural settings of diverse groups in society. Equity of access may be measured in terms of the availability, utilisation or outcomes of services. Both horizontal and vertical dimensions of equity require consideration.

And here I thought "access to healthcare" meant you could get whatever medical services you want, and somebody else would pay for them.


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