Friday, October 09, 2009

Overheard At Lunch

Recently while out at lunch with a friend, overhead an interesting conversation between two men at the table next to us. One appeared to be in his late fifties and the other in his mid thirties. The younger guy was seeking the other man's opinion on whether to hold or sell the stock of a certain company. The older guy was of the opinion that the stock price had gone as high as it probably could and now with health care reform in the offing, the company could be negatively impacted.

A large chunk of the business this company did was made possible due to inherent deficiencies of the health care system not to mention the prohibitive costs. If the government stepped in and did something to improve matters, then any business who viability depended on such inefficiencies would be hurt. The younger man agreed with this analysis. It is interesting that they did not think that government intervention would mess things up even more and create a cornfield of business opportunities.

I found the conversation revealing in many ways. The rationale seemed to be that if free enterprise was allowed to flourish and it turned every available lapse in processes and systems into an way to make turn a profit, all would be well. When lives and livelihoods are dependent on being able to exploit problems rather than solve them, resistance to even a whiff of a solution is only too understandable. Any idea that even tries to place the collective good over that of the individual would be considered socialism in such a framework and therefore be unacceptable.

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