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"Free market" magazine attacks free markets and thrift in "communist" China

September 10, 2004

At least usually, The Economist is regarded as a free market oriented publication. Yet in a story about "China's collapsing health care" which unfortunately is not online in its August 21 issue it blasts the "communist" leaders of China for being too free market oriented when it comes to health care and urges them to increase government spending on health care. The story ends with the line "Slowly and reluctantly as it maybe, China is beginning to discover that market forces alone cannot produce good health care".

They praise the former health care policies of Mao Zedong, while attacking the more free market oriented policies of today´s Chinese leaders. It is rather telling of the degree of socialism in the west that "free marketeers" attack "communists" for being too free market oriented.Allegedly according to The Economist, the abandonment of Mao Zedong's wise health care policies in favor of more free market oriented policies has brought on countless evils, including lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality. What is also extraordinary is that another alleged evil that the free market oriented health care policies create is a higher savings rate which according to The Economist is and I quote "Public anxiety over the collapse of affordable health care is reflected in China's high savings rate...Worries about the fast-rising costs of health care and education...is restraining consumer demand and thereby imperiling China's long-term economic growth."

That's right, The Economist thinks that a high savings rate is "imperiling long-term economic growth". For a magazine that calls itself "The Economist" such economic ignorance is astonishing. I sent a letter to them a week ago criticizing this, but it looks like its not going to be published, so I'm criticizing them here instead.

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