America’s largest hospital chain has an algorithmic death panel
HCA’s administrators berate doctors over “missed hospice opportunities.”
I’m kickstarting the audiobook for “The Internet Con: How To Seize the Means of Computation,” a Big Tech disassembly manual to disenshittify the web and bring back the old, good internet. It’s a DRM-free book, which means Audible won’t carry it, so this crowdfunder is essential. Back now to get the audio, Verso hardcover and ebook:
It’s not that conservatives aren’t sometimes right — it’s that even when they’re right, they’re highly selective about it. Take the hoary chestnut that “incentives matter,” trotted out to deny humane benefits to poor people on the grounds that “free money” makes people “workshy.”
There’s a whole body of conservative economic orthodoxy, Public Choice Theory, that concerns itself with the motives of callow, easily corrupted regulators, legislators and civil servants, and how they might be tempted to distort markets.
But the same people who obsess over our fallible public institutions are convinced that private institutions will never yield to temptation, because the fear of competition keeps temptation at bay. It’s this belief that leads the right to embrace monopolies as “efficient”: “A company’s dominance is evidence of its quality. Customers flock to it, and competitors fail to lure them away, therefore monopolies are the public’s best friend.”
But this only makes sense if you don’t understand how monopolies can prevent competitors. Think of Uber, lighting $31b of its investors’ cash on fire, losing 41 cents on every dollar it brought in, in a bid to drive out competitors and make public transit seem like a bad investment.
Or think of Big Tech, locking up whole swathes of your life inside their silos, so that changing mobile OSes means abandoning your iMessage contacts; or changing social media platforms means abandoning your friends, or blocking Google surveillance means losing your email address, or breaking up with Amazon means losing all your ebooks and audiobooks: