Capitalism is Bad for Your Health

Libertarian Chuck pontificates (incorrectly) about Cuban health care:

RL:The health care is so great that the rich of Latin America, usually very rightwing people, fly to Cuba from all over the continent to have specialty work done that’s not available in their country.
Chuck: That’s a facade. Cuba saves their best medical resources for foreigners who pay good money to receive health care. They reserve the shit health care for their own citizens.
For instance, here is a story of 26 Cubans freezing to death in a Cuban mental hospital. The government vowed to prosecute those responsible even though the responsibility lies with the nationalized health care system and the totalitarian regime. But Castro can’t flog himself I guess.

1. Cuba has the lowest or almost the lowest infant mortality in Latin America. Cuba’s infant mortality is below the US.
2. Cuba has the highest or nearly the highest life expectancy in Latin America. Americans live only 8 months longer than Cubans, and the US is 4.7 times richer.
Given the above, the notion that Cubans get “shit health care” is seriously dubious. Even if they do get shit health care, it’s better than what anyone else in the region gets, and it’s better than our capitalist health care here in the US.
4. Cuban exiles and other gusano types like neoclassicals love to parrot the notion that Cuba lies about her figures. There is zero, I mean zero, evidence for this. The UN has investigated Cuba and found that their figures were accurate. This is the worms’ worst rejoinder of all to Cuba’s great figures: they are lying.
The story of the deaths of 26 people in a Cuban hospital is most unfortunate, but we have to look at the overall figures. They live longer than we do and they have lower infant mortality, end of story. Cubans get better health care than we do. That’s all there is to it.

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32 thoughts on “Capitalism is Bad for Your Health”

  1. Dear Robert
    According to the CIA World Factbook, life expectancy in Cuba is 77.64, and in the US 78.24. So, they are about the same. JS

    1. There is a way around that. People travel to the Bahamas or some other caribean island and then make their way to Cuba. You have a document that’s stamped when you enter cuba, not your passport . before you return to the states, toss the document and you’re home free.

      1. Wasn’t there a case in the US fairly recently about the Cuban 5 or something like that about Cuban spies charged and jailed by the US for spying on the Cuban community in Florida?
        There was something about it on RT a couple of months ago.

  2. The Cuban 5 or Miami 5 uncovered evidence of a terrorist plot by Cuban exiles, submitted the evidence to the US authorities, were themselves arrested (though nothing of course was done about the terrorists), given a kangaroo court trial and huge jail sentences. They have been kept ever since in solitary confinement, not even allowed visits from their wives. They broke no US laws. If they can be described as ‘unregistered agents of a foreign government’ or whatever, what about the Federal Reserve, the government, the jewish lobbies? If they were guilty of anything it could be unimaginable naivety; how could they imagine any other outcome of their putting faith in the US legal system?
    There is a longstanding and ongoing world-wide campaign to free them.

    1. @lafayette sennacherib
      Add George Soros and the number of Islamic terrorists brought in from London with Saudi backing linked to British intelligence that have actually committed terrorist attacks against the US starting with the Embassy bombings in Africa.
      The guy mentioned in Phoenix memo pre 9/11 warning about militants at flight schools Zacaria Soubra travelled from London as was the local leader of Al-Muhajiroun’s branch in Arizona a London based organisation of Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed who recruits Muslims from Universities on behalf of British intelligence to fight in Bosnia, Chechnya, etc.
      What did the US do to Soubra they deported him back to England. Bravo!
      http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a041700williams#a041700williams
      They won’t even go against BP after the oil spill.

