LCS Discussion Group Bill Schrader Pavilion May 27, 2015

A –  Some argue that a major justification for private medical care is that people who work to maintain their health, should not have to pay for the many who do not.  Data from “A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010”, which we reviewed earlier this year,  show that in mature economies like ours, poor lifestyle choices leads to much treatment, but the income effects are equally strong.  Government systems benefit from stronger bargaining power (significantly blunted in the US) and an orientation to prevention.  The issue is, given this data, do you feel private medical care is the best option – even for the health conscious?

B – This article argues that, inspired by Adam Smith, the America’s founding fathers rebelled against British-imposed austerity – a la Greece versus Germany.  I find the idea compelling, but of course I would.  What do you think?  (For those with old eyes, the author has posted a teaser here.)

C – I cannot get people interested in the challenge of robotics.  Perhaps this video will help.  It shows that robots are being deployed in China with the aim to replace half their manufacturing workers.  Historically, as workers are replaced by machines, they find new kinds of work?  Do you think we can cope with a no-work class?

D – Paradise Lost!  Where would you go if you had to leave Lakeside?

E – At first blush, sex is wasteful since it roughly halves potential child bearers.  Some (mostly male) scientists raised several generations of beetles with various ratios of males to females ranging from 1 to 10 down to 1 to 1.  In the end, the more even ratios died out, while the ones with fewer males produced stronger populations.

F – For most of the Civil War foreign countries thought that the American democracy would fail to beat the dashing South, and their “liberals” (think communists) were disheartened.  The governments win, therefore led to the abolition of plantation slavery in Cuba and South America, liberal reforms in Europe, and a respect for American forces.  I could not resist this question largely for Maximilian’s shout to his firing squad, “Mexicans! Men of my class and race are created by God to be the happiness of nations or their martyrs.”  Do you agree that the US emerged from the Civil War as more than a noble experiment?

G – Ferguson has highlighted problems with bail.  Huge numbers are being held in sub-standard local jails for months, and even years, prior to trial or plea bargain.  A small group of risky-to-the-public suspects are refused bail, a large group get a bail loan, and many are too poor to afford a loan.  The cost of bail-prison does not normally equal revenue (even after accelerating prisoner charges to poor people).  The social costs – lost jobs, lost kids in the case of single parents, etc. are high and unfair to presumed innocents.  So why don’t we just banish bail?