It’s a Flawless Plan for Making Money

don-corleone.jpgFirst, you take a business away from legitimate enterprises, claiming only the state can run it without it sinking into a wretched hive of scum and villany. Then, you ban competition. Then, you decide that you’re better off selling the monopoly rights to the highest bidder.

It’s what Illinois is doing with their state lottery.

I was going to talk about the history of corporations as monopolies, and the issues with government run business, but Larry Ribstein said almost everything I wanted to say in “Selling State Lotteries.”

Maybe the state could do the same with health care?

Image credit: Emergent Chaos.

12 thoughts on “It’s a Flawless Plan for Making Money

  1. I was going to say, there’s a categorical difference. Health insurance becomes more efficient the more people you put in the pool, because you spread the risk.
    There are things government really can do better. Hardly anyone would argue for privatizing fire departments or the military, for example. I tend to think health care is in this category. Gambling probably isn’t.

  2. The lottery is a lousy example to use for this. “Private lotteries” run by churches and such are not illegal. I get hit up to buy raffle tickets to support the St. Alfonso Pancake Breakfast or somesuch all the time, and churches still run bingo games as far as I can tell. Casino gambling is indeed licensed, but it is not monopolized by the state. What the state has monopolized is “the numbers racket”, which was not (with the small-time exceptions noted above) run by legitimate organizations.
    Don’t get me started on privatizing toll collection, though. :^)

  3. I am told fire departments are widely privatised in the US. Military privatisation is widely practiced in Iraq .. whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is a bit debatable, but I’d argue that we would have to be careful to strip factors such as a mission that was KIA before arrival.

  4. “wretched hive of scum and villany”
    This is the most subtle Friday Star Wars reference yet! Bravo!

  5. I never heard of private Fire Departments. Many (especially in small communities) are staffed by volunteers, though.

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