Sometimes doctors need a stiff belt of medicine too.
Scot Echols, a reader of Glenn Reynolds’s “Instapundit” blog, wrote in to say that while he appreciated a recent piece by Reynolds hailing capitalism, he thought it had not sufficiently stressed how capitalism fosters the creation of value.
“Value is created when someone does something for [others] better, faster, or cheaper than they can do it themselves,” Echols wrote. Then he related an anecdote about his doctor, whom he had gone to see about a sore throat. His doctor ranted about how “we need communism or a benevolent dictator to solve all of society’s problems.”
Sore throat notwithstanding, Echols responded, saying that he could either treat a sore throat himself with a regimen of gargling and garlic or pay $80 for a consultation and quick-acting antibiotics, reducing a two-week treatment to twenty minutes. His doctor’s knowledge and ability thus create value for him, value worth paying for. Because of such value creation, physicians gain wealth that enables them to drive nicer cars and live in nicer places than many of their receptionists can.
His doctor had no reply, but perhaps did understand a little better just how the kind of value-killing society he’d been dreaming about might not allow him to enjoy the nice things he had now; also, that the freedom to give value and be rewarded for it is a good thing.
Let’s hope the cure sticks. Let’s hope it spreads.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.