Home > Critical Thinking, Links, Musings, Secular Religions, Skepticism, Technology > Interesting Links: May 3, 2017

Interesting Links: May 3, 2017

Here are links to three interesting posts which I came across recently. At first glance, they appear to be about three different topics. However once you read them it is obvious that they are describing various aspects of the same basic problem- namely, what happens when you let capitalism and legalism run amock. To be more precise, all of them describe the disastrous (but very predictable) consequences of celebrating the gaming of proxy measures of reality by greedy people aka credentialed “meritocrats”.

The first link is about how the “healthcare” system in USA ends up providing quite shitty and ridiculously expensive medical treatment. The second one is about “innovation” in Silly Valley is now largely about trying to DRM everything, extract even more rents and working precariously employed people to a slow death- all without providing any added value to rest of society. The third link talks about the real motivation behind establishment democrats blaming Putin for Trump’s “surprising” electoral victory. As some of you might know, one of my older posts said something very similar.

Link 1: How Economic Incentives have Created our Dysfunctional US Medical Market

In my new book “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back,” I began with a list of 10 Economic Rules that seem to govern the Dysfunctional U.S. Medical Market. Some readers reacted with disbelief: How could such seemingly callous and absurd-sounding principles form the underpinning of something as precious as our healthcare? So here, I’ve illustrated each of the 10 rules with some real-life examples from the book to show you how they do, indeed, come into play. What you’ll see is that the economic forces and incentives that motivate our health system often lead to medical practices that are not especially good for our health — or our wallets.

Link 2: The Three Hot Trends in Silicon Valley Horseshit

The purpose of these companies is to take whatever tiny sense of social responsibility businesses might still feel to give people stable jobs and destroy it, replacing whatever remains of the permanent, salaried, benefit-enjoying workforce with an army of desperate freelancers who will never go to bed feeling secure in their financial future for their entire lives. These companies are for people who think temp agencies are too coddling and well remunerative. The only service they sell is making it easier to kill minimally stable, well-compensated jobs. That’s it. They have no other function. They valorize Doers while killing workers. They siphon money from the desperate throngs back to the employers who will use them up and throw them aside like a discarded Juicero bag and, of course, to themselves and their shareholders. That’s it. That’s all they are. That’s all they do. They are the final logic of late capitalism, the engine of human creativity applied to the essential work of making life worse for regular people.

Link 3: The Anatomy of Liberal Melancholy

Liberals see no such system. Instead, they see more or less qualified individuals who either have the right ideas or not, in government or business: cultural diversity, a fervent belief in incremental rather than structural change, and a firm commitment to meritocratic success. Rather than thinking historically—and preferring to avoid the whole idea of neoliberalism—they profess an ethos. And since they cannot recognize neoliberalism as a system, they cannot acknowledge its political and economic dissolution, its steady descent into incoherence. They cannot acknowledge the loss of the historical soil of their selfhood.

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