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Saturday, September 5, A.D. 2009
Levin on Leftists’ Bureaucratic Reason

Auster showcased a Corner post on National Review Online by Yuval Levin that I found characteristically insightful, concise, and true. In it, Levin uncovers the implicit assumptions that operate behind the cases for socialized medicine and against it.

The kind of fallacy of weak induction you see in the panel of experts model (i.e. the error of taking patterns of practice to add up to ideal “best practices”) leads us to ignore the reasons why certain practices cost less or work better in some places or are more popular with doctors and patients in some circumstances. The efficient practices in those Dartmouth studies emerge from the same activity as the inefficient practices: trial and error by doctors and nurses and hospitals trying to do their best for their patients within certain rules. Making information available about what works and what doesn’t would allow people to learn and experiment themselves to find what works in their circumstances, but turning the efficient practices into mandatory rules leaves no one free to experiment, and leaves the system less capable of meeting the needs it exists to serve — which are different in different times and places and are always changing. When the system is left incapable of adjusting, it creates shortages, which leave people waiting for care. That’s how the Soviet Union, notwithstanding its control of the breadbasket of Europe, with some of the most fertile land in the world, suffered food shortages. It’s how Canada, with a very developed economy and a highly educated population, suffers medical-care shortages.

Read the entire post.

Posted by Joseph on Saturday, September 5, Anno Domini 2009
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