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The Almighty Buck Science

Computer Model Reveals Escape Plan From Poverty's Vicious Circle 356

KentuckyFC writes "Infectious disease condemns poor countries to an endless cycle of ill health and poverty. Now a powerful new model of the link between disease and economic growth has revealed why some escape plans work while others just make matters worse. The problem is that when workers suffer from poor health, economic output goes down. And if economic output goes down, there is less to spend on healthcare. And if spending on healthcare drops, workers become less healthy. And so on. So an obvious solution is for a country to spend more on healthcare. But the new model says governments must take care since the cost to a poor country can send the economy spiraling into long term decline. By contrast, an injection of capital from outside the country allows spending on healthcare to increase without any drop in economic output. 'We find that a large influx of capital is successful in escaping the poverty trap, but increasing health spending alone is not,' say the authors. And the amount required is relatively little. The model suggests that long-term investment needs only to be more than 15 per cent of the cost of healthcare. But anything less than this cannot prevent the vicious circle of decline."
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Computer Model Reveals Escape Plan From Poverty's Vicious Circle

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  • Healthcare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday November 29, 2013 @02:09PM (#45556505) Homepage

    Keep your people healthy and they'll live longer, work longer and pay more tax.

    What kind of idiot hasn't realised this yet? (obviously, America)

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:2, Insightful)

    by g0bshiTe ( 596213 ) on Friday November 29, 2013 @02:16PM (#45556563)
    Mod Insightful.
  • Re:Healthcare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 29, 2013 @02:18PM (#45556575)

    Throwing more money at it like the current admin wants to do, according to this study anyway seems to be a waste of money

    It's not the money you spend, it's how you spend it.

    The US healthcare system is mired in being a for-profit operation controlled by large multi-nationals and insurance companies.

    They have no interest whatsoever in providing good health care, they care about maximizing corporate profits.

    Basically, America's system can't ever work, and never really will except for the rich. Everybody else is expendable and 'surplus population'.

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday November 29, 2013 @02:20PM (#45556583) Homepage

    Spending money on cosmetic surgery, and the amount of money you literally PISS AWAY into insurers and intermediaries is the cause of your problem.

    You're not spending money on making people better. You're spending money on keeping huge pharmaceutical companies in their monopoly on ineffective treatments.

    How much do you think it *really* costs to diagnose and treat a broken leg? Now find out how much your insurers pay (who aren't "insuring", because they only charge you for your own personal expense, at great "middle-man" profit).

    Stop pissing about, through out this "private" medical practice with insurers and so many middle-men, and put in place a national health service who offer any treatment that is effective and extends life / quality of life, which everyone contributes to from taxation, and everything else you pay for out of your own pocket.

    You'll pay less tax. You'll never pay health insurance again unless you want to for something cosmetic. And you'll be healthier.

    Come join the rest of the fucking first- and third-world.

  • by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Friday November 29, 2013 @02:30PM (#45556655)

    Most "poor" countries to which we send aid, are being plundered just as hard, or even harder. Every time we send food aid to some poor African or central American country, the local farmers get no money for the little food they produce and the local market is ruined, stopping local production of food instead of encouraging it.

    Every time we demand the lowest price for all the stuff we import from those countries, we make them find ways to produce even cheaper, lowering the standard of life there. This results in pricing that is so low that our own economy can't compete and we put import taxes on these goods. This results in the foreign producers being forced to lower their prices even more, again ruining their economy and health.

    Instead of "sending aid" every time a famine or natural disaster strikes one of these countries, we should stop plundering them. Micro credits for local businesses there have helped a lot, investing in farming for local food supply helps. These people are perfectly capable of helping themselves, given half a chance.

  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) * on Friday November 29, 2013 @02:31PM (#45556659) Homepage Journal
    This study is just more social pseudo-science. Social science is incapable of effectively dealing with the "correlation doesn't imply causation" trope we've all been taught in statistics 102.

    In real science control groups are required to establish causality.

