John Goodman and I have a deal. Beginning in a week or two, I’m going to start reading his book Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, and I will write my reaction(s) to it on TIE as I do. He, of course, is free to react to my reactions by contributing to the TIE comments, posting on his blog, hollering out the window, or however he likes.
The crux of the deal is that our writings and window hollering about each other’s thoughts will be respectful, free of snark, or any implied or overt insults. No feigned shock that the other claims to be a health economist. No histrionics over those mixed up liberals or conservatives or libertarians (as applicable). No statements like, “What [Austin/John] fails to understand” or “Do you realize that …” In short, we’re just going to stick to the evidence and the ideas, not attack each other.
This is an obvious good deal for John, as it promotes his book. In fact, if you want to play along, you may want to get hold of it. You may catch things I miss or have a different interpretation. Speak up in the comments. Whatever meager wisdom I can offer may also be of some benefit to John and to you.
The benefits to me of this endeavor are no different from any blogging I do. I get to think about health policy. I get to hear others react to that thinking. TIE has many readers more knowledgeable than I am in various areas of health, health care, health policy, and health economics. I always benefit from their thoughts. Another benefit is that I cannot be accused of staying inside a liberal bubble (not that I think I ever have). I cannot be accused of being unfamiliar with John’s work. But, as things stand, neither I nor any organization will earn any money from this deal. Of course, if someone also wants to compensate me for my time and effort, that can be arranged.
Some housekeeping: Since there may be many posts in this thread, I will use the Priceless tag for all posts about the book. For posts relevant to John’s work but not necessarily about the book, I will use the John Goodman tag. (Posts about the book will be tagged with both.) These are in lieu of an explicit index to all relevant posts.
Finally, if either of us deviates from our agreement, the deal is off. I’m not sure what John would do, but if I catch him breaking our pact, I reserve the right to burn his book, take a video, and post it.