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House Of Force, Not Health

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Different countries manage their different houses in different ways. A century ago, the Prussian military, imbued by the philosophy of Bismarck, had a free rein over Germany, a fascist country, with a face saving, but impotent Reichstag.

Bismarck thought that force was. more economical. He has followers, to this day, worldwide.

This graph from the USA Federal Reserve, shows that, at least in health care, plutocracy has been doing increasingly better in the USA.

So Bismarck (author of universal health care in Germany in 1860!), from his very successes, instilled contempt for an economy not axed on force, in several generations of Germans.

However, a counterattack by the French army, east of Paris, the battle of the Marne, in early September 1914, should have put that theory to rest. But Putin did not get the news, or, maybe, finally, with his collapsing economy, it dawned on the Kremlin’s madman that now was not the time to wake up the animal spirits of an EU-USA contraption, with an economy worth around 33 times more than Russia’s.

Another one that did not get the news is American muscle. Being all muscle, and no brains, goes only that far.

As David Sanger says: WASHINGTON – The National Security Agency has never said what it was seeking when it invaded the computers of Petrobras, Brazil’s huge national oil company, but angry Brazilians have guesses: the company’s troves of data on Brazil’s offshore oil reserves, or perhaps its plans for allocating licenses for exploration to foreign companies.

Nor has the N.S.A. said what it intended when it got deep into the computer systems of China Telecom, one of the largest providers of mobile phone and Internet services in Chinese cities.

Then there is Joaquín Almunia, the antitrust commissioner of the European Commission. He runs no company, but has punished many, including Microsoft and Intel, and just reached a tentative accord with Google that will greatly change how it operates in Europe.

American officials say, off the record, that while the N.S.A. does not spy on Airbus and give the results to Boeing, it is free to spy on European or Asian trade negotiators and use the results to help American trade officials – and, by extension, the American industries and workers they are trying to bolster.

Speaking of the spying China does in the USA, Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor who served in the Justice Department under the George W. Bush administration, wrote on the Lawfare blog on Tuesday that it “sounds a lot like the kind of cybersnooping on firms that the United States does.”

All of this to say, the USA does not spend as much brainpower on health care. From the New York Times, May 19:

http://nytimes.com/interactive/2014/05/19/health/rating-a-health-laws-success.html

“Charting the number of deaths from diseases that could have been prevented if the patient had access to appropriate health care, called the “amenable mortality” rate, shows that the United States is far behind European nations.”

Treating these diseases – like heart disease, diabetes, infections, pneumonia and treatable cancers – improves greatly the quality of life, and survival.

“Nearly 20 years ago, the United States was closer to the middle of the pack, but other countries, like Ireland and South Korea, sharply improved their rates by 2007, according to the most recent data available from the Organization for Economic Research and Development. The rate of improvement in the United States was 14 percent, the lowest of all countries surveyed.

. Seven countries improved their rates to pass the United States, which is now on par with countries like Chile and Portugal.

Deaths from heart disease and other circulatory diseases represent about half of all amenable mortality. The rate in the United States is similar to the rate in South Korea, and far higher than the rate in France.”

Actually the death rate from all amenable diseases in the USA is more than twice that of France. And the gap was growing until recently. It’s not just that the same health care, from birth (more than twice more deadly in the USA), to MRIs is many times more expensive in the USA.

In the USA, when one tends to get pneumonia (as I do), it’s hard to get antibiotics. But all and any American fowl, chicken, cattle and pigs get them everyday, as “growth factors”. In other words, in the past, there was slavery, but now even pigs are treated better.

Is plutocracy unchained amenable to progress? Sure: if we were slaves, we would get antibiotics as growth factors. Our own greed for freedom has lowered our health prospects.

In related news, the new and future Boeing 777X is getting nine billion dollars in government subsidies (mostly as tax breaks; see the link with the very American publication Aviation Week). By comparison, Airbus gets none. Yes, contrarily to legend, none.

Different ways, different houses.

Patrice Ayme

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