  3. Cubans may not have any more life expectancy than Americans, but what they have is far cheaper. It has nothing to do with capitalism vs. socialism. Rather, its reflective of the fact that MD’s don’t improve health at all.
    It is unreasonable to characterize the American health care system as “free market”. A true free market system would allow you to buy any compound over the counter (or through the internet) with out having to get a permission slip (e.g. prescription) from an MD. The way MD’s practice medicine is based on the apparatchik system. State medical boards, controlled by the AMA (which is a guild system in disguise) dictate how MD’s practice medicine. MD’s that deviate from the party line can have their licenses to practice revoked and be threatened with imprisonment. There would be no licensure requirements in a true free market system.
    Also, the FDA would not exist in a true free market system. There would be an organization similar to the USDA that would enforce purity and labeling requirements. But there would be no organization that would require pre-market approval for any new compound or therapy or to have selective enforcement of such.
    The U.S. medical system cannot be characterized as “free market” by any reasonable standard. That Cubans live as long as we do, if not longer, means that the MD’s are making people sick, nothing more.

  4. 1. You seem all too willing to accept health statistics that come out of Cuba. I’m sure you’d be skeptical of a corporation’s self-reporting statistics and analysis, but you don’t hold a totalitarian regime to the same standard? There’s a reason freedom is curtailed in communist regimes like Cuba; if the truth were allowed to bounce around the regime would crumble under the weight of its own inefficiency. If Cuba was so proud of their health care industry why the lack of transparency? You argue that there is no conclusive evidence about Cuba’s fudging health statistics, yet it is also impossible to point to conclusive evidence that they don’t. You decide to accept Cuba’s word for it for some reason.
    2. Cuba doesn’t report all of its deaths which would diminish life expectancy figures or all of its abortions that are foisted upon women so as to keep the infant mortality rate low.
    3. Let’s just make the lofty assumption that Cuba isn’t lying about its health statistics. Those come at a price, correct? There’s no such thing as a free lunch. To ensure that the populace lives to be 78 any number of freedoms are given up. Basically, all freedom is given up. Contrast that with the United States where we have a life expectancy on par with the *reported* life expectancy of Cuba *plus* we are afforded basic freedoms that Cubans aren’t privy to.

    1. All rational experts around the globe accept Cuba’s figures. There’s no debate on them in the reality-based community. The only people who don’t accept them are fanatics and radical crazies.
      The gusanos in Miami don’t accept the figures, but they are fanatics.
      Hardcore radical rightwing ideologues also don’t accept them, typically radical ultra-capitalists like neoliberal, neoclassical or Libertarian types. I’ve read some pretty insane stuff coming out of Capitalism Magazine about Cuba.
      I agree with you that the good figures come at the expense of freedom.

  5. Robert,
    Until I find evidence of it, I will concede for the sake of argument that Cuban health figures are reported in good faith.
    Which then turns to your admission that those figures come at the expense of freedom. You accept that trade off whereas I don’t. I’m willing to live just as long as a communist Cuban if that means that my life is a more full experience where I can read what I want, write what I want, say what I want, travel where I want…you get the picture. The real marvel here isn’t that Cuba has somehow found a way to get people to live to be 78 – the real marvel is that a certain economic system has evolved which allows nearly unrestrained human freedom and choice which still allows people to live to be 78.

    1. chuck I’m willing to live just as long as a communist Cuban if that means that my life is a more full experience where I can read what I want, write what I want, say what I want, travel where I want…you get the picture.
      never mind I got what you were saying earlier.
      Most Americans don’t read more than two books a year. Most Americans don’t own a passport and even if they do, they don’t have much time or money for travel. Freedoms are important only if a person uses them.

      1. chic,
        in Cuba it is against the law to gather with other people to have economic discussions. whether you want to read or not, it is nice to have options on the table.
        and you’re sitting there trying to minimize the threat to freedom on the part of the Cuban government. but if travel and information and free speech and all those things weren’t all that important to people then why would the government of Cuba punish those behaviors or curtail them altogether?

