Finding the limits

January 19, 2014

I have been reading articles about how doctors apply an entrepreneurial spirit to the practice of medicine and governors manage their relationships with mayors.  And in both cases, it seems to me that, although the critiques are written as if the underlying dynamic is outré, the real problem is that the participants have gone too far.  In so doing they may have actually exposed a problem with the fundamental dynamic, but I doubt the critics really think that — I think they really just don’t like the particular way an accepted pattern of behavior has been exaggerated.

I guess it’s a question whether a smaller version of profiteering in medicine or trading horses in politics is okay, necessary, and helpful to the greater good and individual personal development.  Alternative systems seem to bog down in other ways.  No hope of personal gain seems to discourage most people, and concentrating too much control in small groups to dictate behavior, instead of leaving it to participants, seems to invite corruption at that level instead.

I am sure better trained minds than I have grappled with these questions.  I guess what caught my attention here is how upset people get when somebody doesn’t “do it right,” and so jeopardizes the whole set-up for everybody who does know how to stay within the limits.  Because the critics are not calling for a wholesale overall of our health care delivery system or our politics, just calling out people who go too far.

Myself, I’d be more inclined to throw out more of the underlying system itself and to be critical of even the more accepted applications of the behavioral patterns.  I think acceptance of profiteering inevitably produces economic misbehavior and acceptance of trading favors inevitably produces social misbehavior.  Why people do not find sufficient satisfaction with other, more intrinsic forms of reward seems to me a place to investigate.  It’s (probably) the ego, stupid.

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