Thoughts on American Amnesia
February 12, 2017 | Uncategorized
Reading American Amnesia (How the war on government led us to forget what made America Prosper) by economists Hacker and Pierson. It’s how we forgot (propagandized) how effective government has improved the lives of the average American. Start with life expectancy; in 1912 the average life expectancy for men was 48, for women 52. This has risen to 76 and 79 respectively by 2000. So for 1000’s of years, life expectancy changed little and then shot up in the last century. The main reason was effective government; mainly it cleaned up water and milk.
I don’t know for a fact, but I’ll bet there were dairies, forced to pasteurize their milk, that complained about government intrusion and citizens, forced to move their out-houses away from rivers and cities, forced to process waste that complained about the government.
Another big reason for increase in longevity was antibiotics and vaccines. “When it came to vaccines, the free market failed. If John Doe got vaccinated, that was an enormous benefit to everyone he might infect otherwise – yet this enormous social benefit was not one that John had direct personal interest in considering. Perhaps as important, there were the inevitable free riders: people who recognized that if everyone else was vaccinated, they could go without and avoid the small but real risk vaccines posed. But less-than-universal vaccinations meant much higher risk of disease. Some people had to be compelled to be vaccinated.” Hacker and Pierson
The amount of economic benefit from living productive lives 20 to 30 years longer is immense. How much productivity from these experienced workers has been gained. How much more money did their heirs inherit and build on from these productive years when houses were paid off.