Posted by: stiltsville | October 7, 2012

Can we afford the future?

Two New York Times reports this week attempt to divine how our society will be able to afford the future. First, addressing the rising cost of healthcare:

“The critical point here is that because politicians do not understand the mechanism and nature of the cost disease, and because they face political pressures from a similarly uninformed electorate, they do not realize that we can indeed afford these services without forcing society to undergo unnecessary cuts, restrictions and other forms of deprivation,” says Professor Baumol…

So, we can afford the future’s healthcare, even if it takes a larger share of our income. That’s the takeaway from The Case for Calm Over Rising Health Costs, a book review in the NYT. Then there’s this:

Most of Leap2’s developers have staff jobs at bigger, established companies that provide health insurance. Because most of them have children, they tend to do their work for Leap2 after about 9 p.m. Only one contractor, Travis Williams, does not have a day job anywhere. He is a graphic designer who juggles multiple projects by choice, and he has health insurance through his wife, who is a kindergarten teacher.

When Job-Creation Engines Stop at Just One is an NYT report highlighting the rise of independent contractors in lean, one-man startups.

So the way I see it, we’ll be able to afford rising healthcare costs because of rising productivity. It will actually take a smaller portion of our expanding paychecks to cover healthcare costs! But until then, our new young entrepreneurial start-ups only see the light of day because everyone has a day job or spouse that covers health insurance now. Oh yeah, and there’s that whole entire disconnect between worker productivity and worker compensation.  So how do we get from here to the future?

productivity and compensation



  1. The existing Medical System is a model of corruption and incompetence. Expanding such a system without first doing a thorough housecleaning, is only throwing good money after bad. Even well functioning systems can only sustain a limited rate of expansion. In this case, a defective system is supposed to multiply in size, practically overnight. Under such circumstances the risk of creating complete chaos, is almost a certainty. ~

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