Monday, November 28, 2005

What happened to 'merit goods'?

I would really like to know how much the English Economics A Level has changed in the fourteen years since I did it. Obviously socialism's gone out of the window, but what about the theory backing it up? We learnt that things like education and health were 'merit goods' ie that the production increased the value of society and the economy to such an extent that it was in the economy's interest to provide them free of charge.

Has socialism died?

I'm sad enough to have looked socialism up in my 1991 Collins Dictionary of Economics. Under their definition it is basically a mixed economy - some state provision of services and some private sector. I was taught, and this isn't that long ago - when I was eighteen - that this is the sort of economy that we live in, in the UK. In my 2000 Penguin dictionary of philosophy, socialism is 'a theory and a movement advocating public ownership of the more important means of production'.

But precisely who these days is advocating this? Not the labour party for definite.

Not Roy Hattersley, from his diatribe advocating selling off the NHS a couple of weeks ago with the health secretary. And not Polly Toynbee who was doing the same. And not the New Statesman magazine, which had a glossy colour page pull out on privatising the NHS sponsored by Norwich Union.

And these are the 'left wing' of the Labour party.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Tatton victory over Hewitt as she retreats over 'Commissioning a Patient Led NHS'

The secretary of State for Health was forced into an embarrasing climb down today as she admitted that the only way forward was Tattonisation.

Speaking on the politics show on BBC1, she said that the important thing was that patients would lead the NHS.

She said that Primary Care Trusts would only subcontract out services after extensive local consultation.

Tatton - 3
REst of the World - 1