[Marxism] another computer "system" f*cked up by capitalism

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 7 09:11:37 MST 2014


The lead story in the Times today is about workers whose unemployment
benefits, food stamps, etc. are delayed or denied because of computer
problems:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/us/faulty-websites-confront-needy-in-search-of-aid.html?hp&_r=0

This story is a natural follow-up to the Obamacare IT fuck-up. And the
reasons are basically the same: trying to create and/or integrate mulitple,
usually non-compatible systems; having the work done by for-profit
consultants with a vested interest in complexity; and requiring amounts and
types of data which are only of interest to competing insurers as a way of
denying benefits to recipients.

In contrast, today's All-Union Single-Payer email notes that:
"Medicare was rolled out in six months with only index cards in the time
before computers.  No need to ask how much you make—it is available to all."

Similarly the still-superior infant mortality rates in Cuba reported in the
last couple days had to be done with computer systems far more integrated
and far less complex than what we suffer under. And I guarantee you that
the Western European countries whose health care is far superior to ours
have computer systems that are far simpler. Same for whatever else is left
of their welfare state benefit systems.

ps See this new interview with Paul Cockshott, in which he describes, on
the one hand, new computing and mathematical techniques to capture the
mind-boggling complexity of market-based economies, and, on the other, the
simplicity of computing the parameters of a socialist economy if the
political will is there.

http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=11711



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