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comstock --“Again, we are here, but can people not see the *fundamental* difference between consumer goods provided by the market and public services provided by the state on the basis of need?” Yes there are plenty of differences between consumer goods and public services. Goods are tangible and services are not? ;) However, there are many similarities like, goods and services (public and private) are subject to consumers demand (need)... and are consumed / experienced within the market place... (rather than provided by the market...) And, yes, both of them, are provided on the basis of need (unless you are telling me that there are companies out there forcing consumption without any demand for it!?) As far as consumers are concerned, once they made their choice, the *fundamental*, and only difference ought to be the source of funding. However, this should have no effect on their final service perception, as most probably, their free choice has been made based on expected service quality... I can assure you that people here clearly understand the difference between public and private sector services (I believe this is the comparison you were really talking about?) Nevertheless, NHS stands for the National Health Service and this doesn’t imply that it needs to be delivered / experienced within state owned premises... The key phrase here is the “national service” and as such it is expected to be free / subsidised, even if outsourced to a private provider. --“Can people not see that private companies are (shock-horror) there to make a profit, not provide the best care possible.” Well, how a company (private or public) would be able to make and sustain any level of profits without providing the best possible service (care)? --“Honestly, there *really* is no demand for choice or market forces of any sort in the NHS beyond blogs like this.” Now you’re talking! You see that’s the problem! Free market forces have been gradually squeezed out of the NHS - all with good intentions but nevertheless, harmful results. Once we re-introduce the basic consumer rights back to this market the natural healing process should kick in. Ok, there are no clearly visible ‘profits’ in the state funded services, as there are no markup on their provision and, in theory, we receive them at their base costs. But please think how profits are realised in any type of business. Wouldn’t you say that this is achieved by reducing costs and increasing productivity i.e. optimising the use of given resources? The fact that the NHS and similar are not reporting ‘profits’ as we know them it doesn’t mean that there is no demand for free consumers and market forces! My apologies for this too-long post but it is quite upsetting when people recycle empty comments without evaluating fundamentals.
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