    Social scientists are as terrified of real control groups testing causal hypotheses in human ecology as were the Jesuits of independent interpretations of the Bible. This is because social science is essentially a pre-enlightenment theocratic discipline:

    If the powers-that-be oppose your social "science" then no matter how much data you gather, some variant of "correlation doesn't imply causation" will be trotted out to ignore it.

    If the powers-that-be like your social "science" then the NYT will take one data point -- perhaps even one anecdote about one person at some point in history and base public policy on it. With the mass media holding mass and preaching said sermons the pious slaves to intellectual fashion, generally those with college degrees from the seminaries known as "colleges", and and with IQs below 140 who like to pretend to be morally superior "thought leaders" (knowing they have safety in numbers from hearing sermons at "mass") will then to the dirty work on the street.

    Moreover, this theocratic sophistry, imposing social theories on unwilling human subjects, locks into place powerful interests that oppose any truth-discovery.

    From Machiavelli's "The Prince" chapter 6:

    "It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them."

    If we are ever to escape this vicious cycle driven by the social sciences, the Enlightenment must penetrate them through Sortocracy:

    Sorting proponents of social theories into governments that test them.

    Fortunately, like the Protestant movement's impetus to independently interpret the Bible due to the Gutenberg press, the Internet is now letting people have direct access to and independent interpretation of data about human ecologies -- and the demand for freedom from imposition of social theories on unwilling human subjects will increase until freedom from theocratic forms of government -- and their social scientist theologians -- will win the day.

    In the process, as with the wars for freedom of religion that lasted over a century, we cannot expect this penetration of Enlightenment values into the social sciences to take place without a struggle [].

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:2, Insightful)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Friday November 29, 2013 @02:34PM (#45556677)

    Private evil this private evil that.. look, insurance companies are manipulative and profit seeking, but having the state manage it is no better. They have the power to dictate your behavior the moment you receive care. You can bet they will, once obamacare takes off. Fuck that.

    Pay less? I doubt it, especially over the long term. It doesn't matter if we overpay the insurance companies or the state..both are experts at wasting other people's money.

  • So long as we just focus on *treatment* of the sick, costs will continue to spiral.

    A general influx of cash doesn't just focus on treatment of those sick - it starts to alleviate the issues that allow disease to spread in the first place (lack of hygene, lack of vaccination, lack of clean water, lack of balanced food (and complete meals), and lack of general preventive care, and lack of birth control - ALL things people in poverty already lack).

    Health care costs get under control when the focus is on prevention rather than treatment: you spend FAR less money when fewer people get sick. When you use the capital to address the causes of disease rather than just treating it, you spend much less on treating the ones that got away.

    Relatedly, this is why insurance companies love birth control - a pill a day and a box full of condoms is far cheaper to them than the thousands of dollars for examinations, the birth, emergency natal care, and having to cover the kid for the next 26 years.

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 29, 2013 @02:44PM (#45556757)

    In a for profit health care system like the US has profit is maximized by having sick people paying for care. Profit is mimimized by having a healthy population that does not need the care.
    Guess where the economic factors are going to push the health of the population?

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 29, 2013 @02:57PM (#45556847)

    The US healthcare system is mired in being a for-profit operation controlled by large multi-nationals and insurance companies.

    I want to add "not-profit hospitals turning huge profits" and "chargemasters []" to this list of reasons why healthcare is so screwed up. Time magazine again exposed this problem very well earlier this year. Total BS...

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:4, Insightful)

    by znrt ( 2424692 ) on Friday November 29, 2013 @03:06PM (#45556885)

    It's not the money you spend, it's how you spend it.

    this, and it's not just medical resources. it's education too, to a great extent.

    and regarding the article, I would like to point out that injection of money from the outside would in most (or possibly all) cases not be even necessary: just get the rich in the country to pay their fair share of taxes, that would be more than enough.

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 29, 2013 @03:23PM (#45557029)

    But the facts that you state say little about the quality of the health care. USA is for example the most obese industrialised country. And if you believe that is free in terms of life expectancy you better review your facts. In Japan (where people have the longest life expectancy) there are only 5% obese adults (BMI >= 30) while the USA have 33% obese adults. If you don't factor in such important determinants for life expectancy you cannot evaluate the quality of the health system. For all that we know your health system can be excellent since you manage to be 33rd even though one in three americans are fat.

