Category Archives: Capitalism

NEW COLUMN: Pandemic, Plague & Protests: Will Chile Join The Shithole Country Club?

Capitalism, Democracy, Economy, Left-Liberalism, Socialism, Welfare

NEW COLUMN IS “Pandemic, Plague & Protests: Will Chile Join The Shithole Country Club?” It’s now on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

An excerpt:

Before the pandemic (coronavirus) and the plague (of locusts) came the protesters.

From the affluent locales—Chile, France, Britain, Hong King, Catalonia—to the impoverished ones—Algeria, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and more; the world was on fire (to borrow from Amy Chua’s brilliant book).

The reasons cited for a world-wide conflagration ranged from the evils of free-market capitalism (the Left) to the “socialist regimes in Cuba and Venezuela” (the Right), to “economics, demography, a sense of powerlessness…and social media.”

Some experts spoke of a “youth bulge” of over-educated young people chasing too few jobs. Or, more like ill-educated youngsters with useless degrees, who thought it chic to don a balaclava and lob hard objects at the police and the property it was protecting.

Chile is the jewel of Latin America. In 2014, it even surpassed the U.S. on the Index of Economic Freedom, ranking 7th to America’s 12th. Since 1990, economic growth in Chile has been as steady as the stability of its institutions. Poverty rates had plummeted and social services had been extended to the needy.

On the right, Pat Buchanan has described Chile as “the country with the highest per capita income and least inequality in all of Latin America.

On the Left—yet still on the side of a competitive market economy—the Economist is agreed. Chile “is the second-richest country in Latin America, thanks in part to its healthy public finances and robust private sector.”

In no-man’s land are the protestors on the streets of Santiago and other cities. What the demonstrators want is unclear. To the extent their inchoate signs and signals can be divined, it would appear that the path the well-to-do Chile will be forced to take is that of less capitalism and more socialism; less of the private sector and more of the state.

Indeed, Chile is beset with protesters determined to bring the elected government to its knees. Many parts of Santiago, the capital, have been boarded up or burned down. The country’s “malcontents” want more state-provided stuff; more health care and more free education and pensions.

It increasingly looks like Sebastián Piñera, Chile’s president, may just be forced “to scrap a system” which appears to have served Chile well. …

READ THE REST … NEW COLUMN IS “Pandemic, Plague & Protests: Will Chile Join The Shithole Country Club?” It’s now on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

* Image is via The Economist

US Has Over 6,000 hospitals. Only 1,300 Are Private For-Profit Institution

America, Capitalism, Free Markets, Government, Healthcare

If you imagined America has a free market in medicine, read “Diagnosis: opaque: Donald Trump wants hospitals to be more upfront about prices”:

The country has over 6,000 hospitals. Only 1,300 or so are private for-profit institutions; the rest are non-profit or government-run. The lack of an overt profit motive has done little to rein in prices, however. Hospital costs have risen at an annual rate of close to 5%, compared with below 1% for drug prices. … Nor has a charitable mission dampened the ambition of bosses at big hospital chains; seven-figure salaries are not unheard of at those with revenues exceeding $500m a year. They have also been on an acquisition binge. The number of deals has jumped from around 55 a year between 2002 and 2009 to 90 or more these days. Since 2018 non-profit hospitals have been the acquirers in three-quarters of the transactions.

How do government-run or subsidized hospitals engage in the capitalistic act of mergers?  They do so on the backs of taxpayers. Profits are privatized; losses are socialized. This is the stuff of cronyism.

Free market medicine we do not have. Before Coronavirus, Trump was looking to reform the nation’s hospitals.

MORE:

“Diagnosis: opaque: Donald Trump wants hospitals to be more upfront about prices”

* Image courtesy The Economist.

There Is More Cronyism Than Capitalism In Corporate America (Boeing? Oink, Oink)

America, Business, Capitalism, Economy, Free Markets, Globalism, Labor, Trade

In “Why Tax Breaks Won’t Stop High-Tech, H-1B Human Trafficking,” I explained how, “The H-1B visa racket,” like so much of the rent-seeking global, corporate America does, “is … a taxpayer-subsidized, grant of government privilege. Duly, profits remain private property. The costs of accommodating an annual human influx are socialized, borne by the bewildered [American] community.”

the corporations that hog H-1Bs act like incorrigibly corrupt rent seekers. Not only do they get to replace the American worker, but they get to do so at his expense.

Here’s how:

Globally, a series of sordid liaisons ensures that American workers are left high and dry. Through the programs of the International Trade Administration, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the International Monetary Fund, and other oink-operations, the taxpaying American worker is forced to subsidize and underwrite the investment risks of the very corporations that have given him the boot.

Domestically, the fascistic partnership with the State amounts to a subsidy to business at the expense of the taxpayer. See, corporations in our democratic welfare state externalize their employment costs onto the taxpayers.

MORE in “Why Tax Breaks Won’t Stop High-Tech, H-1B Human Trafficking.

Now, via Washington Examiner’sWhen foreign airlines go under, US taxpayers could be stuck with the bill” comes quite a positive description of the sordid liaisons and transactions on the backs of American taxpayers:

Subsidizing Boeing jets has generally been the Ex-Im Bank’s main activity. Typically, about 40% of all its financing supports Boeing exports. That’s why the agency has earned the nickname “Boeing’s Bank.”
As a result, airlines in China, Turkey, Bangladesh, Canada, Mexico, and all over the world have benefited from U.S. taxpayer-backed financing to buy Boeing jets in recent years. Many of them still owe their lenders, meaning the U.S. taxpayer is still exposed via the Ex-Im Bank. There’s a decent chance some of those foreign airlines will default on some debt payments. That could result in the Ex-Im Bank having to make the creditors whole.

