The basic statist contention is that if we leave all the hard stuff to the really clever people who go into politics then we’ll be better off. Allow those – nay insist – who did PPE at Oxford to plan our society and it’ll be as good as it possibly can be. The anti-statist contention is that we’ve seen those who did PPE at Oxford and know they couldn’t fart their way out of a gastric attack. On this point we, the anti-statists, win.
Consider this. For the past 70 years or so the government has taken upon itself the task of planning how many doctors the country is going to train. There have been specific limitations on the number of such training places, the number who will even be allowed to start medical degrees. Further training is all provided within that state and politics driven monolith, the National Health Service. All the bright people are indeed off saving up their defined benefit pensions in the Ministry of Health.
The result is that we train about half the number of doctors that the country actually uses:
Britain is now importing more doctors than it trains, figures show Britain is now importing more doctors than it trains, according to new figures showing a steep rise in the numbers recruited from overseas. Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, said the health service must stop “denuding low income countries of health professionals they need” amid warnings of a growing moral crisis. The figures, from the General Medical Council (GMC), show that last year, 53 per cent of those joining the medical register came from overseas to do so – a rise from 39 per cent in 2015.
Well done there, well done.
We can delve into this more deeply as well. Many more women are becoming doctors these days – excellent, part of that welcome economic emancipation of the sex. OK, gender if you insist. Women, on average, acting a little differently to the arrival of children than men. Going part time for example, for some number of years. OK, fine, why not? But if you’re that rational planner then you’d note that a majority female entrance class is going to give you half, or a quarter or summat, the labour supply of doctoring some 10 to 15 years down the line.
Which is what has happened. And yet our rational planners haven’t increased the number going into the training system to compensate.
At which point, what value the rational planning by all those clever people who did PPE at Oxford? And what else would we be short of if we allowed them to do more of it?