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Friday November 29, 2013 @03:29PM (#45557083)

    put the right controls in place to insure that corporate interests align with the patients interests.

    At which point is is no longer the American system.

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Friday November 29, 2013 @03:55PM (#45557217)

    Most misquoted line of the election. The whole thing makes the Democrats look worse than the Republicans.

    Misquoted as in quoted directly from the video?

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 29, 2013 @03:56PM (#45557223)

    Actually, the U.S. already spends more public money per capita on health care (via Medicare/Medicaid) than Canada does. So the problem cannot be attributed entirely to private health insurance.

    Sure it can.

    Because likely around half (or more) of every dollar being spent is simply lining the pockets of the insurance companies and the middle-men. There's simply no room to get savings from economies of scale, and the vendors can just gouge for every piece as they go. Because if those vendors don't show a steady (and unrealistic) profit, they will be punished by the speculative investors running the stock markets.

    As it exists, your system is hugely wasteful because every asshole in the middle is taking his cut and contributing absolutely NOTHING to patient care.

    Everything in the middle is just mark-up and waste -- which is why your system as it stands can never actually work for everyone.

    The US health-care system is the economic equivalent of trying to build a car by purchasing all of the parts directly from car dealers, and then paying a bunch of mechanics to do the assembly. All you're doing is throwing money into the gaping maws of the middle-men.

    The cost of your procedures and case is so high because you need to offset the sheer quantity of money you've been bilked out of in the process. And then all of those other absurd line-items in the bill amount to "because we fucking can".

    Essentially, your system is designed to be ineffective and wasteful, because that's how the private companies want it. When insurance companies decide on the 'appropriate' level of medical care, it's a sucker's game from there.

    The fact that you spend more money per capita mostly means you are wasting more on the structural problems in your health care system.

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pope ( 17780 ) on Friday November 29, 2013 @04:43PM (#45557471)

    However in the last few years our state has had a conservative government that has systematically tried to defund the hospital. The end result is that waiting times have blown out to be multiple hours for non trauma cases in the emergency ward, and doctors are increasingly overworked and stressed out.

    That's a typical Tory/neo-conservative power play: defund the public option, then in a few years gripe how terrible the public option is, and how great the private is!

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday November 29, 2013 @10:19PM (#45558925) Journal

    If you think about it for a minute. "Insurance" is about the dumbest way possible to pay for a society's health care. It's based on giving a load of money to some corporations and them paying less than that amount for your care. Care which they get to approve.

    For goodness sake, it's clearly more efficient to have all basic and catastrophic health care paid directly by society via taxes. If there are years where society uses less health care, there could be a tax rebate, giving financial incentive for people to remain healthy.

    Nobody bringing a family member to a hospital for life-saving care should be worrying about losing their home if the insurance company decides to be shitty.

  • Re:Healthcare (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Friday November 29, 2013 @10:27PM (#45558961)
    The red states don't want it, but vote in representatives who will fight for it, not representatives who will turn it down because it shouldn't be spent. No, I don't believe you. The red states believe the "deserve" it more than the blue states who pay more for it.
  • Re:Healthcare (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 29, 2013 @10:44PM (#45559015)

    Err, yes he was wrong. Even in the most literal sense: the poorest pay tax -- disproportionatey so, in fact. Income tax is not the only kind of tax there is, although someone with Romney's income (but not his position) might be forgiven for thinking so. Even if you ignore payroll tax, sales tax, bus fares, inflation of rent due to property tax, and so on, those that don't pay income tax aren't "putting nothing into the system." Many of them are working their asses off for sub-poverty wages (44% of the 47%). Others are children, elderly, or housewives who would not be expected to pay income tax in any system (30% of the 47%).

    He was dead wrong, and from the looks of the google results, most major networks called him out on it in precise detail. Maybe Fox forgot?

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