Not a lobby group
Business Day (South Africa)
Professors London, Reynolds and Sanders accuse International Policy Network (IPN) of being a “corporate funded lobby group” (Private healthcare is inefficient, Letters, January 26). That is a lie.
Unlike the People’s Health Movement, the organisation the good professors represent, IPN does not pretend to speak on behalf of “the people” — though we do seek to address the concerns of the poor. IPN is an independent, nonpartisan think-tank supported by voluntary donations from a range of individuals, businesses and foundations. We do not lobby. We do not promote narrow corporate interests.
We do, as the professors point out, believe “that free enterprise and its supporting institutions … are able to harness human potential better … and are the best way to address the poverty and tragedy faced by many people in the world”. We believe this because it is true.
Those places that provide an institutional and cultural environment conducive to free enterprise, from Botswana to South Korea, have experienced more rapid economic development and more rapid improvements in health than those countries, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to North Korea, that have an institutional and cultural environment not conducive to free enterprise.
Merely asserting that individuals have a “right” to health is no substitute for providing an environment in which people at all levels of society have the opportunity and incentive to generate wealth, improve their health, and develop new technologies that improve the health of others.
Moreover, to the extent that the “right” to health is used as a justification for arbitrary interference in the operation of markets, it can actively inhibit improvements in health outcomes.
Prof Julian Morris
Executive Director, International Policy Network