donderdag 17 december 2009

Mijn IHS aanvraag

Je kreeg 8 standpunten - 4 liberaal en 4 niet liberaal - en daaruit moest je 1 kiezen waar je akkoord mee ging (en uitleggen waarom) en 1 waar je niet mee akkoord ging (en uitleggen waarom). Dit is wat ik koos.

Akkoord: Free people are usually able to solve coordination problems through voluntary association and exchange.


A society - and a fortiori an economy - is in essence everyone trying to achieve his own goals using his own means in an institutional setting. (This includes formal institutions like property rights, contractuel freedom, non-agression, etc. but also more 'informal' institutions like trust and social capital.) Given any degree of informal institutions, it's always better to have a decentralized decisionmaking process - i.e. everyone gets to decide for his own. (Obviously; this also includes the decisions wether or not to belong to a particular group, company, friendly society, etc.) As the Austrian Economists Hayek & Mises explained; questions of value and knowledge can only be resolved through this process, because economic calculation can only emerge when people are allowed to choose, i.e. to pick one thing over the other. The prices that emerge from this proces, is what makes economic calculation possible and which allows for a lengthening of the structure of production on a economic sound base. Hayek emphasized on top of this the proces of knowledge and the fact that no one can centralize all knowledge (first and foremost the knowledge on evaluation). If one overrides the process of voluntary interaction through the use of coercion, one substitutes the preferences of every individual by the preference of the coercer. Even if he means it well – but because of the nature of the political process, there are good reasons that personal interests take over the public spirited character of government officials – he lacks the knowledge of doing what is right for everyone. Only voluntary action can coördinate truly the trade offs every individual is willing to make. A government is (sometimes) capable of making decisions for everyone, but coercion people in to accepting a decision is not the same as solving a problem.

Niet akkoord: Healthcare is a universal human right, and it is the role of government to ensure that everyone has access to it.

There are several problems with this statement. The first is that declaring something a human right, doesn't make it a human right. Rights are what should guide people in what they ought or ought not to do. If they have a right to it, they are allowed to do it. If they don't, they ought not to do it. There is no guarentee that people behave like they ought to behave – that is up to the judicial institutional setting of a society – but the philosophy of right can only investigate what ought and ought not. Declaring 'health care' as a 'universal right' doesn't guide people in how they ought to behave (or not behave). It's just a policy proposal for government – and nothing else. This discussion is a consequence from the old and mistaken vision that government ought to uphold peoples rights. This caused the confusion that 'what government upholds is a right' instead of 'people have certain rights and we need institutions to make sure other people respect them'. (The mistake is, in essence, that they supported monopolizing this in a government; but there is absolutly no need that this is the work of a monopolistic, coercive organization.) Health care is a good with costs. People have to decide for themself in what quantity and quality they will buy it. Government doesn't need to 'redistribute' because empathy is a endogeneous process in every society – a lot of people want to care about other people. Just like it's not a good thing for the government to take care of our wishes for computers and food, it is not a good thing that the government is responsible for our wishes of empathy and solidarity.

'k denk dat hieruit toch wel blijkt dat ik toch een beetje weet waar het over gaat - niet?

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