Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Here's what happens in a free market, with unlikely comparison to healthcare

This is from Slashdot:

"Joe Konrath has an interesting interview with independent writer John Locke who currently holds the coveted #1 spot in the Amazon Top 100 and has sold just over 350,000 downloads on Kindle of his 99 cent books since January 1st of this year, which, with a royalty rate of 35%, is an annual income well over $500k. Locke says that 99 cents is the magic number and adds that when he lowered the price of his book The List from $2.99 to 99 cents, he started selling 20 times as many copies — about 800 a day, turning his loss lead into his biggest earner. 'These days the buying public looks at a $9.95 eBook and pauses. It's not an automatic sale,' says Locke. 'And the reason it's not is because the buyer knows when an eBook is priced ten times higher than it has to be. And so the buyer pauses. And it is in this pause—this golden, sweet-scented pause—that we independent authors gain the advantage, because we offer incredible value.' Kevin Kelly predicts that within 5 years all digital books will cost 99 cents. 'I don't think publishers are ready for how low book prices will go,' writes Kelly. 'It seems insane, dangerous, life threatening, but inevitable.'"

1) Should government intervene, and put in a price floor on books? 

2) Should President Numb Nuts initiate another "Cash For Clunkers" program to take old copies of, say, James Michener and Earl Stanley Gardner novels out of circulation to create demand for new books? 

3) Should we be prepared to bailout Random House, Putnam, Simon and Schuster, and all the rest? 

4) And what about this incredibly selfish and destructive writer, John Locke, who now has a $500,000.00 income?  He took a huge risk, and has been rewarded handsomely for it.  How thoroughly should he be punished? 

5) What would happen if we allowed one nurse in every city to set up shop on his/her own, with no regulations, no oversight, and hell, no training requirements.  Just like this John Locke character is doing with publishing.  Let the good ones prosper and the bad ones go under.  And what if we gave these nurses an exemption from lawsuits and insurance programs?  Ditto for their suppliers?  And what if we allowed more and more nurses into the program based on market demand???  And then a few doctors?  Kind of like writers are going to do with John Locke's monstrosity. 
Do you think medical costs would drop like a stone? 

This John Locke must be found and stopped before his ideas catch on. 


TarrantLibertyGuy said...

You had me until you mentioned the immunity from lawsuits. I feel that lawsuits, if properly administered, are a terrific free market device. Bad suppliers get sued and fail, good suppliers don't a pick up the customers of the failed bad ones.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Here's my point....We spend a staggering amount of money lawyer-proofing our appendectomies.

What would happen if you signed a "waiver" of some sort, releasing the doctor from liability beforehand? Kind of like getting on the mechanical bull at Billy Bob's. Would the price go up or down?

Anyone who wanted to retain their right to sue could pay more $$$$. It could be up to the customer.

Tim Lebsack said...

Only yesterday, AFLAC turned me down because of my hang gliding, para-sailing and bungee jumping. No problem, I've got Obamacare.

Simon Cooke said...

Sueing works where the process isn't controlled by a closed shop. We have law-bound systems where lawyers have a vested interest to create more laws and more reasons for law.

A community administered common law system - lay magistrates, elected judges and juries - now that might work!