A Brief Experience With Private Healthcare

Last year when I was in the United States on holiday I was unlucky enough to develop a seriously painful ear infection. With no National Health Service or health insurance over there I should have been screwed by the evil capitalists and left with a $10,000 bill to pay, right?

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Not exactly. I initially had no idea about the American healthcare system and after a quick Google search-session found some local clinics to visit; the closest was Walgreen’s pharmacy just a mile from the apartment I was staying in. After turning up at the store without appointment, filling out an electronic form on a modern self-serve station, within ten minutes I was sat in front of a qualified nurse. The nurse performed a procedure to remove excess wax from around the ear-drum that had caused the initial infection by trapping pool water, and prescribed me a course of antibiotics. The service was fast, efficient, and of superb quality. It cost me £70 cash.

Now contrast this experience of private and cheap healthcare, with that of our socialised medicine in England. I would have had to spend perhaps half an hour trying to get through to the doctors receptionist in the morning before appointments run out. If lucky I might get an appointment for the same day before they close at 5:30pm, as people don’t get sick in the evening. After getting an appointment and arriving on time I would be kept waiting with everybody else in a cramped waiting room because the doctor is running late with his appointments for the day. After getting a diagnosis I’d be given a prescription for antibiotics that I would then have to take to a registered chemist to be charged £8.05. For this shoddy free service I get stuck with thousands of pounds worth of National Insurance Contributions every year.

Free-Market vs Government

So why the drastic difference in both cost and healthcare delivery? It’s a simple case of the free-market versus a government monopoly, and the former wins every time. The private business must compete to meet my consumer demands, keeping quality high and costs down, or face a loss of custom to its competitors. The NHS doesn’t have to provide tangible results to receive increased budgets as it is paid for by forced taxation through National Insurance Premiums each month, and government debt to meet the shortfall. There is no Walgreen’s nurse down the road should you face a terrible service, you simply get what you are given. In fact the reverse is true, in that, the worse the NHS performs the higher budget it receives.

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I’m of course aware that American healthcare per se is not a panacea, however, I’d argue that this is precisely because it’s no longer a free-market model on the whole. Some areas of the market are allowed to go unhindered (like my treatment) but government heavily regulates, and pays for the healthcare industry making it a fertile land for cronyism.

The widespread use of insurance, encouraged by government, for minor ailments and illnesses is one of the main components to increasing the cost of healthcare; decreasing competition and cash-pricing and discouraging self-rationing. Moreover the so-called American free market model is made up of 44% government spending, making it almost half socialist even before Obamacare has taken off. In this article I am focusing solely on the free-market, perhaps the American system is a topic of another article.  

One of the reasons healthcare is so expensive in the first place is that government grants monopolies and regulation to healthcare professionals. The sole right of a doctor to treat practically every illness in England, outlaws the potential for services such as Walgreen’s to meet the demand of consumers in treating basic and obvious illnesses. Should nurses be able to perform more simple procedures and treatments on patients like myself, then what’s the harm? Not only would this bring the costs of basic healthcare down, but would also empower the consumer to decide for themselves, instead of being forced to see a doctor and lumped with the bill for their £100k salaries afterwards. That said, if a consumer really wants a doctor to diagnose his common cold then that can still happen at an extra charge. Consumer choice is key.

Just think about every area that the free-market is allowed to flourish; Paracetamol, a potentially lifesaving drug can be bought for £0.10 from practically any supermarket 24 hours a day. Now imagine if government got more involved by only allowing registered pharmacies to sell paracetamol, requiring a doctors prescription, only after clinical trials etc… the cost would skyrocket and regular people would be priced out of using it. Government would then rush in to solve the problem it created to begin with “nobody can afford this private healthcare! its failed. nationalise paracetamol!”. This can be applied to what you will; the flu-jabs we can get for a few pounds at supermarkets, hay-fever medication from Pound-land, the list goes on.