        1. chuck in Cuba it is against the law to gather with other people to have economic discussions. whether you want to read or not, it is nice to have options on the table
          well chuck I see your point.
          I think Castro had to “go hard” because he had to protect his goverment. If he weren’t such a hard nosed dictator, I’m sure Cuba would have had 2 civil wars by now. Cuba would’ve become a “democracy”. What’s the point of being free if you don’t have food in your belly?
          chuck this topic, cuba, has really got you going. I don’t ever recall seeing you so passionate. Even with the epic race threads via obs.
          and you’re sitting there trying to minimize the threat to freedom on the part of the Cuban government.
          Not really, it’s just that the freedoms you speak of aren’t what most people think about on the daily bases.

        2. in Cuba it is against the law to gather with other people to have economic discussions.
          It’s not true! They would have to arrest the whole country then. Think about it. There are only 450 political prisoners in the whole country, and that was before the recent releases. The only people who down are idiots who stand up at a sports even and yell, “Down with Fidel!” or members of the dozens of tiny dissident organizations that actually do exist.
          You clearly know nothing whatsoever about this country. You act like it’s Stalin’s USSR. It’s not a democracy, true, but people sit around and talk politics all the time. If you get labeled as a contra though, it’s not good. You get discriminated against and life is not so pleasant. All contras will just admit that they are contras. You can quit being a contra anytime you want, but contras are pretty open about it LOL. In your whole large apartment building, there might be say one contra. The dissident organizations are tiny and have no support. That’s because there’s actually a lot of democracy in the system, especially now under Raul.
          I’m not a Commie, but anti-Communists really piss me off with their lies. I believe in giving credit where it’s due.
          The government doesn’t curtail those things altogether. There are a range of books available, you can travel, and there is a certain spectrum of freedom of speech. Once outside the spectrum, you are over into one of the tiny little silly dissident groups who have no support. They have no support because no one likes them and everyone seems them as a bunch of traitors. Most people support the regime. Those who really hate it just wait in line and leave.

  6. And anyway, regarding your various arguments that capitalism is bad because the capitalists hold power and use that against the masses – isn’t that true in a communist or socialist regime? Its just that the power is focused in the hands of even fewer people which thereby increases the amount of power those individuals hold.
    You can’t really escape the power factor.

    1. No, not at all. Communist regimes hold power and use it to benefit the masses to the best of their abilities! Unfortunately, the system doesn’t work very well, so often they can’t provide a high standard of living for their people.
      A few regimes like the Khmer Rogue just attacked the people, but I hardly know anyone who likes them.
      North Korea attacks dissidents, but they don’t attack the people as a whole. I’m sure they would love to figure out a way to feed their people, and if they had the money, they would do it. That’s the difference between North Korea and a capitalist regime like India or Pakistan. India and Pakistan deliberately starve their people, North Korea does not. Why do India and Pakistan do this? Because feeding the people would mean that the rich and the capitalists give up stuff, and they don’t want to do that.
      I’m not really a Communist, but I will defend their record. I’m actually just a socialist, and I prefer to live in a democratic socialist country if possible. Belarus sounds really cool. Venezuela also has a good model. Finland, any place like that.

      1. The problem with communism or non-democratic socialism is that it “accidentally” starves the people. While Kim Jong-Il doesn’t set out to starve North Koreans, his economic policies effectively do. We’ve all read reports of North Koreans being something like 4 inches shorter than South Koreans.
        I’d also argue that I think you conflate libertarinism with corporatism or facism. Personally, the meddling of business with government is still a form of socialism/communism/etc. It does exist in the United States to a degree, but there is still plenty of room for individuals here to express themselves, work for themselves, start up their own businesses, or move if they have to.
        As for social democracy; I like the idea too. I think that is the model by which a lot of smaller towns and cities in this country operate. I think most governments should get out of the way of individuals because, atomistically, individuals and their families operate on a socialist model anyway. Family matriarchs and patriarchs determine the allocation of resources, and they curtail freedoms and uphold rules, morals, and values. Why would we need another conduit i.e. a federal government to redundantly perform the same function?
        The problem arises among diverse populations – as I think you’ve acknowledged in the past (correct me if I’m wrong). Swedes can make it work because they are giving up their taxes to pay for people they closely identify with. They are effectively entrusting their brothers and sisters with their transfer payments. That doesn’t happen in a melting pot like America; people naturally resort to trying to pull one over on everyone else because there is no common cultural or genetic identity.
        I’m sure you’ve confronted this argument before since it isn’t my original thought. But you can’t tax Americans at 70% which is required to operate a “good” social democracy like you can in Denmark because Americans don’t trust where that money is going.

