Monday 11 August 2008

"More people can choose to die at home"

I overlooked this fine article on a recent pronouncement by Health Secretary Alan Johnson MP (Lab, Kingston upon Hull West and Kessle).

Faced with headlines like these, a more accurate statement would be "More people will choose to take their chances at home".

Sunday 10 August 2008

Waste in the private sector

When you point out how wasteful and inefficient the State sector is, the traditional Leftie retort is "Ah yes, but there is waste and inefficiency in the private sector as well".

To which the counter-retort is "Ah yes, but the consumer doesn't pay for the waste; the consumer only pays what the goods and services are worth. Plus 17.5% VAT where appropriate. For example, 'Waterworld' may have been the most expensive film to make of all time, but the film was not that brilliant that cinemas could charge people double the normal price to see it."

In case that doesn't shut them up, or they ask "Who does pay, then?" or in the unlikely event that they say "Then the poor long-suffering shareholder must bear the cost", then is useful to look at a real life example; the Blu-Ray vs HD DVD 'war'.

Sony and Hitachi spent oodles of money in developing rival formats. If you were a shareholder in Hitachi, then you have paid an element of R&D and lost your money, and if you were a Sony shareholder, the gamble has paid off nicely*. But most sensible shareholders in Japanese electronic giants would own shares in both companies, so the only question is, do the gains (future income from licensing the Blu-Ray patents) exceed the cost of developing both formats? Almost certainly yes. So the shareholders haven't really lost out either.

So yes, superficially there is 'waste' in the private sector, but it doesn't really matter.

In any event, it pales into insignificance when you read about the NHS hospital wards crawling with vermin.

* When you think of the rival formats that Sony has developed and miserably failed to market, for example MiniDisc and ATRAC (instead of MP3) and so on, they had to get lucky sooner or later.