This seems like an insulting and bigoted statement – and it is. It is an arrogant statement that reflects more poorly on me than anyone I could be writing about!
I just felt that if I was going to write about this piece discussing inequality in healthcare provision by Auckland University, I should start with a title that is in the same vein as the authors first sentence:
Economists have proven it’s cheaper to let Maori children die than spend money to provide equitable health treatment.
Seriously, they are writing about a piece that identifies inequities in the provision of healthcare services, and states that the cost of ensuring equal treatment would cost $25m (in net terms). If we take treatment of other groups as the level of treatment we want to provide to be “fair”, then this is the cost of ensuring that this fairness is given to all groups – given whatever reasons they’ve identified for unequal treatment in our healthcare system. The press release by Auckland University is here.
Do you get any of this from the journalists article? No, not really – they even mess up the tenses, essentially stating that the government “would save” $25m by putting inequalities in place … when the research is merely describing inequalities and talking about the costs of remedying them. There is further discussion on “economic impact” which try to sell why we should change policies, and I wouldn’t want to go into them in detail without looking at the work – however, giving the impression that these authors want to perpetrate further inequality through this first sentence is insulting, not just to the academics involved but to anyone who does this sort of work!
I would normally ignore the nonsensical ramblings of a journalist on issues they don’t understand, but they had to go and attack “economists”. We get this crap all the time, the very fact we are willing to discuss and mention trade-offs makes people who can’t be bothered thinking convinced that we cause the trade-off. By daring to say that increasing the provision of healthcare costs money, the journalist has decided to give the impression that the economist at Auckland Universtity (who was working in conjunction with people from other disciplines) is immoral.
Personally, I think writing articles piled with misinformation based on an unwillingness or inability to read a university press release has a larger degree of “immorality” than an economist discussing trade-offs.