Of course in a free-market it might be wise to have an insurance policy to protect against the huge and expensive treatments like after being hit by a bus, needing an emergency heart bypass or getting cancer. Even without insurance, a truly free-market would see the extortionate costs of these major treatments come down significantly to meet consumer demand. I don’t know exactly how it would work, that’s the point, each individual would be free to make their own decisions as to what suits them best and the private sector would be able to innovate. Perhaps instead of paying the hundreds in NI contributions each month we would be able to bank most of the cash in a savings account should we need small treatments in the future, coupled with an insurance policy that only covers the “disaster scenario”.

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If we accept the rationale that government increases the cost of everything it touches; then why would we think more government, higher budgets and more regulation is the answer? Is it really a coincidence that we praise the areas of the market government has little to do with; smartphones, technology, cars? And that we hate the areas that government heavily intervenes in; energy, fuel, public transport, social housing? There is one common denominator yet we often naively blame the failings of government on the market when we should be doing the reverse. 

We trust the free-market to provide us with food, a necessity equally as essential as healthcare and are rewarded with choice, quality and abundance. So why are we so hesitant to trust it with our medicine? I do hope we begin to embrace the free-market and look back on socialised medicine with a shudder; the same shudder you’d expect upon asking a former member of the Soviet Union how socialised food was back in the day.

Labour’s Mansion Tax: Another Step Toward Socialism.

The Labour party have been taking a pounding since they left office in 2010, and rightly so. These are the people that sold half of our gold reserves at the bottom of the market, flung open the door to unmanaged immigration, tried to implement Orwellian ID cards, oh and of course destroyed the economy. In fairness, the Tories being at the helm hasn’t made much of a difference either; they’ve continued to spend at an alarming rate, are currently curtailing civil liberties and have and failed to provide their promised EU referendum, and most of their own targets for that matter.

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One policy of Ed Miliband’s in particular has grabbed my attention; The Mansion Tax. This is proposed to be an extra charge of £3000 on homes that are valued of over £2million, on top of the already extortionate council tax that exists on all properties. I have no doubt that this will be a popular one especially in the current political climate. Despite every lesson from the 20th century, Miliband’s ideology has made a recent revival, epitomised by the Marxist rottweiler of the day, Russell Brand. If there were ever a time for Labour to pick up some votes from cheap class-warfare and bribes, it is now.

We live in a day and age where money can be shifted offshore in a matter of seconds online, what makes our politicians believe they can have the monopoly on the rich? There are plenty of countries whom would be grateful of our millionaires and rich investors money. This has never been more relevant with the developing world learning how to “play” capitalism for the first time in history. Of course this one tax alone might not be enough to deter investment and cause a plight of the rich, but it’s just one on top of hundreds that could break the proverbial camels’ back.

Considering that the top 1% of earners pay roughly 1/3 of the income tax in the U.K, you would think Labour would want them to stick around, keep the cash-cows milked, if you will. Furthermore if the rich aren’t yet paying their “fair share” then I’m baffled as to what the correct amount would be.

All this talk of upping the tax rates for the richest is simply a politics of envy and will not increase the tax-take of government. The Labour Party knows this, but is also aware of the popularity of these policies among typically working class and economically illiterate voters, and so are willing to sacrifice long-term prosperity for short-term popularity. The Laffer Curve, and table below will hopefully dispel some of the popular nonsense talked about our tax system.

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Moreover what about the person whom inherited a property, perhaps one that has been in the family for generations? If you aren’t earning a fortune then the day-to-day running costs of a property alone, on top of council taxes are enough to bankrupt you. This proposed mansion tax is beyond regressive, in that, those people who happen to own a property yet are in a low income threshold or pension, can be effectively forced out of their homes. The result can only be that the rich areas become simply more exclusive, forcing out those who cant afford the extra (estimated) £3000 levy out of their already squeezed wage packets.

Ed Ball’s has stated that those earning less than £42,000 may have the right to defer payment of the tax until the sale of the property, how kind of him. This will ensure swift deportation of those who can’t afford to pay, selling their properties now in a hurry to avoid the £3000 a year tax building up year-on-year. On the bright-side this purge of the shirtsleeves-to-shirtsleeves will open up top pickings in property for Labour party officials in the centre of London.

