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Coronary Heart Surgery at Under $2000 A Pop in India

From Heart Surgery in India for $1,583 Costs $106,385 in U.S. – Bloomberg Business:

Devi Shetty is obsessed with making heart surgery affordable for millions of Indians. On his office desk are photographs of two of his heroes: Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi.

Shetty is not a public health official motivated by charity. He’s a heart surgeon turned businessman who has started a chain of 21 medical centers around India. By trimming costs with such measures as buying cheaper scrubs and spurning air-conditioning, he has cut the price of artery-clearing coronary bypass surgery to 95,000 rupees ($1,583), half of what it was 20 years ago, and wants to get the price down to $800 within a decade. The same procedure costs $106,385 at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“It shows that costs can be substantially contained,” said Srinath Reddy, president of the Geneva-based World Heart Federation, of Shetty’s approach. “It’s possible to deliver very high quality cardiac care at a relatively low cost.”

Medical experts like Reddy are watching closely, eager to see if Shetty’s driven cost-cutting can point the way for hospitals to boost revenue on a wider scale by making life-saving heart operations more accessible to potentially millions of people in India and other developing countries.

“The current price of everything that you see in health care is predominantly opportunistic pricing and the outcome of inefficiency,” Shetty, 60, said in an interview in his office in Bangalore, where he started his chain of hospitals, with the opening of his flagship center, Narayana Hrudayalaya Health City, in 2001.

What’s the difference? India has a predominantly private healthcare system not controlled by the government — unlike the semi-fascist/semi-socialist United States which is predominantly government controlled. All those controls and regulations create monopolistic “opportunistic” pricing and inefficiency.

The article mentions that Shetty has on “his office desk photographs of two of his heroes: Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi.”

Perhaps he should also have photos of Ludwig Von Mises and Ayn Rand.


The Beauty of America.

Writes Om Malik:

In the first episode of the second season of British television show, The Hour its protagonist, Freddie Lyon upon returning from America explains why he was intoxicated by the new world:

“Being nobody in a country where everybody thinks they can be somebody…”

That one utterance by a fictional character sums up why every immigrant wants to come to America and that does include me. This is the country where Albert Einstein and Nicola Tesla were somebody. This is the place where Kim Kardashian and Alex Rodriguez are somebody. Kanye West and Steve Jobs, they are somebody. At one point they were nobodies. This quirky, burger munching, frappuccino swigging, football loving, gas-guzzling cross between utopia and Disney Land is a nation of nobodies who are on their way to be somebody.

And that is the beauty of America.

On a globe, America is a landmass, a country. In an immigrant’s heart it is a belief that future is almost always better. It may not be perfect and it is certainly not equal, but it still is one of a kind — the only place where an absolute stranger with a funny name and a funny accent with no friends or contacts can show up, work hard and actually get to do what he was destined to do.

That America is the place, I can now officially call home.[iAMerican]


Ayn Rand on Racism

Forbes has the entirety of Ayn Rand’s essay “Racism.” Definitely worth a read.

Racism by Ayn Rand

Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.

Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.

Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination.

The respectable family that supports worthless relatives or covers up their crimes in order to “protect the family name” (as if the moral stature of one man could be damaged by the actions of another)—the bum who boasts that his great-grandfather was an empire-builder, or the small-town spinster who boasts that her maternal great-uncle was a state senator and her third cousin gave a concert at Carnegie Hall (as if the achievements of one man could rub off on the mediocrity of another)—the parents who search genealogical trees in order to evaluate their prospective sons-in-law—the celebrity who starts his autobiography with a detailed account of his family history—all these are samples of racism, the atavistic manifestations of a doctrine whose full expression is the tribal warfare of prehistorical savages, the wholesale slaughter of Nazi Germany, the atrocities of today’s so-called “newly emerging nations.”

The theory that holds “good blood” or “bad blood” as a moral-intellectual criterion, can lead to nothing but torrents of blood in practice. Brute force is the only avenue of action open to men who regard themselves as mindless aggregates of chemicals.

Read the rest.

Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants

Dr. Binswanger makes the case for open immigration in Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants Is Not Enough, They Deserve An Apology – Forbes:

Freedom of travel is a right. It is a right possessed by every human being, not just by Americans. […]

Why is this? It is because land does not belong to the government, or majority, but that:

Land belongs to individual, private owners, and only they have the right to invite or bar others from coming on their land. The government has no more right to lock people out than to lock them in. The same principle damning the Berlin Wall damns walls erected to keep people out.

[…] what are we to think of those “illegals” who have disobeyed these laws? Everyone seems to think that entering the country without the government’s permission is a serious offense, that the illegals should at the least be “sent to the back of the line,” that their law-breaking forever stains them with dishonor. But the law is wrong. […]

The illegals came here because they value America. They broke an unjust law in order to live a free, better, richer life. In the vast majority of cases, obeying anti-immigration laws would mean never getting to live here. It’s a life sentence.

Breaking bad laws to build a better life not is dishonorable; it is admirable, provided breaking the law involves no use of force. Coming here in defiance of unjust laws is a peaceful act; it is just the avoidance of the force our government would initiate against them. It is certainly wrong to wield private force; it is wrong to take the law into one’s own hand. But these are not involved in illegal immigration. 

Read the rest.




President Obama Misunderstands Ayn Rand

Writes Wendy Milling in President Obama Jabs At Ayn Rand, Knocks Himself Out – Forbes:

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, President Obama stated, “Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up.”

