Morning Ed: World {2017.10.26.Th}

[Wo1] India and Japan used to be economic peers. What happened?

[Wo2] The NHS continues down the road of reserving care for the virtuous.

[Wo3] If you’re a Neo-Nazi there are an infinite number of good reasons to leave the movement, and here are two.

[Wo4] A look at demographics and diversity in Roman Britain.

[Wo5] I totally like Bulgaria now.

[Wo6] Emmanuel Carrere takes a closer look at President Jupiter. I wish him the best because I wish France the best, but he has already served his purpose and ruling centrists parties are bad so hopefully something gives.

[Wo7] I wonder if this starts glowing in concert with the glowing orb. It would only stand to reason.

[Wo8] Axios looks at independence movements around the world.

[Wo9] Google and Prisoners in Texas come through in a big way in the arena of hurricane recovery.

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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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22 thoughts on “Morning Ed: World {2017.10.26.Th}

    • It’s fixed. (I think Will fixed it.)

      Also, his internet is still pretty borked and yet he continues to do yeoman’s work on everything. So I’d appreciate it, personally, if people would be a bit less snarky in reporting broken links at least until his internet gets fixed again.

      (Note that Will did not approve this message.)


      • No snark intended. I get more than my money’s worth, so I can’t complain. I’m just joking about the fact that he made a mistake with the same link a week or two ago (or the same blurb, anyway; it linked to another story).


  1. Wo2: One issue with universal healthcare that is glossed over by my side is how much care should people with really unhealthy life styles get. A grasshopper and ant feeling is going to kick in and the people with normal or healthy lifestyles are going to feel like they are paying for other people to party.

    The typical answer from my side is that since these things are good for everybody, people should just deal with the shirkers and the abusers of the system. That isn’t how most people see things or feel things. They, somewhat rightfully, feel like they are subsidizing another person’s party hardy lifestyle through their hard work. Nobody likes that.

    One psychological advantage to the everybody pays for their own healthcare approach is that people don’t feel like they are supporting shirkers and abusers. They will feel abandoned in their time of need.


    • I always wonder how things will be parsed out. I’m technically obese (if you go by the strictest BMI definition) but I exercise and strive to eat healthfully. If I needed one of those operations, would I have to go on Medifast in order to get it? And maybe tank my gallbladder in the process? (there is evidence rapid weight loss can lead to gall bladder failure).

      In other words: yes, I’m a “villain” in one area, but I strive to be virtuous in others. (Also, this kind of thing tends to inflame my inner perfectionist: I have wasted a lot of time and agony on “You have so much willpower in other areas of your life, how come you cannot force yourself to become a size 6?”)

      Also, having a kid, well generally regarded as a societal good, tends to be expensive. I haven’t had a kid. Could I use that as proof to “offset” the fact that I’m obese and so supposedly “cost” them more? (I rarely make my current health insurance deductible in a given year: two internist visits, one gyn visit, prescriptions for allergies and low-grade hypertension…)

      I dunno. I get that even in the NHS type countries there is often a private option and I guess that’s how I’d have to go, if I needed a knee replaced or something.


      • To be fair, using the healthcare system as a tool of virtue enforcement seems to be limited to the United Kingdom. I haven’t heard of similar stories from Canada, France, Germany, or anywhere else. They might exist but it really seems to be a British disease.


        • Given the fact that my state now uses tobacco-settlement money to produce ads shaming parents for allowing their children to drink soda with sugar in it, I would not be surprised if we developed it as well, if we went to single-payer.

          Already my insurance provider wants permission to needle me about my high blood pressure (guess what, guys: nagging me will make my hypertension worse) and other things and I DON’T NEED THAT. I am aware I’m too fat and I sometimes eat things with sugar in them and I don’t handle stress as well as I might, but someone constantly reminding of that will only make it worse.


          • Yeah, I mean some of this is attributable to general mood, I’m sure, but the Tories really do seem to be stoking that mood deliberately.

            And really, let’s make sure that those 22% or so of obese people are also more stressed, more ashamed, and unable to get medical care. I’m sure that will really improve the shit out of their health outcomes.


    • They, somewhat rightfully, feel like they are subsidizing another person’s party hardy lifestyle through their hard work.

      There is probably a threshold for when it’s a problem. If, say, 5% of the population is unhealthy (perhaps willfully so), most people would not care unless it was shown that they were consuming vast amounts of healthcare resources. The article states that 22% of the UK is obese[1], so that number might be above a threshold where now people do feel put upon.

