Debt Is Good, Poverty Is Good, Ice Cream is Evil

ice-cream vans

Three things…

The NHS will most likely die before it retires

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) celebrated its 65th birthday this week, but it has been revealed that the world’s most revered example of socialised health care will face a £30 billion funding ‘gap’ by 2020. In an interview with Health Service Journal, Tim Kelsey, NHS England’s information director and a former Cabinet Office adviser on data, declared: “We are about to run out of cash in a very serious fashion.”

Anyone want to bet that the NHS will still be around in another 65 years as a government controlled organisation? Or even thirty years? Not me. Government monopolies on the provision of services as valuable to society as health and medical care are harmful and unsustainable in the long-run.

How government regulation makes you poorer (much poorer)

Earlier this year North Carolina State University conducted a study on the effects of federal regulations on overall economic output in the U.S over the last fifty years. The study concluded that:

“Regulation’s overall effect on output’s growth rate is negative and substantial. Federal regulations added over the past fifty years have reduced real output growth by about two percentage points on average over the period 1949-2005. That reduction in the growth rate has led to an accumulated reduction in GDP of about $38.8 trillion as of the end of 2011. That is, GDP at the end of 2011 would have been $53.9 trillion instead of $15.1 trillion if regulation had remained at its 1949 level.

Let that sink in for a moment. Each American would be three times wealthier now if it wasn’t for the explosion in government regulations since World War II. Imagine American society three times wealthier; it certainly wouldn’t have 140 million Americans on food stamps like there is today, or only half of adults with a full-time job. The consequence of federal regulations on American society has been to effectively prevent the eradication of poverty; a problem both sides of the political divide claim to wish to (and to know how to) solve. Just tragic.

“Sure, you’re three times poorer than you should be, but you’re actually better-off in a world of government regulations”, Says the intellectual, the policy-maker and the politician.

Bertrand Russell once said: “there is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.” He was correct. We’re at a stage now where the unintended and quite disastrous effects of government monopolies and regulations are impossible to ignore, yet the vast majority beg for more.

Evil ice cream

In certain areas of central London there are these black litter bins with LCD screens on the side, which display various information such as headlines, weather, travel news etc. Yesterday evening as I walked home from work I saw one display a message that read something like:

“Ice cream vans and other vendors are not authorised to operate in City of London. If you see one please call…”

I shook my head in quiet disbelief as I passed. Only a few weeks ago I bought an ice cream from a van that was parked on Tower Bridge. After scooping all the change out  of my wallet and realising I was 20 pence short I was about to walk away, but happily for me the young lady serving decided the exchange was worth while. Yum! She valued all the change in my wallet (even though it was slightly less than what someone else would have paid) more than retaining x amount of ice cream, and I valued the enjoyment of an ice cream more than anything else I could have done with all the change in my wallet. Throughout the day of course many other people had also gained pleasure from consumption of the frozen treats provided by this vendor in a convenient location.

According to the Law, however, this interaction was harmful to society and should not have taken place. Instead of doing business with the vendor I should have contacted the authorities and enabled them to administer the appropriate punishment against the unauthorised vendor, thus making the world a better place.

Society’s descent into madness continues…

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