Business: a notion unfairly attacked

John Locke

The first thing is to refer to the etymology. Business is non-leisure, the dictionary says “any occupation, job or job”. In a broader sense it refers to a matter and in a narrower it refers to the link with the chrematistic, to the search for a monetary benefit. However, In a free society, in order to survive, each one is forced to attend to the needs of others in order to improve their own situation. In this way it is that all goods and services are produced: those who hit the key with the requirements of their peers obtain profits and those who err incur losses. This is the way to progress, this is the way by which the most evolved societies increase their standard of living. For its part, in this context, the monopoly of force that we theoretically call government is constituted to prevent and avoid injury to the rights of each one.

In a broader plane, everything is done by the personal interest of the acting subject. In this sense, there is no such thing as selfless action. It is a truism truth to maintain that whoever acts does so inexorably because it is in their interest to act in that direction. Mother Teresa was interested in caring for lepers, the one who robs a bank is interested in making the robbery go well and not be punished, the one who sells potatoes is interested in making a profit from the transaction, the one who buys a bicycle He is interested in walking in that gadget, in short, in everything the personal interest is present, which in some cases may be monetary and in others non-monetary. In some cases the end pursued is noble and in others it is base. The quality of people is judged by the objectives they aim for.

On this plot plane, there are two misconceptions that are smuggled in in this analysis. First of all, the gratuity. It must be understood that nothing is free, everything has a cost. In economics we call it an opportunity cost to show that every time we do something we are compelled to stop doing the second thing we would have done in our priorities, which is the cost of action. In everyday life when it is stated that this or that thing should be given “free” it must be clear that someone pays. In this sense, it is common to attempt the magical transformation of the state apparatus into Santa Claus, without realizing that it is always the neighbor who is forced to pay.

The second major misconception lies in the misrepresentation of the law. This proclaims the right to a decent home, the right to carbohydrates and vitamins, the right to an adequate salary, the right to recreation and even the nonsense of the right to the Internet. This vociferation does not take into account that every right corresponds to an obligation. If a person obtains a hundred for his work in the labor market, there is a universal obligation to respect that income, but if that person claims two hundred when he earns a hundred and the government grants that claim, it necessarily means that others will be forced to deliver the difference with him. fruit of their work, which turns the operation into a pseudo right since it damages the right of those others.

Both bizarre ideas – that of supposed gratuity and that of pseudo rights – overthrow civilized institutional frameworks and therefore seriously harm the well-being of all, but especially to the most needy since the waste instead of the use of the always scarce resources undermines the income and wages in real terms more forcefully in the marginal ones since the capitalization rates decrease.

In this journalistic note I focus attention on the issue of doctors, health services, vaccines, laboratories and equivalents who with a high degree of cynicism are intended to live off the air without charging for their services while those who demand such an attitude are dedicated to their private businesses. This certainly does not rule out at all the very meritorious philanthropic works that maintain a close correlation with the climates of freedom. To observe these works everywhere, one only has to go through the United States, a situation that does not exist in Cuba where it disguises itself as a “Welfare State”, a contradiction in terms since, by definition, the force apparatus cannot do charity or charity that means giving up your own resources voluntarily. If I assault my neighbors and give the loot to others, I have not performed a charitable act or a show of solidarity but I have committed a robbery.

Among many others, John Chamberlin in his essay entitled “The disease of socialized medicine” he highlights the resounding failures of the Nordic countries and others in the extent to which they have introduced state health apparatuses and how they have had to abruptly regress in that political decision. In this sense, for example, there is a book – unfortunately not translated into Spanish – in which twenty-one professionals have published meticulous studies on the serious and very alarming problems that invariably arise in public health areas. The work bears the suggestive title of Politicized Medicine and is edited by the Foundation for Economic Education.

Thomas Szasz
Thomas Szasz

At no time does this mean failing to recognize the invaluable effort and remarkable capacity of doctors, doctors, nurses and nurses in state health centers. It is about understanding the decisive issue of incentives and the “tragedy of the commons” that invariably breaks out because what belongs to everyone does not belong to anyone, it is not the same attitude when one must take care of the accounts than when third parties are forced to pay them. In the aforementioned essays and in many others along the same lines, the mentioned fundamental role of incentives is underlined in the context of the permanent lack of supplies, equipment and resources in general in the midst of the usual and exhausting requests for shifts by part of patients, the deficits reflected in the management and the consequent request for funds from the government administration and the often unfortunate situation of the buildings, all of which does not occur in private sanatoriums because the enterprise that is not supported by the people disappears.