      [1] Ignoring for the moment that the definition of obese via BMI has some significant issues.


      • Ignoring for the moment that the definition of obese via BMI has some significant issues.

        Eh…not as much as is commonly claimed. “Overweight” can catch some men who are relatively lean with high muscle mass, but building enough muscle mass to put your BMI over 30 without having excess body fat is, without steroids, extremely difficult for men, and pretty much impossible for women. If your BMI is over 30, there’s a 99+% chance you have substantially much more body fat than is ideal.

        In practice, the bigger problem is that sedentary people can have low enough muscle mass and bone density that they can have BMI in the “healthy” range (18-25) but still have unhealthy levels of body fat. This is an especially big problem in Asian countries, where diabetes rates are higher than you would expect based on BMI distribution alone (e.g. China and India have diabetes rates about 90% as high as the US’s).


    • FWIW in Canada most people think like you . Which is not to say the other view doesn’t exist, but it’s socially frowned upon.

      I think part of it may be how people are feeling otherwise, which has a lot to do with the political/media narratives in play.

      Canada rejected the “we’re all being put upon” narrative when they ousted Harper, and now they have a “we look after each other” narrative (one I’m familiar with from my youth both during and after Mulroney).

      The UK has a lot of politicians/media pushing Brexit, pushing anti-immigration, pushing pushing, and I think the “oh, fat people are bad for sucking up my cash and morally wrong for expecting me to look after them” narrative is part of that package. From what I can see that narrative mostly works because the economy is depressed and pols are more interested in getting elected than in fixing anything, but I’ll freely admit I haven’t really studied it.


    • Wo2: One issue with universal healthcare that is glossed over by my side is how much care should people with really unhealthy life styles get. A grasshopper and ant feeling is going to kick in and the people with normal or healthy lifestyles are going to feel like they are paying for other people to party.

      This is true, but it’s also mostly a non sequitur to the issue of how best to fund health care. As points out below, it’s not that smokers and the obese are presenting an undue burden to the system. In fact, the system may be most heavily taxed by the most virtuous (i.e. the people with the right combination of lifestyle, genetics and luck to live the longest).

      The conversation about excluding those who lack virtue is really a conversation about whom it is socially permissible to set up as a scapegoat.


    • LGBT politics plays differently in continental Europe than it does in the Anglophone West because of how LGBT rights developed. There really wasn’t a big Christian opposition in Continental Europe like there was in the Anglophone World because most of Europe was really secular by this time. This took away a lot of the culture war aspects of LGBT rights and didn’t place the LGBT community firmly on the Left-Liberal side. It wasn’t all harmony but you didn’t have Pastors and Priests routinely denouncing homosexuality to big audiences either.

      This allowed homosexuals in Continental Europe more political freedom and didn’t weld them firmly to the left-liberal side. Many of them got involved with the anti-immigrant Far Right in Continental Europe because they perceive overtly religious and very socially conservative Muslim immigrants in the same way that LGBT people perceive Evangelical Christians in the Anglophone World.


  2. The inset box in the NHS article describes the sources of the cost crunch – the top 2 were: more old people and cuts in supportive services so fewer people can be supported at home so they end up in the hospital even thought they don’t need to be there.

    So 2 obvious solutions are: require old people to get younger and adequately fund supportive services.


  3. In other news in the world: New Zealand to ban foreign buyers snapping up existing homes

    My preferred policy is that people who buy a home should be able to do what they want with it, but there seems to be an increasing amount of home-buying as an investment by non-residents of a country. Traditionally, its the use of the property that is restrained when it interferes with other uses, but we have the problem of non-use of unique property. I guess I would prefer property taxes to provide the disincentive to non-use.


    • Property taxes only provide a disincentive if they are tied to the market price (I know my taxes are based on an assessed value that is far lower than what I paid for the place) and they are assessed annually. If the market value can appreciate faster than the tax rate…


    • Where I live, there’s a “homestead exemption” where your property taxes are lower on the house you live in. For those of us without “investment” property (I own but one home; it is where I live) it’s a nice break, and it is a little bit of a disincentive for people to buy and hold prime property on the idea that the market will go up.

      Then again, it DOES seem to incentivize a bit of slum-lordery, because the rental houses in town are small, cheap, and poorly kept up.


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