Satisfaction is a subjective function of subjective expectations.In response to Ezra Klein noting that although British Health care sucks, American health care sucks even more, Sullivan points out that that's just like, your opinion, man. His notion that Britons are preconditioned to expect lousy health care and therefore rate it more positively is rather hilarious. It's like, uh, remember how much East Germans loved East Germany once they got used to it? Yeah, me too.
-Sullivan, on health care, again
As Jim pointed out not long ago:
You see the decadent phase of "Strong Hayek" in those right-wing pundits determined to demonstrate that Europe is a decadent hell-hole doomed to the tyranny of "transnational progressivism" or an Islamist takeover or both. If Europe has high marginal tax rates and high social benefits, it must - must! - shortly become a new soviet dystopia. Therefore any problems with European society must be signs of that imminent collapse.That quote is in the context of some other thoughts on international problems, but is useful as a standalone as well. If we are condemned to the belly of the fish, let us at least be able to afford our prescriptions.
The thing is, I was one of those people once, and when I say "once," I mean, even a few years ago. Gradually it dawned on me that, wow, Europe keeps not collapsing. And gosh if it doesn’t seem like some metrics of liberty are higher there and some lower, almost as if it were a normal place with a functional political economy that had both advantages and disadvantages compared to the US. Not the second coming of 1950s Poland at all. So much for "Strong Hayek!"
And again, Britain has a lousy system. But ours is lousier. The French, meanwhile, who have a public-private system with many real-life structural similarities to our own achieve broad satisfaction (upwards of 65%), far better aggregate results, and at a fraction of the per capita national outlay.