Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I want to do that...

Tyler Cowen says there are four problems that need tackling. Oddly, two of the four are things which I've devoted some intellectual energy to trying to understand:
2. A good health care plan that is practical, not too far from politically feasible, and applies competition to lower costs and improve service quality. It must be incentive-compatible, yet at the same time it can't be seen as heartless and simply letting people die. That probably rules out "cut health care spending in half and have everyone eat better and exercise more," otherwise an appealing option.
[...]
4. How can Africa actually develop? Don't beg the question by listing the needed outputs -- such as markets, democracy, or the rule of law -- as the inputs of your policy recommendation.
He says the similarity is that "All relate to how a centralized sphere of control should respond to a decentralized abuse of incentives, or how we can stop those decentralized abuses in the first place. " True, and something that hadn't occured to me.

I'd been thinking more in the universe of moral significance of the issues, and that they are issues where economics in and of itself isn't enough to answer the questions: you need ideas from more disciplines to get traction. Another fundamental similarity is that the more you know the more confused you are, a rather distressing circumstance for I like to think that knowledge is empowering and not confusing. Though I had a math professor who claimed that math is all about clearly understanding your confusions, and if you know precisely how you are confused, then you can begin resolving it.

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