Priceless in a really sad way.

When what you produce is a mass extinction event just so you can think you're great, you're really just $#!+.

Delta_G: It's not a blank philosophical question either. This is the basic philosophical dilemma between capitalism (the rich man can have what he can afford regardless of what the poor man has) or communism (we all get the same no matter what). There is no option where you don't have to take something from someone if your goal is to make things fair.

In my opinion pure capitalism and pure communism are both doomed to fail, but you don't need to make a binary choice between two extremes.

In Sweden if a man fathers a child he can get a year off with pay and his job will be there when he gets back. He also does not need to take the year when the child is born but can take it when the child is a bit older. Obviously the Swedish state pays but they feel it benefits their society and makes for a healthier happier population.

As far a health goes Capitalism and Insurance are about the worst way anybody could chose to fund medicine. It is expensive and stresses people at a time when they are ill. Insurance always has levels, exclusions, limits etc. Capitalism does not fund research into diseases of the poor, nor will it risk the large sums needed to possibly manage to bring new antibiotics to market.

As for chosing whether a poor man gets treatment or not; in general in an emergency it is all hands on deck, if you cut your arm off they will try to sew it back on. The problem is if you need expensive long term drugs or treatment. Then it is experts who decide if the treatment (not the person) is worth funding. Society as a whole decides if the funding is at a high enough level.

As for using hydraulics I have never seen a hydraulic light bulb so I think life would be limited without electricity and distribution would be a problem, though we do have piped water. However in Sweden a long time ago they found some very good iron ore deposits. The problem was that the mines kept flooding and they could not pump the water out (this is before the days of steam engines). The Swedes were good at using rivers to power machinery but the rivers were miles from the mines. They found a solution though. They built mechanical energy transmission lines!!! They built water wheels and then miles of wood levers made of large beams which transmitted the the mechanical energy to the mines to drive pumps.

In the Uk, there were many hydraulic power systems. steam engines raised water to tanks on top of towers, and pipes ran to various factories in the area to power the machinery. Here's just one example http://www.whatsinwapping.co.uk/wapping-hydraulic-power-station/

ardly: In Sweden if a man fathers a child he can get a year off with pay and his job will be there when he gets back. He also does not need to take the year when the child is born but can take it when the child is a bit older. Obviously the Swedish state pays but they feel it benefits their society and makes for a healthier happier population.

But we were talking about fairness. How is this fair to the person who has no children? Or worse yet, the one who can't? He or she has to pay extra in taxes to subsidize years off for their neighbor who has 6.

Delta_G: But we were talking about fairness. How is this fair to the person who has no children? Or worse yet, the one who can't? He or she has to pay extra in taxes to subsidize years off for their neighbor who has 6.

It is perfectly fair. Why should the neighbour who clearly has no problems with fertility subsidise the couple next door to have IVF. Why should somebody in good health pay for somebody else to have a lung transplant and then expensive immune supression treatment for life.

The reason is because no individual knows what fate has in store for them and the best thing for society and even individuals is to provide a "reasonable" level of collective care. Society decides what is reasonable. In Sweden they obviously think that looking after children will make for a better society and possibly even save them money; less marriage breakups, better adjusted children, less crime.

Some people seem to fixate on the idea that people will abuse the system but in reality I think abuse is really very small.

Take your example of births. As well as fantastic parental leave Sweden has one of the safest maternity systems in the world. You would expect a booming population and it does indeed have one of the highest birth rates in Europe but it is only 1.85 births per woman, so hardly excessive. Somebody having 6 children would be helping them keep their population stable!

There will always be some wastage in any system through abuse but it makes no sense at all to spend ten times the amount to avoid it and make everybody less happy in the process.

raymw:
In the Uk, there were many hydraulic power systems. steam engines raised water to tanks on top of towers, and pipes ran to various factories in the area to power the machinery. Here’s just one example http://www.whatsinwapping.co.uk/wapping-hydraulic-power-station/

I was expecting people to ask is it April 1st.
You are still going far too high tec. though.
Think pre-steam, think wood, think 1500s.

Here is a Swedish Stangenkunst

I have been thinking about mechanical light bulbs. They might actually be possible. If you throw in a bit of chemistry is there any reason you cannot convert mechaninical energy into light by mixing, compressing or pounding some alchemic mixture. It would be very inefficient and the bulbs would be big but it might be possible :slight_smile:

SwedishStangenkunst.jpg

It is perfectly fair.

I saw your argument that you think it is a good thing, but none of that made it sound fair.

Take the smoker who’s lung cancer we’d be subsidizing. Why should I pay for something he knowingly did to himself? If you want to smoke that’s your business but deal with the consequences yourself. I like to spend my money on useful things and some old codger with lung cancer because he was too stupid to quit smoking doesn’t sound like a good investment to me.

And I’m all for this stuff if you want it. If you think paying for old smokers to get chemo is helpful to society then go find old codgers to save. The thing I have issue with is the idea that you’re going to force everyone by threat of law to pay for the old codgers lung cancer. That’s the part I don’t like. If you want to pay it hen you go pay it. It’s not something I want to buy.

