Sharing the load
+It seems to me that the insurance industry is one of the biggest socialist enterprises which capitalists are willing to tolerate without much dissent. This may of course be because some capitalist investments simply wouldn’t happen if they weren’t underwritten. Of course, there are many examples of governments becoming the insurer of last resort, propping up banks, keeping hospitals running, subsidising businesses with furlough schemes, etc., etc. At least with insurance companies, you might imagine that capitalist businesses may have to pay the premium which is appropriate to the risk, whereas corporate taxation is there to be avoided where possible. I have faith that it will be insurance companies that define the future of e.g. fossil fuel industries rather than governments which are at the beck and call of powerful lobbies. But the pace of market forces to a considerable degree is determined by the politics, even if Mother Nature’s hand is now more readily engaging us with the here and now of climate change. Even Biden has had to declare that the New York inundation was caused by climate change. But he’s still licensing new fossil fuel exploration on a massive scale. The problem here of course is that many people will find themselves uninsurable or will have hefty increases in their premiums. There need to be new ways of sharing risk.
Of course, the insurance industry is not without its capitalistic faults. I was put in mind of the nature of this due to the fact that I have just, yet again changed insurers to escape the ‘loyalty premium’ which is the penalty you pay if you don’t shop around at each renewal. I’ve just saved £90. But shopping around will be less attractive next year, as new rules come in to ensure that continuing customers never pay more than new customers, lured in as they are by introductory discounts. This is socialism at work, where we all pay at bit more for those who maybe don’t have the wherewithal to shop around. Errmm—why do you have to shop around in the first place?
+Listening to Max Richter’s ‘Voices’ album, which sets the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to his trademark ethereal music, I am wondering which of those rights the Taliban will be keen to respect? Let’s start with all being born equal. In their case, that right only applies to 50% of the population. Then again, I wonder if there’s a single country on the planet that applies the UNDHR in earnest.
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