I’m not trying to mock the President here – he is just repeating an old propaganda line that was hatched by Rand’s opponents – but I have to ask the “adults” who claim they outgrew Rand exactly what earth-shattering insight they have learned against her solution to the problem of universals? Against her solution to the is-ought problem? To her foundation of knowledge in the axiomatic validity of sense perception? To her theory of the locus of free will? How about her theory of aesthetics?

The reason I ask is that some of these issues and questions are more than two thousand years old, and no other philosopher has been able to crack them without ultimately lapsing into self-contradiction. So if anyone fancies that they are going to show up with their cracker barrel wisdom and invalidate her philosophy, even though no professional philosopher in half a century has been able to do so, I have to wonder what special knowledge they think they have. By all means, entertain us.

Perhaps these “adults” can also explain the part about feeling misunderstood, because it is rather opaque. When most of us feel misunderstood, we just restate our line of thinking until people understand it. In all seriousness, what on earth was that about? Are we to take that as some kind of psychological confession by leftists? What is an individual with such a mentality doing in the highest office in the land?

Ayn Rand On Immigration

From Ayn Rand Answers:

What is your attitude toward immigration? Doesn’t open immigration have a negative effect on a country’s standard of living?

AYN RAND: You don’t know my conception of self interest. No one has the right to pursue his self-interest by law or by force, which is what you’re suggesting. You want to forbid immigration on the grounds that it lowers your standard of living–which isn’t true, though if it were true, you’d still have no right to close the borders. You’re not entitled to any “self-interest” that injures others, especially when you can’t prove that open immigration affects your self-interest. You can’t claim that anything others may do–for example, simply through competition–is against your self interest. But above all, aren’t you dropping a personal context? How could I advocate restricting immigration when I wouldn’t be alive today if our borders had been closed?


Ayn Rand, Illegal Immigrant

Adam Reed on Ayn Rand, Illegal Immigrant:

Ayn Rand’s 106th birthday is being celebrated today by people all over the world, including many who would (if they only could) escape the various tyrannies under which they happened to be born, people whose most burning desire is to become Americans. Her birthday is also being celebrated, incoherently, by many Americans actively engaged in keeping those would-be Americans out.

Ayn Rand was an “Illegal Immigrant.” Scare quotes because, in the moral sense, it is the laws that deny, to some persons, the enjoyment of their natural individual rights solely because of the happenstance of where they were born (and that deny to American citizens our undeniable individual right to employ, and to trade with, the peaceable persons of our choice) – it is America’s current immigration laws that are illegitimate.

To obtain a visa to America, Alisa Rozenbaum went through great effort to convince American consular officials, and falsely swore, that she intended to return to Soviet Russia to marry a fellow Soviet citizen to whom she was engaged. Under American law, this constituted (1)perjury, (2)making false statements to a government official, (3)falsification of official documents; and a string of lesser felonies. Her visa, being the fruit of these deliberately committed felonies, was never legally valid. Fortunately, back in the 1920s most Americans understood (as Rand herself understood) that principles are not intrinsicist rules, but guidelines for contextually chosen action. Immigrants from Soviet Russia (and later from Nazi Germany) were not, as a rule, prosecuted for whatever felonies they had committed in order to escape their previous rulers and migrate to America.

Ayn Rand became what today would be formally an “illegal immigrant” when her tourist visa expired, and she stayed. (Soviet passports were for 3 years, at least for those without Pull in the High Nomenklatura. Alice’s – her passport name – was issued October 29, 1925. It expired, together with any visas and visa extensions that were stamped into it, on or before October 29, 1928.) She did not become “legal” again until her marriage to an American citizen the following year. The marriage entitled her to become a legal resident (this is no longer the case today.) Overstaying the expiration of a US visa is not a felony, but it is a serious misdemeanor – one for which even mothers of young American citizens have been deported in recent years. Of course, back when most Americans could still think in concepts, such minor technical violations of immigration law were not a problem for any American. Today this is no longer the case. Pragmatist control of American “education” has produced a generation of Americans bereft of normal human conceptual faculties. They have learned that it is racism, to deny a person the enjoyment of her natural rights because of where her ancestors were born. But they are OK with denying a person the enjoyment of her natural rights, because of where she herself was born.

The mantra of today’s conservatives is law enforcement first, immigration reform only “after the borders have been secured.” American consular officials are under no obligation to respect the individual rights of foreign nationals abroad, and, like all bureaucrats, enjoy the exercise of arbitrary authority over their helpless legal inferiors. The current legal immigration process typically subjects the immigrant to years of waiting in a legal limbo, punctuated by periodic rituals of humiliating subjection to the arbitrary whims of petty consular bureaucrats. The gauntlet of waiting through years of arbitrary obstacles and humiliations, functions as a filter, letting through only those who, once they have arrived in America, will obey our emerging tyrants. The message of our immigration laws to independent-minded people, including those who today celebrate the birthday of American illegal immigrant Alisa Rozenbaum, is simple: we don’t want you here.


Peikoff on Immigration in a Welfare State

Dr. Peikoff provides some perspective on What is the proper government attitude toward immigration?


The Solution to Ilegal Immigration

Writes Harry Binswanger on The Solution to Ilegal Immigration – Capitalism Magazine:

The problem of “illegal” immigration can be solved at the stroke of a pen: legalize immigration. Screen all you want (though I want damn little), but remove the quotas. Phase them out over a 5- or 10-year period. Grant immediate, unconditional amnesty to all “illegal” immigrants.


I admire those who broke our rotten, rights-defying anti- immigration laws to come here. These brave people knew it was better to live in America under a stigma, in the semi-shadows, than as “legals” in their native countries.