What ever happened to the very British idea of property rights? An Englishman’s home is his castle? Magna Carta? Surely if you buy a house outright, with no strings or mortgages, paid for it all your life or inherited it, then it should be yours and yours alone. This goes for any tax on private property, once taxes are established we become nothing more than leaseholders of government property. If we are unable to pay the tax or simply fail to do so, our houses can be taken from us. In a free country you should be able to, for example, buy a farm and live self sufficiently with your family, off the land and without using money, without a £2000 demand in council taxes from government once a year. I’d like to see less talk of extra property taxes on the rich, and more talk of less property taxes on us all.

What I find most disturbing is the absolute moral bankruptcy of this policy. By using this old class-warfare trick Labour seeks to buy voters, in a literal sense, by exploiting the losers of the election. Just consider for a moment the wording of the policy in a slightly more straightforward and less Newspeak fashion…

“Voters. Vote for us on May 5th 2015 and we will give you all sorts of free shit that you did not earn or pay for. In order to pay for the goodies we will be forcing those who own property over £x amount to pay up or leave their homes. We repeat, do not worry, we will leave you alone for the time being, and will only screw the other guys”.

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There is a world of a difference between voting for taxes imposed on yourself for the so-called public good, and straight-up looting a third party. This policy, of course, is typical of how the Left functions; looting and plundering everything it can get its slimy hands on without any regard to wealth creation and long-term prosperity whatsoever.

Every year since the Second World War, we have heard that the government just needs a little more money, from this or that group of people, to fund some desperate cause, and every year the demands have grown along with government. Who amongst us is naive enough to think that the mansion tax is the end of this process? Without addressing the underlying issue, out of control government spending, more taxes will inevitably be brought in year-on-year until we bury ourselves deep into a hole we cannot climb out of, running out of rich people to tax and debt to finance.

Whom then, will they come after?

Budget Airlines: A Victory For The Free-Market

In spite of huge government intervention within the airline industry, from taxes to regulation, we are offered a huge choice of services through what’s left of the free-market. Budget airlines are, frankly, amazing in the endless options they provide to consumers. Contrary to popular opinion they often beat the more premium airlines on flight arrivals and delays, by focusing not on the “free” and awful microwave meal, but on the efficient service their passengers demand, in getting from A to B.

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“Last year over 90% of Ryanair flights landed on time, beating every other European airline.”

As an avid traveler myself I often use budget airlines in order to keep costs down; my objective being to visit as many countries as possible on a shoestring, by avoiding the extravagances associated with a typical holiday. Before the age of the budget airline, there was little room for personal choice and tailoring of flights. They were generally sold as a package including things like baggage, meals, seating and what not. To quote Milton Friedman there is, of course, “no such thing as a free lunch” , and we were paying for these services whether or not we valued them as beneficial. The person with no baggage was subsidising the person with 20kg, the vegetarian who couldn’t eat the in-flight meal was subsidising the meat-eater who could.

When I flew to Iceland last year with Easyjet I took a small backpack on board, a bottle of water bought from the airport and some snacks from home. This meant that I paid the lowest possible fare for my flight of around £70 return to Reykjavik, prior to Easyjet, my only option would have been to use the Scandinavian airlines charging anywhere from £180-£300. This suited me perfectly, and even if I decided to buy extra baggage, snacks and drinks on board, it would have still worked out cheaper!

In Spite Of Government?

In an ideal world I would like to see those airfares come down further still. Perhaps in a truly free-market we could see the £15 from Manchester to Ireland come down to the region of £5, and I’d be first in line. How? through eliminating government out of the equation. The government imposes vast taxes on every commercial passenger flying in and out of the UK, increasing costs for us all, the elimination of this alone would bring prices down considerably. Secondly we have regulation; the kind that won’t allow Ryanair to equip it’s planes with standing areas for passengers, the kind that enforces a safety demonstration at the start of every flight we all ignore and know is useless in a real situation. We might not think these regulations impact consumers but they do; the lack of a standing area keeps costs from coming down, the time wasted on safety demonstrations costs the airline in cash terms (through inefficiencies), and more importantly lengthens our flight and bores us to death. “Stop bugging me, a commercial landing has never taken place in the sea, and no I wont take my earphones out!”.

