Blue water

I agree with this so much. I’ve had jobs where I’ve been entitled to private health insurance, which I’ve turned down because I want to have a stake in the success and continued existence of the National Health Service. I’d love a world where I don’t have to have a car because public transport is ubiquitous. I would never send my kids to private school, and am delighted that Labour have announced that, if they get into power, they’ll raise money for public schools from taxing private schools like the businesses they are.

One of the most direct ways to improve a flawed system is simply to end the ability of rich and powerful people to exclude themselves from it. If, for example, you outlawed private schools, the public schools would get better. They would get better not because every child deserves to have a quality education, but rather because it would be the only for rich and powerful people to ensure that their children were going to good schools. The theory of “a rising tide lifts all boats” does not work when you allow the people with the most influence to buy their way out of the water. It would be nice if we fixed broken systems simply because they are broken. In practice, governments are generally happy to ignore broken things if they do not affect people with enough power to make the government listen. So the more people that we push into public systems, the better.

Rich kids should go to public schools. The mayor should ride the subway to work. When wealthy people get sick, they should be sent to public hospitals. Business executives should have to stand in the same airport security lines as everyone else. The very fact that people want to buy their way out of all of these experiences points to the reason why they shouldn’t be able to. Private schools and private limos and private doctors and private security are all pressure release valves that eliminate the friction that would cause powerful people to call for all of these bad things to get better. The degree to which we allow the rich to insulate themselves from the unpleasant reality that others are forced to experience is directly related to how long that reality is allowed to stay unpleasant. When they are left with no other option, rich people will force improvement in public systems. Their public spirit will be infinitely less urgent when they are contemplating these things from afar than when they are sitting in a hot ER waiting room for six hours themselves.

Source: How Things Work

Image: Daniel Sinoca