18 2 mins 11 yrs

Innovation flies high when government is scarce.

The Guardian announces that Amazon has unveiled its Kindle Fire, with 7in colour screen, which will go on sale for $199 (£127). The specs are somewhat different, but this compares with $499 for the cheapest iPad.

Amazon also unveiled the Kindle Touch, which has a black-and-white screen and which will cost $99.  The non-touchscreen Kindle will cost $79, and a touchscreen Kindle with 3G internet access will cost $149.

This is genuinely stunning and shows the awesome, revolutionary power of capitalism and free markets in those areas of the economy which are relatively unregulated.

The NHS meanwhile – by means of comparison – wallows in its unchanging, bloated, 1940s state. Can you imagine healthcare freed from the dead hand of the state?! The NHS doesn’t need reform, it need abolishing to make way for the same unstoppable forces which revolutionise technology for our benefit in the rest of our lives.

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  1. I am intrigued by these tablet products. Don’t have one yet, but I surely will buy one before too long.

    Here, you have two insanely great competitors fighting tooth and claw for the attentions of the customer, who yes is the big winner.

    Everyone knows that Apple is a great tech company. But Amazon’s a great technology company too. Bezos was an early investor in Google, they’ve been a seller of cloud capacity for some time, tech is part and parcel of their sustained great performance over the past decade.

  2. Is there a health care system anywhere in the world that you could use as an example for what the NHS could become if the “dead hand of the state” could be removed?

  3. Health care can’t work properly without some state involvement and no one with a knowledge of the subject says otherwise.

    This horse has been flogged here before.

    It is an entirely different product than Kindles and Ipads.

  4. Fews

    Try the States before Obamacare. Socialised medicine is a monstrosity so perverse only the Left could like it.


    The tech intrigues me – great looking kit.

  5. FO –

    No such ideal systems exist. You seem like those many people who believe if the state didn’t ration health care none would provide it.

    I suspect if the state provided bread, milk and salt they wouldn’t be able to imagine a world in which the free market provided these essential items instead.

    “Bread and milk and salt are too important to be left to the profit motive” they would say, and you’d say it too, believing the likes of me are free markets “zealots” when we point out that bread and milk and salt would be cheap and plentiful if left to the free market instead of rationed and expensive under the state!


  6. I remember when the Kindle first came out. Bezos was so excited, like a little kid, beside himself.

    The ( great ) Ipad was supposed to kill off the Kindle, but it didn’t. People love it and you see more and more of them about.

    Don’t ever bet against Apple, or Amazon!

  7. Kindle great. But the application is free for smartphone users. I read it on my Samsung Galaxy S. Android rocks!

  8. Try the States before Obamacare.

    Yep, fantastic system.


    The tape shows a 63-year-old homeless woman named Carol Ann Reyes wandering in the street. The pictures may seem unremarkable, but the story that goes with it is disturbing. Reyes had just been discharged from Kaiser Permanente Bellflower hospital where, after taking a fall, she had been treated for three days.

    The hospital confirms she was put in a taxi and the driver was told to take her to Skid Row. Why was she wearing little more than a hospital gown? Because the hospital admits they had lost her clothes and sent her away without pants or even shoes. They did, however, give her a diaper.

  9. Meanwhile back in our socialised NHS…


    Nurses casually stepped over a patient as he lay dying on a hospital floor.
    Peter Thompson, 41, was left in a corridor for ten hours before someone noticed he had passed away. In a final act of indignity, hospital auxiliaries pulled his lifeless body across the floor in a manner his family described as like ‘dragging a dead animal’.

    It’s the envy of the world, right? The third world, maybe Somalia…

  10. There are bad actions and negligence in every large private and public system.

    There is no perfect system, and there never was a golden age.

  11. Pete

    I agree with you about the kindle and the tribute to free enterprise that it represents. But it does not follow that capitalism delivers an optimal solution for all goods and services at all times.

    The US has a much more free-enterprise healthcare system (pre-Obama) than the UK. But the UK spends much less as a proportion of GDP and all its citizens are treated equally by the NHS, whereas 20% of US adults have no health cover. Of course it’s nowhere near perfect, but there is far more affection for the NHS in Blighty than there is for the US system among its citizens. And that is despite the relentless attacks from the Daily Mail, which has never been known to print a good news story about the NHS or to miss a bad one. A bit like ATW in fact.

  12. The most successful economies are the ones where both government and the private sector work together. A good example is the internet. If left to their own devices the American telecoms giants would almost certainly have killed it off as it was a threat to their own business models.

    With regard to the NHS. In the USA if you lose your job you lose your healthcare. That doesn’t strike me as being particularly brilliant. Give me the NHS any day.

    PS: Lets wait and see if the Kindle Fire is any good. Don’t believe the hype!

  13. “With regard to the NHS. In the USA if you lose your job you lose your healthcare. That doesn’t strike me as being particularly brilliant. Give me the NHS any day.”


    HINT, HINT..Although in a Socialist nanny Country healthcare may seem to be a Human Right, in reality Healthcare IS NOT a human right.

    Socialist, 2so-called” free healthcare is loaded with unneeded and costly bureaucracy and the wait period is no acceptable.

    For instance: My dentist noticed a small growth in the inside of my cheek. He sent a written referral to a “specialist”. I waited TWO (2) months for a written reply and a visit appointment. That was another TWO (2) months away. FOUR (4) months or 1/3 of a year to see a specialist AND it will call for me to pay €150 for a 15-minute consultation that still will not cure the problem.

    I’m headed to the States, where I have health insurance. Appointment made with a specialist for TWO (2) days after I step off the plane. Cost $15.00 co-pay and if I need medication my prescription insurance pays 85% of the cost. That’s because I had the foresight to work for a large company with benefits after retirement. I thought ahead, sacrificed and set priorities and didn’t live for today and a trip to the pub to chat with me mates.

    Losing your job and healthcare is a good incentive to go out and look for another job that offers healthcare. In the mean time go to school on the government and learn. Learning anything is a plus in finding a job.

    Don’t sit on your arse, sipping a pint and moaning. Big nanny government is not the answer to your problems. You are the answer.

  14. Peter –

    I’d say there’s more than affection for the NHS. When it comes to health the UK is like some NHS Jonestown.

    I’d say also that there hasn’t been much free enterprise in health anywhere for a long time that I can see. Whereas the NHS is socialism writ large, it’s a tightly controlled, public/private fascist system in the US lined up against civil society.

    Every aspect appears tightly controlled and regulated, entry costs are high, innovation costs are high, the rules seem to favour the status quo, it needs blowing apart just as much as the NHS.

    Look at what Amazon has announced. A rival to the iPad at 40% of the cost! There are even cheaper versions. Apple will come back with something fabulous at low prices. While capability rockets upward prices are in freefall.

    Compare this with health and (say) education where prices always rise and innovation and quality stagnant. One of the big problems for this government is the cost of university. As prices rise it’s trying to offload more of them onto the student. Well government funnels huge numbers of students to universities, it subsidises students and subsidises th product – of course prices will always rise!

    If the government subsidised bread it would be £10 a loaf. Halthcare can be cheap and plentiful with marvelous, revolutionary products and drugs. We just need to let free markets work their magic.

  15. HINT, HINT..Although in a Socialist nanny Country healthcare may seem to be a Human Right, in reality Healthcare IS NOT a human right.

    So what.

    It makes sense to have it and it makes no sense not to have it.

  16. Troll

    Personal observation on planes and trains leads me to think that a decent majority of owners of Kindles are women.

    The numbers you see goes up noticeably every month or two.

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