        1. We won’t have to tax Americans at 70%. Canadians don’t pay a lot more than we do, and they have a good social democracy.
          Most Communist regimes have not starved the people, deliberately or otherwise. North Korea and Cambodia are exceptions. One thing Communism is great at is putting food in people’s bellies. From 1945-1990, North Korea had no problems feeding its people. They were beating South Korea on most economic measures until 1980.
          In 1990, the USSR collapsed and the discounted oil they were getting saw its price go through the roof. The price of oil increased by 10X overnite. The whole economy collapsed, factories shut down, mechanized agriculture collapsed. They have never recovered to this day. Plus they are broke.
          The Stalinist system has long since broken down and there are little markets everywhere. But it’s been hard to get ag going since the regime is broke. Also a lot of people embargo them.
          Anyway, even at the worst of the starvation, things were as bad as they are year in and year out in India and Pakistan. And India and Pakistan have the same levels of stunting as North Korea. But the lying capitalist media never tells you that because they want to demonize North Korea.
          If Communism always starves people, why are Cubans the best fed in Latin America? The USSR and the East Bloc never had problems feeding people except for one year. And China generally fed its people except for a brief period.
          This “Communism starves the people” shit needs to be laid to rest. It’s tiresome.
          I don’t conflate Libertarianism with fascism or corporatism, however, your neoclassical heroes Hayek and Friedman went down to Chile and advocated for Pinochet’s dictatorship. They even said dictatorship was necessary to implement their project. Not very good Libertarians were they!
          I’m well aware that proper Libertarianism is not fascism or corporatism. In fact, I support classical corporatism as done in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, etc.
          Of course social democracy works best in a homogeneous population.

        2. Robert,
          If social democracy works best in a homogenous society then why would you suggest such a regime for America?
          As for starvation, that “one bad year” you speak of: do you mean 1932 or so when something like 10 million died in the Ukraine?
          And you set arbitrary “starting points” by which you say that each regime was “good”. But the fact is that a switch to communism doesn’t immediately lead to famine. A country can get by on pure iron will or coercion, but when an extenuating circumstance occurs, the country is not ecnomically mobile enough to respond. And that is when the nation needs “good” resource allocation the most. What percentage of residents of New Orleans would have died if the U.S. was a communist regime? 50%?
          Whereas a capitalist country can reallocate resources where they are needed most, a top-down economic system finds it cumbersome to shift food and other resources to a place where they are needed most. Such is what happened to North Korea in the early 1990s when 3 million died in a famine that was the result of communism and environmental disaster.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korean_famine
          While you seem to have your facts and dates correct, I don’t see that you have a good understanding of the process of communism and socialism. If the populace is committed to the regime, communism can last and work to some degree. But eventually it will collapse under its own weight; as we’ve seen every time the experiment has been conducted. It happens over time. We have to discuss it based upon its end results – not upon the few seemingly successful moments.
          China under Mao had a massive famine in the 1950s and 1960s.
          http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/02/16/reviews/970216.16ebersta.html
          Those disasters are all a result of bottled up economic inefficiency.
          As for India, the parts of India that are pointed to in the media are the parts that aren’t typically Indian – the parts that have experimented with capitalism have succeeded. Just as Hong Kong and Taiwan are economically free and much more prosperous than China. India can’t be said to espouse the full spirit of capitalism, but where it has tried it has succeeded. That provides a glimpse into the future and one that will work much better than the alternative of socialism or communism.

