MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘quarantining’

What If the Government Has It Wrong? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 21, 2020

What if the COVID-19 virus has run its course and run into natural immunities? What if many folks have had symptom-free episodes with many viruses and are now immune from them? What if the government refuses to understand this because it undermines the government’s power to control us?

What if — as Thomas Jefferson said — the blood of patriots should be spilled on the tree of revolution at least once in every generation? What if we nullify the government that has nullified our rights?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/05/andrew-p-napolitano/what-if-the-government-has-it-wrong/

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What if the government has it wrong — on the medicine and the law?

What if face masks can’t stop the COVID-19 virus? What if quarantining the healthy makes no medical sense? What if staying at home for months reduces immunity?

What if more people have been infected with the virus in their homes than outside them?

What if there are as many credible scientists and physicians who disagree with the government as those who agree with it? What if the government chooses to listen only to scientists and physicians who would tell it what it wanted to hear? What if the government silences scientists and physicians, and even fires one, who attempt to tell it what it didn’t want to hear?

What if the government wants to stoke fear in the populace because mass fear produces mass compliance? What if individual fear reduces individual immunity?

What if a healthy immunity gets stronger when challenged? What if a pampered immunity gets weaker when challenged? What if we all pass germs and viruses — that we don’t even know we have — on to others all the time, but their immune systems repel what we pass on to them?

What if the COVID-19 virus has run its course and run into natural immunities? What if many folks have had symptom-free episodes with many viruses and are now immune from them? What if the government refuses to understand this because it undermines the government’s power to control us?

What if government orders to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to accept the sick and contagious are insane? What if the same government that micromanages nursing homes and assisted living facilities knows that they are not hospitals and are not equipped to cure the sick or contain contagion?

What if the government makes health care decisions not on the basis of medicine or human nature but statistics? What if reliance on the government’s statistics has made many folks sick?

What if we’d all be healthier and happier if we make our own choices with our own physicians rather than the government making choices for us? What if it is un-American for the government to tell you how to care for yourself? What if it is equally un-American for you to follow the government when it intrudes into your personal choices?

What if the Supreme Court has ruled many times that your health care decisions are private, personal and to be made between you and your physician? What if the Supreme Court has also ruled many times that your private health care decisions are none of the government’s business?

What if we never elected a government to keep us free from all viruses, but we did elect it to keep us free from all tyrants? What if the government — which can’t deliver the mail, fill potholes, stop robocalls, or spend within its income — is the last entity on earth into whose hands we would voluntarily repose our health for safekeeping? What if the government won’t admit that its understanding of science is colored by politics?

What if the government has misunderstood its mandate? What if the government thinks it can do its job by keeping us safe but unfree? What if — according to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence — government’s first duty is to safeguard our rights? What if there is no legal basis for the government to keep us at home or to close our businesses?

What if the government gave itself the power to interfere with our personal choices? What if that self-imposed power violates the basic constitutional principle that the government derives its powers from the consent of the governed? What if no one consented to a government that interferes with our personal choices? What if our personal choices to take personal chances have never needed a government permission slip?

What if the Constitution was written to restrain the government? What if all in government — local, state and federal — have taken an oath to uphold and comply with the Constitution?

What if the government decrees that liquor sales are essential but clothing sales are not? What if the government decrees that abortions are essential but orthopedic surgery is not? What if the government decrees that music stores are essential but the free exercise of religion is not?

What if these decisions about what is essential and inessential are for individuals — and not for the government — to make?

What if to the barber or short-order cook or retail sales person a barbershop and a luncheonette and a clothing store are essential? What if to those who love God, the free exercise of religion is essential?

What if the government makes essential whatever serves its friends, enhances its wealth, maintains its stability and removes obstacles to its exercise of power? What if the Constitution — with its protections of our rights to make free choices — is an intentional obstacle to governmental power?

What if America’s founders and the Constitution’s framers chose liberty over safety? What if the government doesn’t like that choice? What if the government only nominally endorses it?

What if — when the pandemic is over — the government remains tyrannical? What if — when the pandemic is over — folks sue the government for its destruction of life, liberty and property only to learn that the government gave itself immunity from such lawsuits? What if — when the pandemic is over — the government refuses to acknowledge its end?

What if — as Thomas Jefferson said — the blood of patriots should be spilled on the tree of revolution at least once in every generation? What if we nullify the government that has nullified our rights?

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Why We Need Free Markets To Fight Pandemics | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on March 24, 2020

But what if I told you that none of that was true? What if I told you that all you need in this situation is what you need every day in a free society: prices that can rapidly and easily adjust to changes in supply and demand?

Allowing prices to work in healthcare is of the most vital necessity. Rather than the crude strategy of canceling care not considered “urgent” while stockpiling resources in preparation for the worst, it is better to allow resources to be directed to where they are most needed via the price mechanism.

https://mises.org/wire/why-we-need-free-markets-fight-pandemics?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=934aaa93c0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-934aaa93c0-228343965

The natural response in the face of a pandemic like the one we are experiencing today with COVID-19 is to take immediate and direct action to curb the crisis. We are told we need to have extensive quarantines, citywide lockdowns, and shelter-in-place orders. We supposedly need to limit the number of goods people can buy so they don’t hoard them up, and definitely keep prices where they are at so people can afford to get what they need. Hospitals and clinics must cancel surgeries and new treatment plans to ensure that they are prepared for the waves of patients catching the illness. Restaurants need to switch to takeout models! Stores need to switch to online-only, close their retail establishments, and prioritize important shipments! Government needs to make sure everyone does what they should to ensure we all make it out alive!

