Thursday, October 06, 2016

Russian Mafia and Russian Doctors

There are any number of Americans who believe that the Russian people are unethical. That is because they've dealt with wrong people. If you've been dealing with Russian mafia, of course they are unethical. They are a criminal organization. For that matter the Italian mafia, the inner city gangsters and the Colombian drug cartels aren't ethical either; but that does not mean that Italians, blacks or Colombians are scum.

If you've been dealing with Russian businessmen, you will also find lots of bad qualities. Under the Soviet Union, doing business was illegal, and the only people who did business were crooks. After the Soviet Union fell, these crooks – who were the only people in the country who knew anything about business – took over the economy. They kept their criminal ways as they did so. The result was a business culture that has been shaped by crooks – that, being shaped as it was, has been largely corrupt.

Whom the Americans need to know is not people like them. Whom they actually need to know are Russian engineers, teachers, scientists, doctors, athletes and authors. Most of these people are highly ethical, as well as very good at what they do.

It would work for a great benefit of America for its business to hire Russian engineers and for its academia to hire Russian scientists. A lot of this has been done, with the result that I see Russian names under Nobel prizes won by scientists working in America. But whom they really need to go for is Russian doctors.

Russia has very many doctors. Most of them get paid very little for what they do. If they in large numbers come to America, they will drive down the costs of American medicine. They will make medicine in America more affordable. And this will do more to reduce the costs of American medicine than any government action.

So if the conservatives are serious about fixing the medical system using market principles, this is what they need to do. They need to tap into a vast supply of highly effective doctors to meet what is – and is going to be – a highly growing demand. These people would make much more money in America than they hope to make in Russia; and they will drive down the ridiculous costs of medicine in America through competition.

These people aren't crooks, nor are they unethical. Unlike business, medicine was legal under the Soviet Union, and none of these people learned criminal habits. Many of them struggled in 1990s, and many of them continue to struggle now. They come to America, they have a chance at a better life. And they also stand to reduce the costs of American medicine much better than can any government action.

According to a family friend, a Soviet-born American economist named Mikhail Alexeyev, the reasons for the costs of American medicine is its cartelization by the AMA. It is very hard in America to become a doctor, and it is harder for a person from elsewhere to be licensed in America as a doctor. If you need to have a 4.0 GPA in order to get into medical school, have to pay through the roof to finance your education, and do 18 hour work days in residency, very few people would be able to become doctors. This will create a very limited supply of doctors. And limited supply meets high demand at an extremely high price.

Cartels are disempowered through introduction of external competition. This is an economic solution – a market solution such as what is favored by the conservatives. Bring in good doctors from abroad. Break a cartel. Reduce the costs. Give some good people a chance at a better life. Positives all around.

If all you've seen of the Russians is the mafia, look further. The mafias are always unethical; the rest of the population is not. In Australia, people think that Americans are violent. That is because all they've seen of America is Hollywood movies about gangsters. I keep telling them that America is a big country, and that some places in America are violent and some are not.

The better things are not always the most visible ones. You see the Russian mafia, but you do not see the Russian doctors and teachers. My experience with Russian teachers, when I was living as a child in the Soviet Union, was an excellent one. My family has engineers and doctors, and all of them are ethical people. And Russian scientists, inventors and writers whom I have known were all highly ethical as well.

Separate the grain from the chaff. Do not get a view of a country's character based on the actions of its criminals. Instead look for the better things in the country and bring them into your country to benefit your country as well.


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