  7. Yes, 5.3 million died in Russia in 1932, but it was not a deliberate famine. The harvest collapsed. The thing is that Stalin set a world record record for doubling life expectancy in the shortest period of time. 1913 = 32 yrs. 1953 = 65 years. So every year, millions of lives were being saved who would have died under Czarism. If you say that Russia would have developed anyway, we can’t prove that, because in 1949 life expectancy in China was 32 yrs and in Albania it was also 32 yrs.
    So more than anything else, Communism was really about the gift of life, and Joseph Stalin was the greatest humanitarian of all time.
    What percentage of residents of New Orleans would have died if the U.S. was a communist regime? 50%?
    Probably zero. Cuba had a hurricane that was about as big a couple years before, and they did not have one death. The government organized a very orderly evacuation and everyone was taken care of. NOLA was an example of the failure of capitalism. Capitalism only cares about money, and humans are nothing. Humans are basically expendable.
    There were no resources to shift around in North Korea. Imagine if tomorrow the price of oil went to $27/gallon. How would you be able to buy a gallon of gas? What would happen to the economy. I told you that the price of oil went up 10X overnight, collapsing industry and industrial agriculture. There were no resources to shift around in the mid-90’s, and the regime did all it could to feed people. It wasn’t their fault.
    Furthermore, 3 million dead is a capitalist lie. 600,000 died.
    I’ll have you know that capitalism kills 10 million kids every year due to completely preventable causes. These kids die because rich people and capitalists don’t want to give up stuff.
    Capitalism starves 14 million people every year in the world due to malnutrition and related causes, mostly in South Asia. A couple of years of that beats everyone who ever starved under Communism.
    The famines under Communism were not caused by economic inefficiency. They were caused by too rapidly going to collectivization, which caused massive disruption in the countryside, leading to famine harvest. And in 1932, there may have been a natural element – wheat rust.
    When capitalism is starving 14 million people year in and year out for the last 25 years – 350 million dead since 1986 – that sounds like some major inefficiency to me.
    You again lie about India. All of India is capitalist. All of it, the whole country. India is a capitalist country. Indian capitalism has been killing 4 million people a year above and beyond China, year in and year out, since 1980, that is in the last 30 years. So there have been 120 million excess deaths in India since 1980 since India chose capitalism instead of Chinese Communism. Indian capitalism has failed in the most horrible way. Capitalism isn’t working anywhere in India. All it’s done is create an elite of about 10% of the population who live well, while everyone else is starving or living in shit.

    1. Yes, 5.3 million died in Russia in 1932, but it was not a deliberate famine

      How many died during the U.S. Great Depression? Few, if any. The deliberateness of the Ukranian famine isn’t really relevant because the biggest knock against communism/socialism isn’t that the purveyors of it meant to kill anyone; its that the system eventually leads to that.

      The thing is that Stalin set a world record record for doubling life expectancy in the shortest period of time. 1913 = 32 yrs. 1953 = 65 years.

      From a low base though. U.S. life expectancy was 51.5 at the time. You’re not making a valid comparison by talking about a “world record doubling” of life expectancy. And again, you’re assuming that those Soviet statistics are correct. I find it hard to believe that the Soviets included the Ukranian holodomor and similar effects in their life expectancy figures.
      http://aging.senate.gov/crs/aging1.pdf

      So more than anything else, Communism was really about the gift of life, and Joseph Stalin was the greatest humanitarian of all time.

      Somewhere, a retard cries. I don’t mean to be rude on your blog, but that is ridiculous. You have the burden of proof for such a statement. Have at it.

      Cuba had a hurricane that was about as big a couple years before, and they did not have one death.

