Saturday, April 16, 2016

Do Physicians Understand the Driving Force Behind Inexpensive Machine-Washable Underwear Which Bring Enormous Health Benefits?

A Don Boudreaux letter to a mass e-mailer:
Mr. Fred Lunt
American College of Physicians
Mr. Lunt:
In your recent mass e-mail you announce that “[t]he American College of Physicians issues urgent call to action on Climate Change and its possible catastrophic health effects.”
I wonder if the American College of Physicians is also issuing an urgent call to action on government-imposed restrictions on markets and their possible catastrophic health effects.  Because history knows no force that rivals free markets at improving humans’ health, surely you and your organization’s caring physicians are also concerned that the health of ordinary men, women, and children will be put in grave jeopardy by efforts to halt climate change through government interventions that hamstring markets.
Surely your members appreciate, for example, the enormous health benefits of inexpensive machine-washable underwear and the fact that these are the products of free markets.  Surely your members appreciate also other health-promoting features of free markets – features such inexpensive indoor plumbing, inexpensive potable water, inexpensive household detergents and disinfectants, inexpensive dental-hygiene products, and, most importantly, salvation from the malnutrition and starvation that were routine before the industrial age.
And I trust that your concerned members also take due account of the enormous benefits that inexpensive fossil fuels directly bestow on ordinary people – benefits such as affordable transportation that enables local pharmacies to be always fully stocked with life-saving drugs; affordable energy that keeps people’s homes and workplaces safely cool during summer and safely warm during winter; and affordable electricity that gives nearly everyone access not only to clean-burning electric light bulbs and kitchen ranges, but also ready on-line access to the latest legitimate medical advice and even to the latest paroxysms of mindless hysteria about the consequences of fossil-fuel use.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030
The above originally appeared at Cafe Hayek.

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