Friday, September 4, 2009

Economics and Medicine

Moral: Wherein we remind ourselves that though finance and engineering are two important aspects of the economy, there are others. For instance, even though we can include science under engineering, it ought to stand on its own. So, we can start with medical science.


The recent Atlantic provided an analysis of the current status of health care. One article by David Goldhill (How American Health Care Killed My Father) looks at the evolution of the past couple of decades. An interesting notion is the emphasis on insurance in which the patient is not treated like a consumer who is spending money and incurring a cost that can be controlled. Not, the whole thing is oriented toward the games of the providers and the bureaucrats. We need to get the patient back into the focal point. Of course, not everyone could be their own advocate in the proposed system, but that it is being discussed is encouraging.

Regina Herzlinger has been arguing for a consumer-driven health-care systems for some time (Who Killed Health Care?) and is referenced in the Atlantic article. The approach that Regina proposes would rely upon evidence based medicine to provide a basis for making decisions, along with a better medical IT situation.

As a reminder, any new approach, especially that related to computing, would be plagued with the same undecidability issues discussed with finance and engineering computing. Yet, it makes sense in that one reason that capitalism works is its bottom-up nature, when we stay away from errant states, such as casino capitalism. The top-down, planning economies have a worse time handling the undecidable issues.

As well, Regina argues for use of the HSA with some subsidies. As described in a scenario by David, we already have paid a lot (see $1.77M example) given the current situation.

Continuing with the medical focus, we can apply some practical use of metaphors. Even though, the Atlantic article, mentioned above, references a study showing how just a simple check list can improve procedure quality and reduce infections, what medicine shows us, though, is that protocol cannot trump the doctor's knowledge and skill. There's a balance that needs to be better understood.

The same is true for the economy. In fact, there are many parallels since people are the main theme. But, the main motivation is not filling pockets. We need applied use of science and data about more than who has succeeded in getting rich.

Of course, having said that, the question of the overarching metaphor for the economy is still open and to be discussed further.


01/03/2010 -- Sometimes, it seems like a bait and switch.

09/09/09 -- We'll need to look at UUUN, as a framework.

Modified: 01/03/2010

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