      As is the case with most U.S. hurricanes; the only people who usually die are people who don’t want to leave their homes. The deaths in N.O. – as we all know – stemmed from the low sea level of the city and the flooding – not so much the hurricane itself. Neither socialism nor capitalism can deal with idoicy as displayed in Nawleans. Surely you agree with that.

      Capitalism only cares about money, and humans are nothing. Humans are basically expendable.

      No economic model can inform a populace to “GET THE HELL OUT OF DODGE DURING A HURRICANE ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU LIVE BELOW SEA LEVEL”. If the refuse to heed such logic they are stupid. I’ll grant you this: a communist/totalitarian regime would have served those 1500 dead well because it would have forced those idiots to leave by bayonett point (assuming such a regime would have been mobile enough to get to NOLA in the first place). Even though I donated $25 to that effort, I don’t feel sorry for the New Orleans debacle. That was not a failure of this country or the economic regime. If anything, those fools could have *walked* up the road a few miles to avoid flooding.
      As for your other charges pertaining to capitalism and starvation, you’ll have to cite resources for me to pay attention.

      1. 1. The Soviet figures are good. Life expectancy went up every single year in the USSR. This is because Communism actually cares about life and extending life. Life and extending life is not a capitalist value. That has zero value for the capitalist, zero. Capitalists care only about money, not about people, life or health (because you can’t make money off extending life) and this is why health care and the gift of life typically suffer under capitalism. Of course the Ukrainian famine was included in their tolls.
        And when Russia went to capitalism, they went to radical neoclassical capitalism which ruined the economy (like it often does) caused a horrible depression 3X worse than the Great Depression (like it often does, as neoclassical is the economics of destruction) and killed 15 million people. Not only that, but life expectancy collapsed. So Communism gave Russians the gift of life and neoclassical capitalism gave them the gift of death. Thanks a lot, capitalists!
        The Cuban government came out there and forced everyone to move. A lot of the people in NOLA did not have cars. Clearly the state should have evacuated people. Once again, the abject failure of neoclassical economics that assigns almost zero role for the state. The Cuban regime was certainly mobile enough to get to the hurricane zone and evacuate everyone. And they put them up in state shelters for the duration of the hurricane, and the state even rebuilt their homes! Cool! Glory to Cuba! Isn’t that cool? The state rebuilds your home for free? Yeah!
        The sane experts say that the Soviet statistics are good. Even the US government did back in the Cold War days. The only people saying the Soviets lied are anti-Communist nuts, usually radical rightwingers = people like you. Your view is not respected. Anyway, after 1964, USSR life expectancy was flat. If they were making it up, why didn’t they just keep on making it up?

    1. Nobody said the system perfectly handles ever rights issue. But rest assured that in many countries – especially ones that Robert touts – there wouldn’t be a story written and published about such a topic. That’s the difference. Illiberties are much more easily dealt with in a free, democratic, capitalist-minded society.

      1. It’s not true at all. How do you define a capitalist country? Most countries in the world are being run by socialist parties of one sort or another. The freest countries on Earth are usually the socialist or social democratic countries of Europe. Capitalism is actually associated with less freedoms. The entire media is owned by the capitalist class, mostly by the richest of the rich. And labor, human rights, worker, community and other activists are typically persecuted by death squad type groups, beaten, tortured and even murdered. This is part of the project of US imperialism, and imperialism is a project of US capitalism. The running of death squads and frequent coups in the 3rd world are promoted by the capitalist class in the US, its media and its military.
        If you’re really a Libertarian, you ought to oppose this, but the thing is, the US capitalist class sees it as necessary for capitalism. Most Libertarians support rightwing dictatorships like Pinochets. After all, Hayek and Friedman went down there and cheered him on. Remember?
        This is no, no, no, no relationship between capitalism and civil liberties, and non-Communist socialism is certainly compatible with civil liberties.
        I already told you I’m not a Communist, I just hate anti-Communist lies. So why do you keep accusing me of “touting” Communism. I’m a socialist, not a Communist.

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