Friday, March 11, 2011

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The Best Goals?

Canada was created by the British North America Act of 1867. It declares the purpose of Government to be to make laws for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada. This is a very different philosophy about the purpose of Government. While in the case of Canada, its citizens may be just as free and happy as Americans, it is a set of concepts which is often used to support the idea of a benevolent dictatorship. This is the kind of approach which the Chinese government would use to justify how it works. Arguably, the majority would be quite happy with this system.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is Government in the US simply less efficient and effective than in other countries?

Mary Meeker recently produced an analysis which treated the US as a business. The inescapable conclusion from this is that time and again, the US gets less value from much government spending that other countries do.I have to wonder if this is based on the people in government (and less it is lower status than in most other countries and often lower paid), are the grandfathered processes of government at fault, is the inefficiency of having 50 states duplicate much effort and lose the economies of scale which smaller countries, such as France, can achieve, does the greater dislike of government in the US hinder it from doing its job, or is there some other cause?

In this vein, I must wonder whether US business is as well managed as it seems, or does the scale advantages of operating in a huge country mask inefficiencies?

Friday, March 04, 2011

The problem with US health care, education, law enforcement and much else is the system not the spending

The US spends more per capital on health care, education, law enforcement and much else, both in actual $s and as a % of GDP than any other Western country, for poorer results than most. Yet, this is rarely questioned. All too often the solution is to spend more money (this probably also applies to military spending too). The issue in most cases is that the entire structure is not viewed as a single system whose interests are aligned with the patient, the student, the person who is supposed to benefit from all the spending. In health care, the doctor, the hospital, the laboratory, the insurance company, the billing company, each only focuses on their own interests. As a result, even it each becomes more efficient, it is as though each of the car component manufacturers are designing the best component without reference to the design of the whole car. The best tires in the world are useless if they do not fit onto the car. However, someone will make money providing adapters to make the tire fit on the car. Now, there is little incentive for each participant to change their actions to benefit the whole, and thereby the patient. As has been said, one person's waste is another's way of making a living. The fact that each primary care physician requires 4 people for administration is of no concern to the insurance company or hospital. Nor are the inefficiencies of the laboratory or equipment manufacturer of concern to the doctor.

The same kind of issues impact so many services in the US. In order to repair this the entire system has to be addressed, and in a way which focuses on the person for whose benefit the spending takes place. Much as Walmart sees the entire supply chain so that it can provide the best product for the lowest cost to the shopper, we have to view the health care, education, law enforcement, transportation, defence and other services to citizens in much the same way.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Why will Apple maintain it's dominance of the tablet market?

The Apple iPad is expected to continue to maintain a market share well over 75% through 2011. The question in my mind i s why so low? It is an elegant, fast piece of hardware, with a usable screen, the widest supply of software, and the lowest price. I envisage Apple continue to dominate, much as it does in MP3 players. As more and more computing moves to tablets, Apple will gradually become an even bigger player in the total market, particularly as the Air provides powerful computing in a package not much bigger than the iPad.