Now of course your thinking that a lack of regulation would lead to planes flying with a snapped-wings, holes in the windows and fire spurting out of the engines. This isn’t the case and without getting too off topic I’ve written about it here; http://wp.me/p45JkV-6c. In short, though, there would be little demand for shoddy or unsafe airlines which would lead to safety through the market, the pilots and crew would refuse to fly and passengers would switch to a different airline. It’s easy to become a moral absolutist on issues like this, “you shouldn’t have the choice”, but in reality we face these choices everyday. We can, at a cost, purchase a LandRover Discovery that offers us far more safety on the road than a Nissan Micra. We don’t ban the Nissan Micra.

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This is the beauty of the free-market system, you are still able to fly with British Airways at perhaps double the price with its pleasant seating, baggage, free drinks and in-flight meal, yet are left unaffected by Ryanair’s cheap fares. In fact, cheap fares of the competition will likely benefit you by decreasing the the fares of premium airlines.

The Moaner- How To Spot A Socialist.

I’ve come up with a somewhat objective social experiment to test for socialistic tendencies. As we know budget airlines often charge extra for cabin baggage and specific seating arrangements. While waiting to board the aircraft and the airline is checking hand-baggage size restrictions, keep an ear out for the squeaking wheels of fake-Armani suitcases. In my experience there has always been at least one family on every flight trying to scam the system, cramming those suitcases into the metal cage that tests luggage size, hoping that the laws of physics will be broken just for them.

This is often the same family, or angry dad, that after bullying the airline staff to let him on with his over-sized luggage at the expense of space for the rest of ours, precedes to storm up and down the aircraft because there aren’t the seats available for them to sit together. Again this self-important jerk then seeks to use the authority of the flight attendant against the rest of us; to move those who either got there on time to pick decent seating, or those who paid extra for the privilege. At this point you can almost hear the socialist cogs turning; “Everyone should have planned seating”… “Everyone should have baggage”..”No free drinks!?”… “No free food!?”…”This Ryanair is a rip-off!”

Of course this chap doesn’t have you in mind when he subsequently writes in and complains, or cries out for government regulation. Although a private airline can ignore a complaint to some extent, it’s not so easy with government regulation. His lack of objective thinking will prevent him learning from this experience, perhaps paying slightly more for baggage and planned seating next time. His purpose is now to average out the cost for these premium services among every passenger on board, increasing everybody’s fare and limiting consumer freedom for his own personal gain.

I wonder which way he votes.

Agents Of The Nanny State

I’m all for social liberties. The right to smoke a joint whilst eating two grease-laden double-BigMac’s and downing a 32oz full sugar soda is just as genuine as the right to free speech and expression. You don’t take away my rights over my body, I won’t take away yours.

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I don’t see why there should be a distinction between unhealthy food, marijuana or tobacco in the eyes of the law, and I’ve looked at this every-which way there is. The progressives argue for marijuana legalisation whilst at the same time pursuing and vilifying other vices like tobacco and alcohol. It doesn’t stop there as they demand ever more regulation and taxation in order to deter the individual from indulgence, but what happened to the Leftist slogans of “my body, my choice” preached throughout the psychedelic 60’s? It doesn’t seem to apply to those whom wish to drink alcohol, smoke a cigarette, eat a BigMac. There is even talk of banning dangerous sports like MMA and boxing to protect the athletes from themselves.

The tolerance preached by the progressive nanny-stater’s, exemplified by the Labour party, rarely extends beyond their personal sphere. It’s the typical attitude of the anointed; a fascistic arrogance that whilst they are intelligent enough to make their own decisions, the decisions of the lesser intelligentsia must be constrained. This isn’t just about politicians either. Professionals such as doctors and general busybodies now believe its their place to shape law and taxation.

