T Nation

Sozialized Systems and Average Utilitarianism


Cool topic, huh?

Anyhow, there are a lot of people who do not seem to get that certain systems have an inherent logic, like free markets for example but also socialized systems.

Utilitarianism is the creed of the greatest good for the greatest number. This runs into some logical problems (see mere addition paradox) and is almost never relevant when it comes to social systems.

What we have here usually is average utilitarianism which is basically either the idea to maximize the average utility for a given number or to have a group with as high an average utility as possible, period.

The problem is the same that a lot of welfare problems run into, i.e. that money does not equal utility. Some people are way more efficient at converting money into utility than others so if you wish to achieve the maximum "welfare" you must concentrate your resources on those.

F.e. why replace hips for over 80 year olds if you can also pay for cancer research for the young? Why treat the severely handicapped when all the amount of money you put into them can only marginally better their life? Does it make sense to allow children to be borne that would have costly life long diseases?

And finally, if you want to be consistent, why not get rid of those who are a burden to the system and not very likely to contribute to it ever again?

There is no ill will in all of this, it is just that if you want to find some ethical way of allocating resources, which you will have to do when the market does not do it for you, you must simply put your money where it will make a difference.

So, nobody will pull a plug on grandma, she will never get a plug in the first place.


I think I agree with what you are saying. Tell me if I am on the right track. Personally, I am very much against a government run health care option. However, god forbid if there is one, I would actually be very much for the "Death Panels" that everyone is rallying against. If it is government money for the public good, there is not much public good in prolonging the life of a member of society who does not produce anything. Therefore, they should be denied coverage especially when it would not put any meaningful addition to their life. However, if they actually do value their own life highly enough, they can pump their own savings into prolonging their otherwise useless life. Heartless, but I see no other way of providing for public health care without bankrupting the already bankrupt country.


You mean like senators and stuff -- and virtually every government employee in existence?

I agree, let us not prolong the lives of these leaches of the public welfare system.



The first female quadriplegic to sail solo around Britain arrived back at Dover harbour yesterday.


Your main point is well taken and quite true, but it's even more fundamental than that. Whenever somebody other than you or those close to you make life's major decisions for you, you can kiss yer ass goodbye one way or another. Either in the destruction of your liberty, character or your actual life, but probably and ultimately all three in that order.


Well that is basically it.

Eugenics and euthanasia are part of the deal of such a system, whether people want that in the beginning or not.


What does her sailing around an isle help the collective?

On the contrary it costs resources better spent otherwise.

No more sailing for her.


..she acts as a source of inspiration for many. She's showing the world that you yourself make your life worthwhile inspite of the circumstances, or other people's opinions. She's what the americans would call a 'hero'...


Well that would be downright fantastic in a libertarian, individualist system but since you do not get to make lifes major decisions for yourself in socialism, inspiration is really overrated.

In a system where you are told what school to go to, which doctor to see and where you are told by a third rate bureaucrat whether you and your loved ones will live or die, what could inspiration possibly be good for?


..for the glory of the motherland ofcourse!


"The glory of the motherland" FTW!


As far as cancer is conserned I really do think it is largely a preventable disease. There's lots of things you could eat and do to prevent it. That doesn't mean I want cancer reserch stopped, or old ladies to not get hip replacements.

I could never feel right about denying someones grandmother the treatment that they need as long as they wre a US citizen. I really do think we need less government and more free market to solve our healthcare problems.