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2. Why would we expect to? There's little competition, especially on price.

It being the NYT, of course they blame doctors, with a ridiculous anecdote about fear of being "blackballed" and a silly notion notion of "awkwardness" that maybe applies to the 5% or so of people who live in extremely rural areas, but the real driver is the increasing socialization of costs that Kling has talked about.

It's becoming a bit like the problem with lack of school choice, which is so bad that parents actually have to shop for homes on the basis of which areas have good schools, which is a bit crazy when you think about it.

Maybe I have a great doctor, but I'm greedy and don't want to share

If you're quick with a knife, you'll find that the invisible hand is made of delicious invisible meat.

"parents actually have to shop for homes on the basis of which areas have good schools, which is a bit crazy when you think about it."

Finally someone else who verbalizes this!

Me: "Mr. Banker, here's a business model, in order to use my product people have to move"

Banker: "Does it involve selling homes?"

Me: "No."

Banker: "Get the ____ out of my office."

It's amazing the degree to which a high percentage of people just go along with insanity because that's how it has to be done today.

"Finally"? I don't think so - Elizabeth Warren made exactly this claim in her widely reviewed 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap. "Warren and Tyagi point out that families buy homes they cannot afford in order to live in a neighborhood with better schools." (Reed Business review, cited at

I'm going to guess that Elizabeth Warren isn't going to come at it from the same angle. Just a wild guess.

"There’s little competition..."

Doctors who target unilingual immigrants are an extreme example. Being the only Cantonese speaking ear nose and throat specialist in town can make for a very lucrative practice. The only incentive to be competent is professional pride and that's not always enough.

The more general problem is that doctors really are experts. Competition only works when consumers can tell the difference between good service and bad. In non-extreme examples that's often not the case.

The "medical care is too complicated for consumers to evaluate" argument could be applied to virtually any field requiring some non-minimal level of expertise. Consumers will make some mistakes in evaluation, but a large number of reviews will probably do a good job of grading performance, certainly better than nothing.

1. I believe that John Fahey did a song by that name, too.

Yes though it was a performance of a piece from1908 that was specially made for a britain-china Christian exposition

From the 1900 tract on how the world might end: "Thus, even at the present rate of fuel consumption there is only oxygen to last 340 years, and long before this time the atmosphere would have become so vitiated with carbonic acid gas, and so weakened in oxygen, that either we should have to emigrate to some other sphere, or else give up the habit of breathing altogether."

Seems that they had their own version of Global Warming even back then.

Hey, our version is totally different. It uses computers and stuff.

"Seems that they had their own version of Global Warming even back then."

Nope, same version as we have now. Svante Arrhenius had it pretty much figured out in 1896, and performed manual calculations that are not so far off from what scientists believe today. His only error was that he didn't believe that human beings could ever burn that much fossil fuel.

The article, by the way, is simply wrong - Lord Kelvin never claimed we would run out of oxygen. That was a matter of bad journalism, not bad science.

That was a matter of bad journalism, not bad science.

It seems like the difference between the two is decreasing.

Actually, the 1896 version was more correct than the 2012. It was drawn explicitly from the CO2 effect itself, and didn't assume the large positive multipliers that climate science clings so desperately to in face of all failed predictions.

Yes, they have successfully trolled for billions of dollars. Your description is apt.

More like peak oxygen. Except it was just more rational than the peak oil crackpot theories bandied about today.

2. There are certain goods and services for which people expect adequate to superior performance. Satisfaction is communicated by silence. Dissatisfaction is communicated by screams and lawsuits.

Medical services are one of those. Police, fire, ambulance, public transportation, electricity, gas, water, trash are others.

A paycheck is the only appreciation a doctor needs. No, that's not totally true - I thank my doctors. But they already have enough patients to keep them busy.

I also perceive a shortage of doctors. Pediatricians who won't take non-newborns, GPs who won't take all manner of things for their convenience. I endorse the one I got by actually getting them.

There's the alternative for doctors of offering reviews for unusually good ones. That's legally safe.

The reason there's a listing for fat-friendly doctors is that fat people are apt to get told to lose weight rather than being examined so that there's a chance of finding out what the actual problem is.

I recently found out that there's also a need for a list of thin-friendly doctors. Unusually thin people are apt to be just told to gain weight.

The calculation of the mass of oxygen in the atmosphere in the "How The World Might End" article is three orders of magnitude too low.

I can't believe Lord Kelvin actually made this claim, and cannot find any primary source that supports it. Like today, scientists are usually pretty accurate in their assessments, but their work is routinely butchered by reporters. In this article: is mentioned that "There is a copy of "On the Fuel-Supply and the Air-Supply of the Earth" reprinted in Kelvin's Mathematical and Physical Papers, vol. V, but it is only two paragraphs and does not include the conclusions that were quoted in the press".

It's unfortunate that things like this are uncritically assumed to shed light on the accuracy of contemporary science.

#5: not much of a review

is it really the case that china's party is non-inclusive? yes, they hold information close, but that is not the same thing.

One factor in doctor reviews might be the higher than normal switching costs, it's quite hard to get a new appointment with most doctors, so few people have a huge amount of experience evaluating enough physicians to have a useful opinion.

Isn't it because all doctors are good thanks to licensing?

#1, one of my favorite hymns! I'll be singing it with my foreign bride at our wedding. (although, at the wedding, I'll actually be the foreign groom!)

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