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This mindset of controlling those who disagree with or refuse to follow the consensus mob inevitably extends beyond the issues of health and lifestyle and into the broader political sphere. Take the example of a smoker who derives so much pleasure from his habit that he refuses to quit smoking despite understanding the health risks. The logic that we can simply attempt to override his decision through taxing and regulating him to breaking point, or making tobacco illegal, doesn’t stop there. Why should he, being of irrational and unintelligent nature be allowed the right to vote on issues far more important? If he is unable to decide through sheer irresponsibility on the correct outcome for his own lifestyle, then why should he be permitted to vote for politicians that decide on what the correct view is, and rules are, with regard to more important issues like war and poverty? The roots of fascism lie in this mentality, one person or group of people believing they are superior to regular men and women, and thus are entitled to rule over them.

There are the know it all’s that will argue marijuana’s safety, not liberty and principle, as the reason for proposing legalisation. Is the level of danger really the issue here? What if I could scientifically prove that smoking marijuana caused lung cancer, would they accept those grounds for a law against it? What about the thousands of deadly chemicals and poisons all around us, from bleach to lawn fertiliser that we don’t prescribe to legislate over?

Even on a practical level, how can they argue that drug criminalisation causes crime and black markets on one hand, yet on the other legislate for higher taxes and regulation for legal drugs? Can’t they see that increasing taxation and government regulation recreates the problems of a war on drugs in the first place? By artificially pushing up the price of a product be it; drugs, alcohol, or even garden furniture, to a level that criminals can undercut will inherently create a black market.

Of course we can see where these limitations on liberty hail from, the true source of government power, socialistic institutions like the National Health Service. These institutions are able to turn regular peaceful people against each other and into agents of the state. We begin to despise those who dare to partake in risky behavior because of our socialised burden and cost. Whether it’s a debate on obesity, smoking, drinking, just notice how quickly regular people turn into spiteful control freaks.

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All politicians have to do is mention what Person A’s behavior costs Person B through indirect medical bills and spiraling government budgets, sit back, and watch the show. The result is that most people won’t just agree with the standard government solution of curtailing the liberty of Person A, we demand it. We don’t see the politicians turning us against one another and instead crave more of our self-inflicted serfdom.There is an irony to this. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with socialised medicine or not as you will be extorted for the cost anyway. I could almost live with that. What I resent is being mugged by the state to pay for an NHS, to be told by government employed doctors that I have to stop smoking and clean up my diet because I’m clogging up a system I never signed up to in the first place.

Here’s a solution. Allow individuals to opt out of the National Insurance Contributions, and Nanny State, to organise their own healthcare and pursue whatever lifestyle they wish. If not, who knows, perhaps we will be holding up banners reading “LEGALISE CHEESEBURGERS!” in twenty years time.

The Contemptible Nature Of Public Sector Strikes

It’s important to remember how the structure of our public sector and democracy is, supposed, to work. The voters are effectively the shareholders of the public sector industry racket, just as the investors are the shareholders of companies in the private sector.

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Under a democratic system the public sector worker must accept the government of a majority, even if they make the severe “cuts” we hear about but never see. This is because the voter is the person stuck with the bill for any increase in public sector expenditure, be it pay rises or paid holidays. We accept that a worker at McDonald’s has to accept the decision of shareholders as to whether to increase wages on a given year, so why do we have this blurry-eyed doublethink when it comes to government bureaucrats and train drivers. Contrary to popular opinion the government has no money that it didn’t first take from somebody else, and the public sector produces no wealth. This means that the public sector, through government, acts as a parasite towards the businesses and employees in the private sector. The public sector strikes exist because of an outright abhorrent behaviour from both the public sector workers and their unions, in blackmailing the rest of us. Forgetting the fact that government workers receive substantially better pay, pensions and working conditions than their equivalent-skilled counterparts in the private sector, there is another side to this. If the private sector is the only source of income to meet the striking demands of public sector workers, then who pays this cost? Like myself those in the private sector have faced recent, considerable pension restructuring and lack of pay rises in response to the dreary economy and recession. These aren’t just the wealthy, why should a McDonald’s worker on the minimum wage and terrible pension be forced through taxation and debt to fund striking government workers who are far better off than they are. This is beyond regressive, it’s immoral.