So what should be done is to sell all the state health centers, eventually to the same team of doctors, doctors and administrative personnel who operate them with all possible facilities. Politicization and the use of force should not take place in such a sensitive and important area. I imagine that no attempt will be made to argue the absurdity of not proceeding accordingly because others do not, saving the distances is similar to when the urgent need to abolish slavery was maintained, it was answered that on the planet that system was extended by thousands and thousands of years. Entanglement with the status quo cannot lead to mental dullness of that magnitude. No progress would have existed if there had not been a first that went out of the ordinary and questioned the existing.

And for people with health problems but without sufficient income, as a transition measure, until other substantive measures can be adopted, apply vouchers, that is, credits from third parties so that these patients can be treated efficiently. There is here a it does not follow, namely: From the fact that some must finance the health of others, it does not follow that there must be state health centers, since the patient will select the private entity that works best for him. Subsidizing demand instead of supply radically changes the situation as all management incentives change its course for the foregoing of the tragedy of the commons (a modern denomination that Garret Hardin named it in the magazine Science but which in practice goes back to Aristotle in his refutation of Plato’s communism).

Medicine does not operate independently of the nature of things, prices are irreplaceable signals to know where to invest and where to divest. In a pandemic, the worst thing is that governments try to control prices because the inevitable result is the lack of the medicine or service in question. By forcibly setting prices below market prices, demand increases and supply contracts. The same phenomenon occurs with mutual health insurance companies or medical services in general, with the aggravation that it is intended to incorporate by force candidates who have not contributed to the service, which crumbles the whole idea of ​​insurance. These acute problems arise due to the aforementioned misunderstanding of the law and the false gratuity and, furthermore, when a new procedure appears, the state apparatuses usually flatten prices, which delays the result and in some cases eliminates the beneficial novelty.

In other words, from the fact that there are doctors who treat patients without seeking monetary compensation, as stated, it does not follow that it is a profession that must live off the air. We reiterate the hypocrisy of those who dedicate themselves to their personal businesses and seek gratuity from the doctors. It also reveals great hypocrisy to demand care free of charge “for the importance of human rights” while many endorse and subscribe to the extermination of human life in the womb with the unprecedented pretense of violating the Hippocratic oath, which they also want others to pay. by force with the fruit of their labors.

Surely imbued with the best intentions and purposes, Pope Francis once again undertook it against the market in his Mass on December 24 of this year in which he prayed that “the law of the market does not prevent vaccines from reaching everyone”, which reveals the superlative misunderstanding of the meaning of the market process and how devastating it is to imitate the statist recipes of those African republics and their equivalents where disease and famines are common because the market is unknown, which is another way of saying that the requirements of the market must be ignored. people. Before this Pope, among so many denunciations against the foundations of a free society, had referred to money “as the devil’s dung” without paying attention to the incoherence of the traditionally corrupt Vatican Bank. In the field of health, it is as reiterated, among others, by the distinguished physician-psychiatrist and professor emeritus Thomas Szasz: “The most forceful thing that can be done to destroy the health of the most vulnerable is for governments to intervene in the prices of medicines and medical equipment, violating the market, since it necessarily causes artificial shortages and manifest deterioration in the quality of service. Proceeding in that direction is criminal. “

In summary, the demonization of the business leads to the closure of free and voluntary contractual arrangements on which the open society rests, which does not mean ignoring that there are also traps and fraud in the private sector that must be punished in the field of Justice, But the solution is not to eliminate incentives for progress, just as it would not be wise to eliminate automobiles with the idea of ​​avoiding traffic accidents. Once again we emphasize that in the field of cheating and fraud there are those who play it as entrepreneurs but who base their operations on privilege, gift and captive markets as a result of their smelly alliances with the power of the day with which They exploit their fellow men miserably, whether in the medical area with the appearance of social works or with any other disguise or in whatever area, the path of these assailants must be blocked. These are not business but negotiated that naturally their perversion turns them into a completely different nature

Generosity only takes place with one’s own, without private property there is no such thing as generosity. The prolongation of life and the quality of it are the direct result of medicine and medical research insofar as they have been able to develop in a climate of freedom. Let us also remember the formidable task that so many medical professionals have performed in the area of ​​social sciences, as has been the case of the one who was nothing less than the father of liberalism: the doctor John Locke.

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