See in the US even with our messed up system, nobody stops you from finding old men that have ruined their health and rewarding them with money and longer lives. It’s just that you do it with your own money and not other peoples money.

And until I see people doing that then I don’t actually believe you’re actually that dedicated to the cause.

Delta_G: I saw your argument that you think it is a good thing, but none of that made it sound fair.

Take the smoker who’s lung cancer we’d be subsidizing. Why should I pay for something he knowingly did to himself? If you want to smoke that’s your business but deal with the consequences yourself. I like to spend my money on useful things and some old codger with lung cancer because he was too stupid to quit smoking doesn’t sound like a good investment to me.

Ah, so you don't smoke, don't drink, don't overeat, don't drive, don't do sports, don't work in a long list of risky occupations, don't have sex, don't have a medical history, don't have parents with a medical history. In short don't have a life. Well in that case medical insurance is perfect for you because you don't need it :)

The old codger may have lung cancer but he may have got it from asbestos not smoking and either way being old he has probably paid a fair bit in tax and probably will not last long. A newborn with a congential defect may be a far worse "investment" as you put it.

It is not a case of betting on or investing in individuals. What you should be doing is looking at the mass statistics and saying what is the most economical way of ensuring that I and the people important to me get a good level of care when they need medical attention - because you and they will need it.

ardly: Ah, so you don't smoke, don't drink, don't overeat, don't drive, don't do sports, don't work in a long list of risky occupations, don't have sex, don't have a medical history, don't have parents with a medical history. In short don't have a life. Well in that case medical insurance is perfect for you because you don't need it :)

Where did I say any of that? I never said that there was no risk in my life. Only that I take my own responsibility for the risks I create.

I pay insurance on my car because I know it is a risk. I have a friend who doesn't drive and never will (he's blind) and he doesn't have to pay car insurance because he doesn't need it. We still use a risk pool, we just have the contributions set a little more fairly. We charge a little more for the guy who drives the fiberglass sports car because he's a lot more likely to get hurt in that thing. We were all smart enough to not drive something like that. But in his calculation it is worth it.

That's the rub. Each man gets to calculate his own risk. The guy with the Corvette gets to have the thrill of driving the 'Vette, but he also pays the additional cost of the risk. That's fair. He got the benefit AND paid the cost. If I am going to nationalize his risk and say that we all have to pay extra for the Corvette guys, then are they going to let me take a spin in it whenever I want? If I share the risk, do they also share the benefit?

The old codger may have lung cancer but he may have got it from asbestos not smoking and either way being old he has probably paid a fair bit in tax and probably will not last long.

That's a lot of may haves and probablys. I'd rather take that on an individual basis than to just pass a law that says everybody gets one.

A newborn with a congential defect may be a far worse "investment" as you put it.

May be. I know that feels bad emotionally, but what is the real cost-benefit to society? Since that and not fairness seems to be where the metric has shifted. Those kind of decisions need to be made logically.

It is not a case of betting on or investing in individuals. What you should be doing is looking at the mass statistics and saying what is the most economical way of ensuring that I and the people important to me get a good level of care when they need medical attention - because you and they will need it.

I think your failure isn't in the allocation of this medical resource, but in your thinking it a necessity. Mankind has always quested for immortality, and he has always paid the ultimate price for it. All this new-fangled medicine is just setting you people up for failure. Sure you can cure a few things that would have at one time been fatal. You've saved a few people. But you've also created the anti-depressants and the statins and all the wonderful side effects coming from those.

If you want to know what I think makes this world as a whole better then I think all that needs to go. This Earth only really has one big problem and that's that there are WAY too many people on it. And all this stuff that we think is making our lives better is only killing the lot of us faster. And a whole lot of other species with us. No, the answer to making this Earth a better place for the people living on it is not for more people to live here, the answer is for about 80% of those people to stop living on it. The good answer isn't better medical care. The good answer is pandemic.

From a more global point of view I mean. That might suck really bad as an individual. But if you want to take a what's good for society kind of line...

Delta_G: .... That's the rub. Each man gets to calculate his own risk. The guy with the Corvette gets to have the thrill of driving the 'Vette, but he also pays the additional cost of the risk. That's fair. He got the benefit AND paid the cost. If I am going to nationalize his risk and say that we all have to pay extra for the Corvette guys, then are they going to let me take a spin in it whenever I want? If I share the risk, do they also share the benefit? ....

Sorry but you have a very naive view of how insurance works. You are not calculating your own risk. You are paying a premium to ensure that statistically the insurance company makes a profit. You are paying a premium that includes paying for people who do not have insurance.

You don’t have to transmit hydrolic power. A tank can be rolled many miles.

ardly: Sorry but you have a very naive view of how insurance works. You are not calculating your own risk. You are paying a premium to ensure that statistically the insurance company makes a profit. You are paying a premium that includes paying for people who do not have insurance.

Sure but my point is that I have a choice. You have to pay for those that abuse the system either way. But at least here I have a choice of saying that I don't want to drive a car and I don't want to pay any car insurance.

