Is medical care a Right?

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Sat Jun 1 17:05:27 EST 1996

On Sat, 1 Jun 1996, Steve wrote:

> In article <shinbrot-3005960853480001 at>, shinbrot at (Troy Shinbrot) wrote:
> >In article <4oj74b$mok at>,
> >Steve.Jungersen at (Steve) wrote:
> >
> >> In article <4oinio$bq2 at>, bgold at (Bert
> >Gold) wrote:
> >> >Steve,
> >> >
> >> >As a community (government we call it when it is working properly)l
> >> >we all determine by our civil codes and understandings,
> >> >who is needy and who is not.
> >> >
> >> >At least, that is what I have always been taught in schools.
> >> >
> >> So, by that logic, if the majority of people decide that they all need a new 
> >> Mercedes, then the minority (who pay the majority of the taxes) will be
> > forced
> >                 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >                                 poppycock
> > 
> >> to buy them all new cars.
> >> 
> >> Sure makes sense to me.
> >> 
> >> Steve
> And just why is this poppycock?  While my wife and I were working multiple 
> jobs to work our way through college, my sister was living in a new house - 
> courtesy of the government - living on welfare, food stamps, and WIC (always 
> giving us milk and juice because the WIC program forced her to get more than 
> she could use).  She and the government felt it was her RIGHT to live in 
> comfort while my wife and I were working and paying taxes while living in a 
> trailor house.  
> Tell me again that the Mercedes situation could never happen!
> Steve

Although I do not believe that human behaviour can be
fully explained by a single simple principle, I think
nonetheless that some simplifications may be useful.

Many natural (e.g. gravitational, electrostatics, fluid,
etc) systems work at the so called extremal principles,
e.g. system attempts to find configuartion in which its
potential energy is the least possible (stable equilibrium).
Likewise, systems obey some version of the 'least action 
principle' (e.g. Fermat principle).

Reading the above example (about welfare), I can think
that humans in there behaviour are minimizinng the 
function  F = B/E, where B means (cummulated) benefits
and E efforts to get them. 

For those who work E might be quite high and hence 
(even B is relatively high), the ratio B/E is not
necessarily that great. For those on welfare E is 
(almost) zero, and hence the ratio F is very high
(even at relatively low B). I wonder if 'think tanks'
understand this simple principle.

Alex Berezin  


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