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Alumni Dispatches

Political Sheepdog: Making Prevention Profitable

James L. Gamble III, MPH ’76

James L. Gamble IIIFor the last 50 years, I have been wondering why values seemed distorted in our democratic politico-economic system. For example, if public health is valuable and if the purpose of profits is to signal to what to produce, then shouldn’t public health and prevention be profitable?

In addition, since disasters like the banking crises of 2008, since corruption, since victimization of consumers through psychological phenomena like alcoholism and other means like credit card contracts create poverty and death as well as other immense costs for taxpayers, shouldn’t the prevention of these problems be valuable and profitable?

Unfortunately, prevention is frequently not valuable in ordinary markets, because the impacts and their timing on the individuals is uncertain and because free riders might not pay for prevention without government intervention, reducing the optimal financing for prevention. In addition, since political campaigns cost money and since reversing obsolete or corrupt political inertia will cost money, isn’t it delusional for voters to expect to get good government for free?

If you are going to pay the cheapest price for optimal government, only markets can ensure the optimal amount to spend. As a result, I created, a market approach for good government, to make prevention profitable.

While my numerous efforts to promote have failed and while it has been painful hearing about preventable problems like the Greek financial disaster, knowing that my technology may be the only one to have prevented these problems gives me a sense of moral contentment and I continue.


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