Single buyer health care nations have far lower costs, because the "consumers" negotiate for the product in unity. One big entity (say Pharmac) against another big entity (say Merck).
In the great ole USA, each pharma company negotiates price as a monopoly provider with a take-it-or-leave-it price, one customer at at time. Often that customer's health is on the line, so they're not particularly powerful at the negotiating table...which is in fact not a table, but a price sticker they can pay or die. Our "free market" actually creates a very tilted power imbalance, and leaves a very distorted market.
The US model is where the customer is forced to hand over a blank check. The NZ model is where the customer gets a chair at a negotiation table.
"where we elect representatives to do things like make laws and negotiate treaties. Nothing in the process requires representatives to run anything by the general population before acting."
Do you understand that this is ALSO how things work in democratic nations like the UK or Canada, right? They also have Representative Democracies. You seem to think that the US is unique in that, and that all others have Direct Democracy, which they don't (although California comes close with their Prop system.)
The USA is a republic, and follows a democratic process of government.
My response: No, perhaps not, but they're a lot closer to the final text than whatever output would have been typed by a thousand monkeys. Drafts are not "random", and statistically have significant correlation to the final.
Most of you have probably been at workplace meetings where the need for some document, contract, guideline, marketing copy, or whatever is needed. The question comes up as to who will accept the task of writing it. Most people back away, not wanting the work. I learned long ago in business to volunteer myself or someone on my team to take the "first pass" at every document. I learned that there is huge power in doing so.
Your needs, your points of view, your strategies, your political imperatives can, thus, all be part of the original document.
It doesn't matter how many edits follow. Even if people don't agree with your imperatives, what usually happens, at worst for me, is a "toning down" of my wording. My initiatives still remain part of the document.
I've seen documents and policies from places I've worked at 15 years ago STILL forming the basis of current documentation. There is tremendous MOMENTUM in words. Those that write them have grabbed the power.
In the case of the TPP, it's big pharma, Hollywood, and other corporate interests that wrote the document. The impact of their power grab will harm the rest of us for decades if TPP passes. Killing the document is the only way to fix it.
But isn't this one of the big problems, "distribute this work"?
It's illegal, but "sorta OK" for one to break Sec 1201 in the privacy of their own home, on their own devices. No SWAT team is likely to crash down your door for messing with your own stuff.
But that SWAT attack becomes far more likely when you start to distribute your hacks, enhancements, APIs, code, and solutions to others. The Sec 1201 chilling effects on this role are massive, since these are the people enforcement will target.
But sharing that kind of innovation in an open environment is exactly how progress most often gets made. This way many hands can make light work. And sharing is how the code gets used, and advances the useful arts and sciences.
Instead of every user having to re-invent the wheel by making the same hack for each of their own devices, we need to be able to share the solutions that work. But we're not allowed.
For example: I'm not likely going to be bothered to write the original code to hack my DVD player so that I can play disks I legitimately purchased while living in the EU. But let's say you did hack it, and had the code available. In a free world, you could either share the code for me for free, but also I would be willing to pay you for it to solve my problem. In a Sec 1201 world, you could find yourself in a heap of trouble for providing (or worse, selling) hacks to TPM or DRM locks, and improvements to my hardware of software.
This is why the market for "unlocker" software is not USA based, is nomadic, is fraught with malware, etc. It has been pushed underground. If I, as a DVD Player owner, choose to use my DVD player as I choose, I either need to either deal with shady unlocker products, or hack the code myself (and still be in violation of the DRMA).
First of all, it pisses me off that Hitachi (or whoever) sold me a DVD player with solutions for the studios prioritized over solutions for me, the paying customer. Second, it pisses me off that I have to break the law to get the functionality I want (to play DVDs!), and third, it pisses me off that I can't just outsource that job to a reliable Independent Software Vendor.
"it's just a "successful companies must pay me because reasons" that happens to have American companies at its focus right now."
Your right about the cash grab on the successful companies, but you're wrong that it's not anti-American.
EU leaders are tired of US companies winning so many markets. They want more local winners, and impeding the foreign players is a move from the same old playbook that brought us tariffs, quotas, or other trade barriers.
Even if it's not done out of a negative feeling towards the USA, its certainly the case that EU leaders are unlikely to suffer a political price for "taxing" big US companies. This is like a city's government raising "occupancy taxes" on hotel rooms -- it's easy to screw the people who can't vote you out.
Bad news. Drachma has started annoying Mark, and is likely to exit the Kennelzone.
Buck only passed because they gave all his work and pay to Rupee, who worked twice as hard for half as much, but because of time zone issues, would only sniff RVs overnight.
Pound was renamed because of confusion when she was referred to as "the dog, Pound". They considered new names, and almost threw out "Scottie" but kept that name by a narrow vote.
In other bad news, Yen was washed away in a tsunami, Peso was put down by Donald Trump, Ruble was found planging polonium in RVs, Lira got distracted by doggie "Bunga bunga parties", and Franc was morally compromised by hiding the RV cash stash of neo-nazis for a cut.
The next dog they brought in was Rand. He was not named after the ZA currency, but rather Ayn. No good either, selfish prick kept all the stashes to himself, saying sharing it with the other officers would just support "parasites". He oughta know, flea-addled mutt.
With all the dogs gone, they took the radical decision to just let all the surf dudes in RVs keep their money. Crazy, no?
Note to readers. Inquiring and curious minds may still want to know: Why DID Gorman have so much cash? Where did he get that much money? How could he afford an RV, too? And, if he had a real job in Maui, why did he have enough time to drive cross country on the mainland? Was he actually involved in drugs or some other illegal stuff?
But in answer to that curiosity, stop. Just stop. Whether illegal or legal, we have no right to know, and neither did these cops.
I, myself, want to know at least how this guy had $167k, but that falls into the category of "none of my fn business." Whether he got that money from his dead dad's estate, or from smuggling heroin in SUPs is irrelevant. His right to privacy should supersede all suspicion and curiosity unless there is a legitimate probable cause.
Later, in the news: drone-like, repetitive, clickbaity and formulaic news articles basically write themselves. How the forumla for creating a moral panic may threaten the human element and editorial touch we used to value in news reporting.
Click to read more...but first, Is something in your garage planning to kill you?