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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Market morality « Previous | |Next »
April 23, 2003

In a previous post I mentioned the values that arise from the new market order. Hayek argues that these are the only ones that are acceptable in a Great Soceity.

This article by Janet Albrechtsen, Booming compassion industry fuels insurance disasters indicates that there is no place for compassion in the market order. Its a misguided emotion because the market order is like an evolving lottery.

Presumably, if compassion is not a leftover emotion and ethic from more primitive days, then it would be an appropriate emotion of the volunteer organizations of civil society. What then is the relationship between civil society and the market order? These groups (meals on wheels) do not exist to enable the market order. They are there to enable a society as opposed to a market order. Are they there to pick up the pieces from those who failed to do well in the market lottery?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:54 PM | | Comments (2)


The thing is, most of these people who argue the Albrechtsen line generally don't have to experience the negative consequences of their preferred mode of social organisation. At least, not until their head sits on top of a pike (so to speak) after being seen to by the National Barber who Shaves Close. {yes, that was a joke} No, they can sit comfortably in their sidwalk cafes, gated communities and wine bars and relax, content that they are the cream of human evolution. So long as they don't enter the back streets near a night club or venture down Hindley St. after 2am, they probably will experience very little in the way of personal violence that is bred by dysfunctional upbringing. They will not reap the rewards of a society that encourages the casual exploitation of another sentient being for the perceived marginal betterment of one's self. Nor will they have to endure an hour long wait in the queue at the Centrelink office, nor exist on tins of soup donated by charity.

Is the article a joke? HIH sank because it was a commercial pipe dream. It didn't sink because of huge payouts, it sank because it was infeasible. Why is HIH mentioned in this rant?

The business of Insurance includes allowing for the impact of fraud and compassion. They fight individual cases, but they are unsurprisingly tolerant of fraud in general, since fraudulent and compassionate payouts are just as valid as normal ones. They raise their rates to compensate, increase their business, and turn more profit.

Janet writes "The cargo-cult mentality says premiums are priced to reflect fraud." But I've never had a conversation with a mentality. The industry says so, and the industry at least has spokespeople.

I waded throuh a bit of the "conservative versus liberal philosophy" morass and composed the following. Though your archives solicit comment, it is not clear that they accept them.