For those who want more discussion of epidemics, contagious diseases, and vaccinations, I wrote an article called “Free Market Control of Epidemics” almost 6 years ago here on LRC. I believe that discussion assumes reasonably realistic assumptions and projects reasonable and feasible possibilities in a free market. In re-reading it, one new thing that occurred to me was that the State’s many, many labor, housing, rental and anti-discrimination laws, that force people together into association with others with whom they may not wish to associate, increases public health hazards. For example, a restaurant owner may find it necessary in view of such laws to hire someone who he thinks presents a higher risk level for disease. A landlord may feel obligated to rent to people who are not as clean as he might otherwise prefer. Employers and landlords may find it very difficult to fire or expel unclean persons. Insurance companies might find it more difficult, in this environment of numerous state laws, to discriminate among persons who have different disease risks that they bring on themselves through their personal behavior.
12:03 pm on February 4, 2013 Email Michael S. Rozeff