There is more cronyism than Capitalism in the operation of the giants of corporate America.

UPDATE:  Just desserts.

NEW COLUMN (UPDATED): Unmasking Statist, Socialist Propaganda About ‘Face Masks’

Argument, Capitalism, Democrats, Economy, Free Markets, Healthcare, Ilana Mercer, Political Economy, Propaganda, Reason, Regulation, Socialism, The State

NEW COLUMN is “Unmasking Statist, Socialist Propaganda About ‘Face Masks’. For fans of the site, it’s on Townhall.com, now, but also on WND.COM and The Unz Review, too.

As Townhall.com reader “defendingfreedom” exclaims, “What an excellent article! Interesting information about N95 masks and even better perspective about capitalism vs socialism.”

An excerpt:

Some clear thinking is required to counter incessant, statist propaganda against the use of N-95 filtering facepiece respirators, to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The message has been seconded at every turn by the Center for Disease Control, a cumbersome bureaucracy, which tightly controls both testing capacity and criteria. Such centralization is everywhere and always detrimental to the screening and segregating of the infected, and, ultimately, to disease containment.

The State and the agents of America’s highly centralized healthcare system categorically don’t want the citizen to purchase “face masks.” The surgeon general is already “warning Americans” to stop exercising their sovereignty as consumers and quit buying face masks.

Hence the incessant, near-neurotic discrediting of N-95 respirators, which, by previous CDC accounts, can be protective.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, on its website, the CDC had asks and answered the following question:

“What makes N-95 respirators different from facemasks sometimes called surgical masks?:
“… N-95 respirators are tight-fitting respirators that filter out at least 95% of particles in the air, including large and small particles. … These respirators filter out at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles. … including bacteria and viruses. … [thus reducing] the wearer’s exposure to airborne particles, from small particle aerosols to large droplets.”

By logical extension, properly made and fitted, the N-95 respirator is better than nothing and may certainly be protective. Here’s why:

While the coronavirus is indeed minuscule, smaller than 0.3 microns (likely between 0.1 and 0.2 microns), COVID-19 is delivered in a larger medium of bodily fluids or spray.

Certainly, some barrier to the spittle in which the coronavirus is dispersed is better than none.

No surprise then, that world health authorities can’t seem to get their story straight on masks. At times, they concede “that N-95 face masks are protective.” More frequently, they scratch the proverbial proboscis (ostensibly a sign of lying) and say “No, of course, they’re ineffective.” In other words, “they work for me, the healthcare worker, but not for thee.”

For honesty’s sake, the country’s health-care functionaries might appeal to consumers on the ground of dire shortages. But on the basis that no protection is better than some protection? Please!

In a free society in which the market for goods and services is free, the citizen, not a central planner, decides what purchase is in his best interest.

So, one must be especially stupid to allow a socialist like Bernie Sanders anywhere near the free market, in general, and that for surgical masks, respirators and other pandemic prophylactics, in particular.

Trust me: If the country’s health-care overlords could, they would prohibit people who want to wear N-95 respirators, during the COVID-19 pandemic, from purchasing these.

In their universe, masks are a zero-sum commodity. The more of them sovereign consumers purchase, the fewer remain for healthcare workers.

But that’s not how the glorious free market works.

Provided politicians, especially Sanders, stay out of it, here’s how the market for surgical face masks and respirators will work:

A rise in consumer demand for this product, reflected in empty shelves and relatively higher prices, will galvanize business to hire more workers and produce more of the coveted commodity.

Prices are crucial. They are the street signs of the economy. The thing the socialists will soon insist on controlling (“price-controls”) and suppressing are the vital signs of the economy …

MORE glorious free-market economics in the NEW COLUMN. “Unmasking Statist, Socialist Propaganda About ‘Face Masks’ is on Townhall.com, now, but also on WND.COM and The Unz Review, too.

UPDATED (3/7/020):

Writes defendingfreedom @townhallcom: “What an excellent article! Interesting information about #N95 masks and even better perspective about #capitalism vs. #socialism.”

Writes: I always enjoy Ilana’s writing. She’s so refreshingly honest and says just how it is. This is another pearl of wisdom you need to think about, and ACT on her recommendations.”

“…the primary issue Ilana Mercer raises — the perfidiously mixed messages from the ‘authorities’ regarding the use of #N95Masks — is right on.”

Whereas I’m not a libertarian and the supply/demand/price issues I regard as secondary, the primary issue Ilana Mercer raises — the perfidiously mixed messages from the “authorities” regarding the use of N95 face masks — is right on.

In particular, the CDC & the surgeon general say that “only the infected people should wear them.” But the authorities ALSO say that the incubation period is 2 weeks and that one might be infectious BEFORE exhibiting the symptoms. Meaning that anyone potentially could be infected with Coronavirus AND that therefore everyone might benefit from wearing the mask. How’s this for a contradictory message.

So far I don’t wear a mask and I rely on my immune system, but I despise dishonest and/or incoherent directives from the “Authorities.”

Again, on that score Ilana is 100% correct.

I’m impressed with her courage to deal with politically incorrect topics and to speak the truth

  • I always enjoy Ilana’s writing. She’s so refreshingly honest and says just how it is.

    This is another pearl of wisdom you need to think about, and ACT on her recommendations.