But what if I told you that none of that was true? What if I told you that all you need in this situation is what you need every day in a free society: prices that can rapidly and easily adjust to changes in supply and demand?

I can almost hear teeth grinding and fists shaking in response, with exclamations that I must not care about my fellow man. But hear me out as I walk through the effects that such prices would have.

Let’s start with what has occurred so far. People have flooded grocery stores to stock up on everything from canned goods to toilet paper, emptying the shelves in the process. Hospitals and clinics have, “in line with CDC guidance” (this phrase is ubiquitous), canceled various appointments and planned treatments or surgeries. Amazon has limited third-party shipments to its warehouses to “high-demand” items. Increased remote work has crashed remote coordination services.  Governments everywhere have engaged in various levels of forced quarantining and shut down numerous businesses or ordinary ways of doing business.

None of these effects or approaches of mitigation and avoidance are a problem per se. Much of this would naturally be done in response to a pandemic and the effects on demand would be similar. But what can be said is that such measures are taken crudely and mostly blindly in the absence of free prices.

The empty shelves would not be so prevalent were prices allowed to rise in contradiction of governmental laws against “price gouging.” Such a result would lead to natural rationing by consumers and would incentivize the ramp-up of production of goods in high demand. At current prices, it is true that some companies could potentially bear a short-term loss to increase production as a charitable endeavor. However, marginal producers (and even nonmarginal ones as the crisis continues) will only be able to ramp up production, even temporarily, if the prices rise.

A rise in prices informs producers of shifts in relative demand. That hypothetically the price of milk does not rise as much as the price of eggs or canned beans is a vitally important piece of information that cannot be conveyed through empty shelves alone. Rising prices would induce makers of the latter goods to expand production much more than producers of the former, and they would also encourage new entrants to prioritize accordingly.

We can observe the same mechanism at work in price drops, which are normally allowed to happen. The decreased demand for certain goods, such as tickets to events, flights, or crowded dine-in restaurants, signals these industries to find alternatives. These may include restaurants shifting to a takeout model, closing their main dining areas for the duration of the crisis, as has occurred in some places, or turning those dining areas into temporary warehouses for needed items (though this option seems foreclosed due to frozen prices disincentivizing the additional production that would make this helpful). Firms may also temporarily shutter their doors and send their workers into the labor force as potential temporary employees in areas that need them to produce vital necessities. (Instead, the government approach has been to propose bailouts and universal income checks while in some cases mandating the clear waste of resources.)

Price changes also differ by location, which naturally encourages the market to focus on the hardest-hit areas. A pandemic will not hit the entire country all at once, and although it may seem obvious (particularly at first) which areas are the worst off, the information that prices convey is vital to determining what the actual needs are. It may be that Seattle and New York City are the worst hit right now, but that alone does not tell you that Seattle is really needing ventilators while New York is short on nurses.

Allowing prices to work in healthcare is of the most vital necessity. Rather than the crude strategy of canceling care not considered “urgent” while stockpiling resources in preparation for the worst, it is better to allow resources to be directed to where they are most needed via the price mechanism. Regulations restricting the supply of care, including the construction of new facilities, the licensing of existing ones, and the number of people allowed to be licensed should be suspended (or, better, repealed). High prices for care, particularly for specialized laborers such as doctors and nurses, would invite the sector to expand its capacity by accepting med school trainees or professionals with lapsed licenses as temporary employees. High prices for emergency coronavirus care, particularly if permitted to be higher in the worst-off regions, would induce medical professionals to temporarily switch specialization and move to areas where they can do the most good. People taken in from shuttered businesses might be able to provide basic care and monitoring with minimal training, allowing those with more specialized training to prioritize the care that needs it most.

Insurance companies facing these high emergency costs would be heavily incentivized to come up with additional ways to mitigate the risk of spreading the illness. Tests that people could take at home and drop off at collection points, for instance, might allow for testing to be done without queues of potentially sick people that will almost certainly be sick when they get done. Even payments (and possibly delivery of necessities) to at-risk patients to incentivize a self-quarantine would be possible. And, most importantly, there are likely very many other possibilities that I, as a single person, have not and might not even be able to come up with. This kind of innovation and adaptation can only be optimally handled by entrepreneurs responding to changing prices, not central planners, no matter how intelligent, knowledgeable, or well intentioned.

The free market price system allows for the rapid and intensive reallocation of resources that is necessary in a crisis scenario like a pandemic. What needs to be done in such a crisis is not to attempt to steer the market to ensure that it provides what is needed (this approach is almost guaranteed to make the situation worse than it has to be), but to let it free to do what it always does: match the goals of entrepreneurial producers with the needs of the populace.

Originally published at disinthrallment.com.

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