Listen to the workers

We have reached the end of 2019.

Our world is changing, due to voting choices made by ordinary working people. They in turn are being driven by economic forces.

As Bill Clinton said in 1992 ‘it’s the economy, stupid’.

This post looks at some of those choices, made despite strong resistance from people of high wages, inner city public servants, lobbyists and business groups.

It then discusses the biggest elephant in the room of western economic changes; healthcare.

Making America Great Again

Blue collar workers from industrial areas in America have been devastated by the outsourcing of jobs to low labor cost countries like China.

Wages in America have stagnated over the past twenty years, while healthcare, education and housing costs have skyrocketed. 

Well over one-fifth of the male workforce earns poverty-level wages.

While cheap overseas goods flooded the markets and corporate profits rose, so did suicide rates in the American heartlands.

In 2015 pair of Princeton academics published a large study showing that life expectancy in America is now falling and the ‘deaths of despair’ from white men in rural areas are responsible.

Meanwhile, an army of casual workers that keep open bars, restaurants, diners and hotels across America face having their meagre wages undercut by a flood of illegal workers prepared to work for half the minimum wage.

How can you get legal work on $10 an hour when someone else will work for $5?

an American bartender in his twenties, juggling College debt and several jobs asked once asked me.

These issues were often ignored then ridiculed by inner city elites, many of whom on are huge salaries in finance, public and technology sectors.

In 2016 these workers elected a blunt businessman called Donald Trump who gave them ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball caps and slapped tariffs on Chinese goods.

Political and media classes ridiculed him.

Donald Trump told his supporters the inner city lobbyists and political classes are a ’swamp that he would drain’.

I happened to be on holiday in America in 2016, driving around Mid and West Coast country towns. Every house had a ‘vote trump’ sign in its front yard. It was blatantly obvious that Trump would win the upcoming election by a landslide. Yet the media mocked his baseball hat wearing supporters, claimed his election was a ‘shock’ then fell into conspiracy theories.

To watch a Trump rally is watch a new social phenomena, a genuine affection and understanding between the forgotten people of America, rural, regional and industrial area workers, who have found a champion in a crass, no bullshit hard-nosed business man born in New York, who’s family originally came from Germany.

donald trump

The revival of British free trade

Across the Atlantic, traditional British industries like fishing have sunk from being highly successful and proud industries, to total ruin. The reason? 

European Union tariffs, that penalise efficient, successful industries and indulge overpriced and inefficient ones.

Since Britain joined the Common Market in 1972, EU has continuously raised taxes, increased regulations and pushed anti business policies. They insist that local industries are irrelevant, that national values don’t count and that European Christian culture is ‘obsolete’.

At the same time the EU members pay themselves huge wages, are not voted for in by any democratic process, and work in exclusive areas, sealed off from the public with exclusive shopping and office blocks.

20 years ago an English businessman from Kent called Nigel Farage started campaigning across England for a national referendum to leave the EU. The same wealthy inner city groups that would ridicule Trump decades later, ignored Farage, laughed at him.

In 2016 Farage finally got his referendum. To the shock of the elites, the majority of British people voted to leave the EU.

As Tory governments and Eurocrats kept delaying Brexit, public anger increased.

In December 2019 the Tory leader Boris Johnson won with a landslide vote. Working class areas that had voted Labor for over one hundred years, voted Tory in order to ‘Get Brexit Done’.

When the country finally leaves at the end of January 2020 the EU will not just lose forty billion pounds a year in taxes.

Britain’s example that you can escape the EU, pay less taxes, trade successfully with other countries and run your country according to the wishes of your own people, will not be lost to the other 27 ‘union’ members.

According to a survey commissioned by the European Council on Foreign relations, over 50% of Europeans think the the EU will collapse in the coming decade.

Restoring the Australian 'fair go'

By 2017 Australia the car manufacturing industry finally shut down, after decades of neglect by both sides of government. What was once a great employer offering ‘the working man’ a middle class wage, died an ignominious death.