I think the real injustice is in telling an individual that they MUST participate in your system because YOU think it is best. I think forcing people to do things is wrong. I think that the job of a government is to regulate interactions between individuals, not to make certain that no man feels the pain of his own decisions.

You think I have a naive view of the insurance company. I think you have a naive view of a government. You see it as this thing that exists of it's own and can give or take away whatever it wants. But really it's just a document and a bunch of people just like you and me. And it has no more power than any of us to create or destroy. I like a world with a more limited role for the state. I like a world where the state is there to settle disputes between neighbors, but isn't there to force any belief or system down anyone's throat. And if one group wants to get together and be a collective around their health care then they are free to do that. And if someone else doesn't want to participate in that and is OK with not having that access then they are free to do that.

I get what you are saying about paying collectively for health care. I even think it is a good idea. What I don't think is that it is the government's place to mandate it. You don't need a government to make this work. If you want a single payer system then open up a non-profit health insurance company and make your prices so low that everyone gets on board. How is that any different? People pay in the same amount, just to the specific enterprise and not the government at large, so there's no possibility that the money gets diverted to say, bombing people. The same amount of money is available to pay doctors, but there's no bottomless hole of debt to leave for our children if the money isn't there.

All you have to do is find these mythical they people that you think are going to be willing to run that whole thing for no pay and no profit. But if all of y'all really believe in it so much then shouldn't you be willing?

Either way, this doesn't require a law or a government. It's something that you could just do if you really believed in it. And then at least it would be fair. Nobody would be forced to do something against their will.

Delta_G: I pay insurance on my car because I know it is a risk.

Most people pay for car insurance because it is a legal obligation. And the reason for that is the risk that cars pose for other people.

If you don't drive you are not likely to injure someone else with a car.

But just by existing you face all sorts of risks - such as poor health, sports injuries, unemployment etc. These are the things that "welfare" (in the broadest sense of the word) should provide for.

I think your failure isn't in the allocation of this medical resource, but in your thinking it a necessity. Mankind has always quested for immortality, and he has always paid the ultimate price for it. All this new-fangled medicine is just setting you people up for failure. Sure you can cure a few things that would have at one time been fatal. You've saved a few people. But you've also created the anti-depressants and the statins and all the wonderful side effects coming from those.

If you want to know what I think makes this world as a whole better then I think all that needs to go. This Earth only really has one big problem and that's that there are WAY too many people on it. And all this stuff that we think is making our lives better is only killing the lot of us faster. And a whole lot of other species with us. No, the answer to making this Earth a better place for the people living on it is not for more people to live here, the answer is for about 80% of those people to stop living on it.

This part I agree with. And if it implies that we may be striving for too much welfare-health-care then I won't argue against that. The medical industry is just as greedy as the automobile industry and even better at promising things it can't deliver.

I do hope we can solve problems without a pandemic - we certainly have sufficient intelligence to do so. It is the will that is missing. Jared Diamond's "Collapse" is scary reading.

...R

Robin2: we certainly have sufficient intelligence to do so

No, we don't. And thinking we do is what brought us here in the first place.

Evolution has been working its magic for a few billion years all based on the idea of trying a whole bunch of different things and letting the ones that don't work out so well die off. It's heartless, but it works. And now here we come along thinking we're going to make it so that those failed experiments still live and reproduce. And we don't think that will upset the system?

How many people die every year from cancers? All you have to do is open your eyes and see that the prevalence has risen sharply over the last century. You don't think that might have something to do with the amount of long lived radionuclides that we've scattered across the whole of the planet because we once thought ourselves "intelligent enough" to make a weapon that would stop all war.

Delta_G: No, we don't. And thinking we do is what brought us here in the first place.

Evolution has been working its magic for a few billion years

I disagree. The problem is that we are not using our perfectly adequate intelligence to recognise and overcome our destructive evolutionary urges.

That may include the urge to live forever - which is certainly not one of my own goals.

...R

Robin2: I disagree. The problem is that we are not using our perfectly adequate intelligence to recognise and overcome our destructive evolutionary urges.

That may include the urge to live forever - which is certainly not one of my own goals.

...R

The problem is that we think we can out-think it.

Each and every time we have some "smart" idea and try to make things better we just end up bringing about some unintended consequence and things end up worse.

Mother nature doesn't need our "help". Not even to correct the damage that we've done in trying to be "helpful".

Delta_G: The problem is that we think we can out-think it.

Now there you have hit the nail squarely on the head :)

Of course another interpretation is that we don't want to face up to reality - we are most effective deceivers when we deceive ourselves.

...R

Just came across this talk about societal collapse by Jared Diamond on Youtube

...R

Delta_G: But we were talking about fairness. How is this fair to the person who has no children? Or worse yet, the one who can't? He or she has to pay extra in taxes to subsidize years off for their neighbor who has 6.

Do they also live in isolation from society?

Is it fair that the ones who start off well and get support should lord it over the ones who have not? That someone should get paid extremely well because of who they are while others work hard and get far less?

Why does some guy who is killing himself working, dragging down millions a year think that everyone who works for them should work just as hard for less than 60K on average? That is privileged attitude, half-killing yourself should be worth half of millions.