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Why is it that the McDonald’s workers can’t simply throw up a picket line and demand higher wages? The answer is threefold. If they demand too much then the private business goes broke, it folds and the workers lose their jobs. Contrast this to the public sector that can simply give in and stick the cost on the tab, by which I mean crippling taxes and an intergenerational debt. Secondly the CEO’s of McDonald’s cannot be outvoted unless you have a stake in the business, shareholder or similar.  This prevents passers by and busybodies dictating the employment law of McDonald’s without having to cough up a buck. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly is the issue of government monopoly. If the firefighters go on strike, your house burns down, if McDonald’s goes on strike, hey, there is BurgerKing across the street. It is in this sense that those workers of government monopolies are able to exploit us, Joe Public. The right to strike! One of the biggest myths of our time is that people have a right to strike. There is a stark difference between the right to withhold your labour and the modernised right to strike. The former is intended to prevent employers using coercion against the employee, rightly preventing situations like slavery from arising. It gives you the right to down tools and find better paid work elsewhere. This basic right requires nobody give you anything, just that nobody infringes upon your rights. The right to strike is completely different to this, and whether conflated with the right to withhold labour, purposely and disingenuously or simply ignorantly, it’s wrong. This different “right” manufactured by modern anti-democratic unions uses force to prevent employers hiring replacements for striking workers. It guarantees that workers can do as much harm as they wish to a business through strikes, yet cannot be sacked.  A right that guarantees somebody provide you with money, goods or services, is not a right at all. wpid-wp-1421142654782.jpeg We have an unemployment figure in the millions, all perfectly skilled to complete most of the jobs in the striking public sector. Sack the lot of greedy, self-serving strikers and hire some new and perhaps more grateful talent. Better yet, don’t rehire anybody and allow the free-market to take over with its innovation and results based performance. If what they say is true.. “We are worth more!” then it should be quite easy to find an employer that thinks so too. Once the line is crossed into allowing public sector workers to strike, whether it’s a justified cause or not, we open the floodgates for minority rule. If we show that striking against the majority works, we give in to tyranny and what’s to stop them demanding extra duvet days, a 50% increase in pay, or a Porsche each next year?

The Fruits Of Capitalism; Because Everyone Loves Free.

Despite the falling of the Berlin wall near-on twenty six years ago, in which capitalism was universally hailed victorious over the inefficient and inherent slaughterhouses of socialism, our comrades on the Left are gaining ground. Attribute this to what you will; our terrible education system, perhaps the history curriculum in teaching all about the Nazi’s of the Second World War, yet not of the equally monstrous socialist USSR, at least in my school. I wont digress. The fact is that the calls for revolution are becoming more frequent, that’s if Tweets count as calls and the number of Russell Brand’s followers is a barometer of socialism’s popularity.

Rounding up mobs of disenchanted useful-idiot voters is easy, especially when you tell them how bad they have it. Don’t forget to tell them how the game is rigged in favor of those rich capitalistic swine, that they can never get ahead and shouldn’t even try.

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Forget the fact that anybody with a household income of £22,000 or higher, effectively two working adults working for less than minimum wage in Britain, are in the top 1% of world income. The regular arguments from rational people that we need to turbocharge the system that has provided us with this exceptional global status, by lifting the restraints of government, too often fall upon deaf ears. To come at this from a slightly different angle I have devised a very un-exhaustive list of freebies that we enjoy as the richest generation in history.

“Free”, you say? “Capitalism is all about making profits!”