Subsequently, hundreds of smaller Australian companies involved in affiliated industries collapsed.

The slide from blue collar worker to long term welfare recipient was conveniently ignored by the new rising middle class, bankers, lobbyists and Australian public servants, famously paid double their overseas counterparts wages.

Trades schools were shut down as ‘irrelevant’. Students pushed into substandard University courses. Many ended up with nothing more than large University debts and unskilled jobs.

Meanwhile, left wing teachers unions pushed to abolish classroom discipline, dumbed down the school curriculum and instead filled school lessons with bizzare social engineering theories.

Australian students are now rated by international studies as being the worst behaved in the western world. It is no coincidence that they also have having some of the worst maths and science levels.

Australian parents have responded by abandoned the government school system in droves. 

Fifty percent of Australian children now attend private schools, the highest rates in Europe. The fastest growing sector of the private school system are conservative Christian schools.

At the last election in Australia, the ex union man Bill Shorten, media favourite and advocate of closing coal mining operations to please the green lobby, was unceremoniously dumped by the voters.

Instead a little known man called Scott Morrison, a long-standing member of the Pentecostal church, was elected with a large majority.

Once again academics, the media and public servants are in shock. How can this be? they ask.

It’s simple.

Australians want their children to have a fair go, a decent education and job opportunities, including manufacturing and trades.

Reforming healthcare - the final frontier

There is an elephant in the room of this rapidly changing landscape.

An industry with the fastest rising costs, the highest rates of errors, the worst use of technology and the biggest, most powerful collection of industry, professional and union lobbyists.

I’m talking of course, about healthcare. The Jurassic Park of the 21st Century.

‘Why is healthcare so backwards’ people sometimes ask me.

‘Because the funding system does not reward efficiency or punish incompetence’ I always reply.

Traditional healthcare follows a ‘pay per item’ payment system. Stuff that is done to a patient is payed for, no matter how good or bad the delivery of those treatments are.

The more stuff hospitals do to patients, the more money they get paid. 

No one compares prices across the health industry. From knee replacements to cancer drugs to MRI’s, the actual costs and effectiveness are all kept hidden.

‘Patients’ are voiceless, uninformed and confused.

‘Doctors’ have to sign confidentiality agreements as part of their employment contracts, and know that speaking out about other colleges is professional death.

Over servicing is now estimated to waste one third of western health budgets. If you add the layers of bloated bureaucracy you could believe that one half the health budgets are actually being wasted.

Rather than tackle the ‘vested interests’ in healthcare, western governments are quietly privatising hospitals. One third of Australian hospitals are private, the majority of oncology and orthopedics are done privately. In England fifty percent of patients in private hospitals are NHS patients.

The OECD published a report in 2015 warning that western   health budgets will become unsustainable by 2040.

A backlash has already started in healthcare.

A new movement of ‘pay cash for healthcare’ businesses is springing up across the world. They fill patients needs, are affordable, home based and use the best of modern technology.

I predict this little known movement will overtake bloated, big spending and inefficient hospitals.

Concierge medicine is where Doctors see a much smaller number of patients for an ongoing subscription fee. Patient issues get followed up and as a result, they stay out of Emergency Departments.

Medical tourism, where people search online for a hospital, shop around, pay cash and fly out for their treatment.

Consumer health technology allows the average person to  buy sophisticated wearable devices, that are accurate, approved by regulatory authorities and help diagnose and manage chronic diseases.

Acute home nursing services, platforms to hire home carers and telemedicine are bringing services that were once only available in hospitals, into the family home.  

I forsee the closure of many public hospitals in the next decade, the collapse of traditional health insurance plans and the rise of a new breed of healthcare services.

Consumer focused, home based for cash payments.

Hang on to your hats. Change is coming. And faster than you thought possible.

© Wikihospitals December 2019

References

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