25 de març 2015

Don't think of privatization

Let's do a little thought experiment today.
Close your eyes. Imagine a privatized healthcare consortium as vividly as you can. It is clear! Is it? There are private owners. Or seems to be some officials geting dividends?

Now, I want you to NOT think about privatization. Think of anything else but privatisation. Try it for a few minutes.

What are you thinking of? How many times did the privatization issue cross your mind? Quite a few times, right?

Now, close your eyes again and try to think about what you did for today? Who you met? Where you went? Anything interesting happened when you were traveling? What did you eat for breakfast/lunch? Try it for a few minutes.

How many times did you think of privatization? None? Maybe once or twice especially since I asked this question?
This is an exercise that shows that suppressing your thoughts in your mind doesn't really work. When we try not to think about something and try to suppress it, our minds keep going back to the same thoughts. This is a well known experiment from Wegner et al. (Wegner, D. M., Schneider, D. J., Carter, S. R., & White, T. L. (1987). Paradoxical effects of thoughts suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 5–13). As you know, I could also refer to Lakoff mental frames and its: Don't think of an elephant for different evolutive and modern cognitive perspective, but I've done it before.
If you combine deception -about the concept of privatization- and the difficulty of suppressing your thoughts, you'll get the current health policy mess. Distraction is a strategic move that has alleged political profits. For sure, the whole population only receive the losses from such strategy. We have been installed in this paradigm for many years: the privatization devil is here and there, although there is no shareholder getting any dividend. Fortunately, the world stands beyond spaguetti western films. Ownership has impact on efficiency but depends on the context, sometimes public incentives prevail over private ones, and sometimes is the opposite.
If all these sounds weird to you, have a look at our last Parliament resolution and you'll find the astonishing agreement of all parties against the current ruling party on one issue that doesn't exists: a public consortium privatised!!!. If it is public, as it is, can't be private if the owner is the government, as it is. Disappointing, shameful.
I'm really sad that in my country public representatives play with fire in such a way. I just want to say today, that I'm available for those deputies interested in a free private lecture on organizational economics, on what ownership is and what it means for efficiency. Just give me a call or send me an email.

A relaxing cup of café con leche