Websites like Google offer us unlimited searching potential from trivia answers like finding the capital of Taiwan in two seconds flat, to its use as a massively understated educational tool. These websites have the ability of giving us, arguably, and especially those in the developing world, far better education than that of public sector teachers and old-fashioned libraries. A person with access to an internet connection can attain billions of articles, studies and journals without having to pay a penny. Simply put, we can access what we want when we want it, and gone are the days of paying a fortune for Bill Gates’ Encarta 95 with it’s shabby graphics and fonts.

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Just a decade ago it would be unthinkable to have access to a free service like Spotify. An app that takes a few moments to install yet provides us with thousands upon thousands of the best artists both old and new. All that we have to do for this evil capitalist company to exploit serve us is listen to the occasional advert between tracks, effectively trading a few seconds of our time for more access to music than CD’s could fit in a thousand record stores. No 9-5 opening times, no catching a bus into town to find out the album you wanted is out of stock, no queuing up in line waiting for incompetent employees, just utter convenience.

Remember the old days? By which I mean less than ten years ago when making calls to, or from, abroad cost a fortune. Not so long ago going on holiday and or keeping in contact with relatives in countries like Australia was an expensive affair, phone companies routinely charged anywhere up to £3 a minute. With free apps like Skype, or even now Facebook Messenger joining the party, we can video call to the other side of the planet, providing we have an internet connection, for no cost whatsoever. No biggie? Just imagine the thousands of highly skilled web technicians, researchers and even general admin staff working shifts right now to provide you with that service, for no tangible cost.

Apps like YouTube offer us millions of hours worth of free entertainment; from the funniest cat videos, to TV shows and movies. YouTube has even made it easier than ever for somebody with a little entrepreneurial spirit to go at it alone. Some genuinely well to do teachers are even offering free lessons to students through this medium. The free website and apps allow any individual with some entertainment or knowledgeable value to make money without any start up cost whatsoever. Contrast this to trying to get “out there” twenty years ago, having to beg middle-men like Simon Cowell for a shot at the music game. Fair enough, YouTube make some money from each advertisement, but whats wrong with a little synergy.

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Modern banking provides us with instant access to our accounts online. Not so long ago people had to physically walk into a bank to find our their balance, transfer money or apply for an overdraft, nowadays we can do all this from a laptop or smart phone. I can send money to somebody in New Zealand at 4am on a Sunday. What about the convenience of free 24 hour cash machines? I have no idea how much it costs to make one, probably thousands, or to pay the employees stocking it with money. Banks such as Halifax are even offering free cash withdrawals abroad with certain credit cards. The best part of modern banking for the consumer is that we can find current accounts that actually pay us for these services, some offering £5 a month at the moment. I can’t remember the last time I had to make a trip to the bank, having to pay town centre parking charges and queue up in line.

All of these services save us time and money on a daily basis, leaving us remaining with more of our pay-check each month. Time that we can better spend with family, friends or even working extra hours. Money that we can instead now spend on mortgage payments, food or even the extravagant things in life. These real cash savings, driven by the power of the free-market, are too often forgotten in our daily analysis as to whether our lives are improving or becoming richer.

It’s not just the pay-check we get every month; it’s what it can buy, and what it doesn’t have to.

The Ultimate Democracy? That Would Be Capitalism.

A Brief Introductory Rant.

Despite it’s bad rap from, well, practically everybody, there is no system yet to be contrived that can even register on a scale of capitalisms achievements. It has brought the levels of global poverty to an all-time low, and transformed our lives unimaginably to that of even a century ago.

Despite Marxist theory that workers wouldn’t be able to afford to consume the goods they produce, the reverse is true! Not only are we all richer than the Kings, Queens, Commissars and Mr Potters’ from the early 20th century on a basic level, but also on a material level too.

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Food is so varied, fresh and of fantastic quality that the richest capitalist alive a few years ago could not afford what we have. I marvel at this on a regular basis, the choice that a £5 note grants us in a store like Tesco is unbelievable. Even just fifty years ago, if I had a hundred private servants on hand I still couldn’t get close to the literally millions of options I have for dinner on a given night. Capitalism has driven the price of food down to the point that it doesn’t even register as a privilege to have an abundance of it. Government bureaucrat’s are even arguing food is too cheap, the poorest are obese!

