The Patch

August 7, 2007

The wonders of the corporate state

Filed under: Politics — freshlysqueezedcynic @ 4:43 pm

The most infuriating thing about libertarians isn’t that they have an unfortunately pessimistic view of humanity and government, or that they are applying the dictums of basic economic theory which only apply in specialised conditions to more complex market structures, or, much like the Leninists of old, the belief that the system can never be failed, it is some nefarious outside force that is corrupting the pure scientific and natural outcomes. These are all exceptionally annoying, but not the worst. It is the belief that it is only government power we should worry about when our lives are getting regulated and catalogued, our personal freedoms violated, but the corporate power to do that is just fine and dandy. Libertarians, so high-and-mighty when it comes to the protection of our freedom of speech, so wonderously fighting for the little guy when the government comes calling, go strangely quiet when our employers try to silence us. Well, that’s not true, actually, they don’t go quiet. They start loudly fighting again, but for the the large corporation’s “right” to poke, prod, snoop, anywhere it wants to.

Take, for instance, Clarian Health, a US hospital system, that is going to start fining people for being unhealthy:

“In late June, the Indianapolis-based hospital system announced that starting in 2009, it will fine employees $10 per paycheck if their body mass index [BMI, a ratio of height to weight that measures body fat] is over 30. If their cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels are too high, they’ll be charged $5 for each standard they don’t meet. Ditto if they smoke: Starting next year, they’ll be charged another $5 in each check.

Clarian has been making headlines for its aggressive and unusual approach to covering escalating health-care costs. Rather than taking the more common step of giving employees incentives for merely participating in its wellness programs, such as joining a smoking cessation group or using a health coach, Clarian is actually measuring outcomes. And unlike most employers, it is penalizing workers for poor health instead of rewarding them for taking healthy steps.


At Clarian, employees who have blood pressure that’s above 140 over 90, blood glucose levels over 120, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol over 130, or a BMI over 29.9 could be subject to the paycheck deductions. Of the company’s 13,000 employees, about 8,000 are enrolled in the company’s health plan. The company estimates that as many as 34% of its employees will meet the definition of being obese, while it expects lower levels for other health measures. About 26% are tobacco users. The fines are waived for employees who can provide a doctor’s note stating it’s not advisable for them to try to meet the benchmark — employees will be able to submit new notes from their doctors quarterly — and that they are complying with the proper diet, exercise, and treatment plan.”

Work! Be happier, fitter, more productive! Do what you are told! Feel good, or you shall pay! Smile, or you shall be thrown out into the cold! Don’t say anything about what you might see that is unfair! See, this is the bait-and-switch that the libertarians pull. Far from being rebels against an unfair, dictatorial system, man, libertarians support one unfair, dictatorial system over another. Although in this system, you can’t at least choose the boss that’s fucking you over. Oh, well, I suppose you could go and get another job, but in this market? And what about the benefits you’ve already accrued? And of course, it doesn’t matter where you get a job if they’re all doing it, like the article suggests may happen in the near future.

This is the real problem with libertarianism; the refusal to acknowledge that private interests can have as much power over a person and violate their liberties as much as government can, and that this power is far less democratically controllable.

Fuck you, libertarians.



  1. Since when did ‘give me all your lunch money, fatty’ become an acceptable business plan? What cunts.

    Comment by denesha — August 8, 2007 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  2. Since McDonald’s was invented.

    Comment by freshlysqueezedcynic — August 14, 2007 @ 12:14 pm | Reply

  3. Perhaps Clarian has a hidden agenda … an underhanded means for drumming up liposuction business for its “starving” plastic surgeons?

    Seriously, this discriminatory tactic is absolutely appalling.

    Comment by luciacovelli — May 18, 2009 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

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