Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Ageing Society

Well, what do you know? Census data has told us something we already knew! The population is getting older and we wee ones are going to have to foot the bill; wouldn't you know that the bloated, wasteful, inefficient bureaucracy which is meant to be our means of supporting the boomer generation just happens to be bloated, inefficient & wasteful because of the thousands of make-work gubmint jobs that same generation created to acommodate their unbearably large number.

So, as I've suggested in the past, we need to do some pruning. We've got to streamline the system in good capitalist fashion and maintain the system's universality in good socialist fashion. I would never think of sticking all of our elderly on an ice floe to die; besides warming's making finding a floe that big a bit tricky, it would be a dereliction of responsibility.

That being said, the boomers will die and, eventually (18 - 25 years), the social median age will begin to stabilize. In any event, without knowing if it's representative, I've noticed a massive number of new pregnancies this summer, so maybe we're in the middle of our own little boom.

One can hope. Whilst cringing.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Testing 1, 2, 3...

Well, here we are, just trying out the fancy, schmancy browser for the DS. If'n this works out, I may well start carting my DS around and updating on the go, rather than ALWAYS carting my laptop around.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reciprocating Redundant Repetition

Why does this province's democratic process seem to be on an endless cyclical loop, rehashing the same subjects over and over with little-to-no apparent progress or Will to Progress (yes, I've been reading Nietzsche) since 1970? Is it simply agenda pushing idiots who've gotten us caught up in this political quagmire or is there some sort of greater cultural problem at work here?

This week, again, saw hue-and-cry over the Canadian Health Care system and a rash of people calling to privatize the system ASAP. I have already dealt with this, briefly at moopthas' old address and I'll expand on a few different themes here.

The main problem with establishing a private system is maintaining a parallel social system; regulations cannot be extended too far into the private sector because if they are, it simply won't establish itself, so with reduced restrictions a series of private hospitals and clinics would, as soon as they entered the market, begin competing not only with each other, but with the social system aswell. And here's the big, dirty secret about the private sector: competition isn't limited to consumer-side services. Supply-side services compete with each other, aswell.

Doctors want better wages, like anyone else, for that matter, and so do nurses and orderlies and everyone else involved in the health system. The private sector, unregulated, has no problem offering them. It pays based on individuals' merit and therefore soon draws the best of our professionals out of the public system. In order to preserve even a modicum of competent function in the public system, the wages within that system will have to be raised in order to match the private ones. The private system, in charge of its own pricing, will be able to compensate and maintain its hold on those doctors who represent our best and brightest.

The same is true of every kind of specialist and professional involved in medicine. Of course, the consumer will not tolerate an endlessly rising inflation and, based on his/her Will to Pay, the prices and wages would inevitably stabilize at one point; it would not happen before the public system had been ravaged - irrecoverably demolished.

The cost of professionals wouldn't be the only thing to suffer - the cost of procedures and insurance would soar, briefly, as they acclimatized themselves to a new market (as they surged to compete with and overthrow the social system). A look at the US system is the simplest way of confirming these suspicions; drug companies would follow suit as deregulation and increased insurance coverage would give them the leeway they need to gouge more and more out of their hapless customers.

They may have had some success with the system in Great Britain and Europe, but the facts of Québec's almost perverted mixture of right- and left-wing politics/government, along with this country's proximity to the USA and the bleed-over effect of their instant-gratification culture on our own make any proposal to privatize a segment of the Canadian Health System completely unviable. Unfortunately, our geo-political climate makes it an all-or-nothing situation and scrapping public health simply is not an option; it is unethical and contrary to the basic human rights we believe in - or claim to believe in - in this country.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Lucid Lucien Ludicrousness

The former Québecois Premier, the Honourable Lucien Bouchard, is hellbent on getting his provincial compatriots to put their noses right up to the grindstones - even if that means getting those noses ground off. The premier's position, and the province's current statistics / predicament were perfectly outlined in the Montreal Gazette by Janet Bagnall [Link] and I shan't delve much further into those aspects of the situation. Instead, I wish to examine Mr. Bouchard's motives in suggesting a surge towards economic growth through the abolition of free time.

Essentially, the purpose of economic growth is to increase the material prosperity of the individuals who contribute to the economy. Why? Well in capitalism growth is for growth's sake, but the idea is that increased material prosperity leads to happier, healthier, more content little capitalist citizens.

And therein lies the essential protest, the argument against the call to the grind. What good is it to work every waking minute of every day, increasing wealth and accumulating stuff if the individuals working don't have the time to themselves to enjoy those things? Mr. Bouchard is having a conniption fit because, of the 260 days he would have Québecois work, annually, they take an absolutely terrifying 14.3 days! A terrible 5.5% of the time he wants all of us to reserve for our corporate overlords!

Let's be serious; senseless growth for growth's sake accomplishes nothing. A little bit of leisure, especially for people who're a bit further down the financial food-chain than Mr. Bouchard and his 400$/hour law practice, is something that, in at least some small measure, is absolutely necessary.

Because sometimes a two day weekend just isn't enough to catch your breath.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Planck Anomalies©

It appears that NASA has a new project designed to unearth the very nature of the universe's unknowables, which is bizarre. Not that I don't think we should know (although with the recent botched Scottish terror attacks, this whole setup is making Ken MacLeod look prophetic and his book, the Execution Channel, downright scary), but the concept of somehow observing something we cannot observe does have a touch of the absurd squirreled away within itself.

I imagine the engineers at NASA have envisioned, or expect, by 2015 to have envisioned some method of observing the Dark Energy that they're keen on understanding, but, when you consider that less than a half-century ago our space missions were confined to rock samples and pictures, the progress in scientific inquiry can be considered downright terrifying. Or at least more than a little terrific.

I am keen to see results of this kind of research; there were followers of Raymond Kurzweil who had predicted the singularity for some time in 2005, which was laughable, but in the right vein on thought; the singularity does appear to be very, very close. The more advanced the research gets, the closer we get to a sort of unity between the various branches of science and technology.

The next twelve to fifteen years will be very interesting.