I wondered: is that the right measure? It is difficult to understand, first, why reducing the number of readmissions is the objective (it seems very different from "good health care", whatever that might be), second, if we accept that it is the objective, why reducing it less but saving money is better than reducing it more but spending money.
- Another talk was about news aggregators. Instead of reading news directly from their favorite newspaper, more and more people read news accessed via a news aggregator or facebook mentions from friends. The speaker asked: does that help newspapers, or does it hurt newspapers? Then he showed that people end up reading newspapers more than before. The implication seems to be that the evolution should be good for newspapers.
I wondered: is that the right measure? What interests me, as a user, is whether we are better informed. Does this change give us better access to better information? Are there fewer events out there that I would like to hear about but never even know exist? Are articles more thoughtful and better researched? The question of whether the evolution brings (or should bring) newspapers more or less money, although not independent, is in itself quite ancillary to that principal concern.
- The last issue of The Atlantic had an article, "Where the skills are", about cities. "As highly skilled people concentrate in these places, the rate of innovation accelerates, new businesses are created, and productivity -- and, ultimately, pay -- grows." So, apparently the ultimate measure of why cities are good is that people are paid more money.
- The Washington Post headline on Saturday: "As Nobel Prize season starts, who will get those lucky, lucrative calls?" So, the main reason why someone would hope to receive a Nobel Prize is the money.
- Americans, questioning the cost of college, look at the tradeoff between the expenses and debts incurred to earn a college degree, and the increased salary that a degree later gives you. So, apparently people go to college solely so that they will earn more later, and it is assumed that the benefits of college are captured by the change in pay.
Money is the ultimate measure of everything. It is no longer a means to an end but an end in itself, and everything else is subjected to it. Living longer is good if you retire late, because it gives you time to earn more money. Being married is good because the reduced costs of shared housing and other factors make people more wealthy. Going to church is good because it's correlated with higher grades in school and higher pay at work. Having children is bad because raising them costs a staggering amount of money. If you are handicapped so severely that you can earn no money, your life is literally speaking not worth living, and ending it would be a matter of compassion.