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S-townMike was posting about Michael Moore’s blitzing Wolf Blitzer, when a debate broke out in the comments between blogger Mike Hammock and S-townMike. I’ve condensed the comments for the sake of brevity. I’m nothing if not the soul of wit. Lounge lingerie

Hammock:

I’m glad that there is greater public discussion of the flaws in the U.S. health care system. What bothers me is that Moore and everyone else seems not to carry the argument beyond “we should get better care” and “health insurance companies are greedy”. Greed produced my clothes, my house, and the computer I’m using right now.

Even if it were an unregulated market, there are options other than single-payer or nationalization. There are policies that can guarantee care while encouraging competition to control costs and promote innovation. No one seems to be willing to discuss them, possibly because these ideas are complicated. Lingerie Costumes.

S-townMike:

You sound like Gordon Gecko on greed. Vice wasn’t the only thing that produced that which you have. If that is the case, then we are truly not re[d]emable in any shape or fashion. I don’t subscribe to reductionistic arguments (let alone dystopian ones) that call vice “virtue.”

I’m just thinking about sticking any of the “seven deadlies” into MH’s consequentialist (perhaps utilitarian) judgment that the goods he enjoys now were produced by greed (thus, making an indictment of greed “incomplete” [on consequentialist terms]). Couldn’t we say the same of wrath or gluttony?

…. I cannot help but wonder if the same logic would maintain that any judgments that the enslavement of some human beings in order to benefit other human beings is categorically wrong are incomplete until we evaluate all of the good things the first group brings the second. If so, that seems to be treading on some thin moral ice.

Hammock:

Just to make the argument clear: Greed is not a sufficient condition for an undesirable outcome. Greed is not even incompatible with desirable outcomes. In the right institutional arrangement, greed is a necessary condition for desirable results. So why denounce greed, rather than the institutional environment?

I will indeed state that making categorical statements like “Greed is always bad” are overly simplistic (libertarians run into the same problem when they invoke simple principles such as “non-initiation of force”). It is almost always possible to construct an example in which any hard-and-fast, black-and-white moral rule does not hold.

…Economics might be able to tell us something about the true nature of the problem–why does this market work poorly, whereas others work well? But that would require a careful and thoughtful discussion that would probably bore most people, so no one–not CNN, not Michael Moore–has the discussion. Instead we get grandstanding and entertainment.” Lingerie Dresses.

In my dictionary, greed is defined as wanting more than you deserve. Is that REALLY what Hammock is talking about here?

Read the rest, here.

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