Then there is technology and free stuff. Practically every household in Britain can afford smart phones, iPod’s, computers, lawn mowers, dishwashers, to the extent that they aren’t even classed as luxury goods anymore. Most burglars will walk right past a plasma-screen TV nowadays. All of these goods save us time and effort improving our lives for the better, and leave us more leisure time to spend with family or what not. The free stuff? What about the hundreds of apps like Facebook and Skype that don’t charge a penny to exploit serve us.

How Is Capitalism Democratic?

One of the main reasons that the free-market is able to flourish so successfully, despite crushing hindrance from the state, is the impersonal yet accommodating nature of every transaction. Capitalism provides us with the ultimate voting potential of any economic or political structure yet discovered. How?

When a consumer purchases a product or service in the private sphere they are contributing to the success of that particular business. Each of us have our own individual belief system, conscience and moral code and are able to express this perfectly in an un-coerced transaction.

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Of course there are the obvious benefits as to the competition this process introduces; creating innovation, invention, low-prices and all round progress. Perhaps as important, however, is the unappreciated nature of ethical capitalism.

If you don’t favour Primark and their labour policy in the third-world, for example, then you are able to cease supporting the company and shop elsewhere. Depending on the virility of your own virtue, you might accept paying slightly more at a different business for what you deem better ethically sourced products. Perhaps your a nationalist who believes in British jobs for British workers regardless of price or quality, again the same logic applies. At the risk of sounding cliche’, money talks.

Your “vote” doesn’t stop there, either, as there is nothing stopping you educating and persuading friends and others as to why they should peacefully boycott a particular business or product. The only catch is that this requires a little effort to achieve, but nowadays with our Leftist twitter mobs and echo-chamber Facebook groups, it wouldn’t be too difficult.

No matter how evil a business is, in order to survive they must respond to consumer demand. Just as Starbuck’s must provide a thousand choices of caramel Latte’ in order to compete with Costa Coffee, they must also compete on ethical policy for consumers also. How do we know this? The fair trade and ethical market is growing, proportionally to consumer concerns. Unfortunately for Leftist’s we have never seen an economy thrive enough under government central planning to the point where people are privileged enough to shop ethically, most people were, and are (see Venezuela), fighting over the last stale and moldy loaf on otherwise empty shelves and starving to death.

Think of the number of transactions you complete on an average day. Every pound coin, dollar, you name it, provides you the consumer with far more choice and ethical freedom than any government, no matter how competent, could ever hope to achieve. There would have to be a public referendum held every second to decide on even a fraction of the issues the market offers us decisions on, it simply isn’t practical. In reality all the government can offer is gameshow style elections and campaigns every four years in which a political party will try and bribe us with our own, or other peoples’, money and subsequently renege on their commitments. A private business would go broke by the time another four years had past.

Finally there is the issue of liberty, which can never be overstated in importance. As mentioned earlier each individual will inherently have different opinions and virtues, some that marginally differ, some that are bipolar opposites. The free-market can accommodate all of them.

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Government meddling in an otherwise free-market can only seek to disrupt and introduce force into this otherwise harmonious system of voluntary action and cooperation. It allows a third party to enter the transaction, the busybody.
The busybody, coupled with big government, is the biggest threat to a free society. Even though they often hold little or no stake in a particular transaction, business or product, they feel they are ordained to rule over the rest of us by limiting our choices. Occasionally some of them might not have a vested interest in the liberty repressing drivel they chant on about, and have genuinely good intentions.

Without government eagerly willing to  step in and aid their cause, this would not be a problem. We the individual would be able to agree or disagree with them, again voting with our money. These talking-heads would have to convince us about the sweatshop in Bangladesh, or the unhealthy nature of a 32oz soda by using rationality and logic to their cause, but of course using government and overruling us is far easier for the anointed busybody to do.

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