28 April 2018

What's a Blit?

It was many years ago today that Dr. McElhone came to say a new word (to me, anyway): blit. What's a blit, you might ask? Well, I'll tell you: five pounds of shit in a four pound sack. Being from Texas and Nevada, it was sack and not bag. Kind of the same vein as, "Girl, you're as dumb as a sack of hair!" So, what's up with blit and hair? The death spiral of capitalism.

"Robert, you're out of your bleeing mind!"

Could be. But follow along with me. More than once, these pages have described the problem of heavily capitalized production, namely the strait jacket of amortization and the need for stable, if not growing, demand. As more cost is claimed by capital, the more difficult it is to manage average cost, and thus price (modulo customer discrimination). Ya gotta pay the vig. In the Olde Days, as demand softened you just fired employees. Average cost dropped to more closely match market clearing price. Capital heavy production makes that anywhere from difficult to impossible, since they ain't no bodies to fire.

"But Robert, that never actually happens!" Thanks to all the news that's fit to print, we get a case study.
The Headline:
For Cancer Centers, Proton Therapy's Promise Is Undercut by Lagging Demand

Can't get more on point than that. Proton therapy is a five pound cost in a four pound sack of demand. The shit drips over the top. Yuck.
But about 30 years after the Food and Drug Administration first approved proton therapy for limited uses, doctors often hesitate to prescribe it and insurers often will not cover it.

That means there simply may not be enough business to go around.

Or, as has been argued in these pages more than once: if only the 1% have healthcare, even they won't be able to afford it. Another bone oft picked here: Say's Law, aka supply creates it's own demand. Laffer being the modern zealot of that knucklehead idea. Were it true, we'd never have recessions, much less panics and depressions.
At Indiana, he added, "we began to see that simply having a proton center didn't mean people would come."

What's even worse is that such machines seem to be no better than regular treatment.
But its pinpoint precision has not been shown to be more effective against breast, prostate and other common cancers. One recent study of lung-cancer patients found no significant difference in outcomes between people receiving proton therapy and those getting a focused kind of traditional radiation, which is much less expensive.

Remember 2005, when all the smart people in the room told us that skyrocketing house prices were the new normal and that there had never been, and could never be, a nationwide stall in home sales? Remember?

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