Would the Mental Health Profession Exist in the Free Society? Yes.

From: T
Sent: Sunday, October 29, 2017 2:32 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Anarcho-counseling!
Happy Sunday, Walter! I hope you’re doing well. My mind is stuck, and I was hoping you could help un-stuck it. Most of my friends in mental health desire to start private practices, but also balk at the thought of “profiting from the mentally ill.” Of course, that position is mentally ill. But it got me thinking, what would a mental health “system” look like in an ancap society? Mental healthcare is qualitatively different from medical care (it’s easier for me to imagine ancap medical care). It is also characterized by a clientele that is typically poor at gaining or maintaining resources. MH is heavily subsidized by government. I believe the field is riddled with terrible service, bad science and incompetent providers (which would immediately disappear once a government spigot is turned off). Because of the MH field having heavy influence by government, I have trouble imagining if this field would even exist in anarchy. Can you kick me in a direction of clearer thinking? -T

Dear Tommy: You say this: “… bad science and incompetent providers (which would immediately disappear…).” Not so fast. The market is not instantaneous. It grinds, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Under ancap this market would be like the market for anything else where the clients are to a great degree poor: fast food; used cars; Walmart; used clothes; substandard housing. Bad providers would be tend to be left by the wayside, but not instantaneously. I have no doubt that psychiatry, psychology, counseling, would also exist in the free society. ALL sellers “take advantage” of the needs of their customers; even those catering to the rich. I’m not sure why it is, but anti market sentiment crops up on some professions more than others. In yours, to be sure, but, also, among artists, musicians, journalists, clergy, academics.


4:07 pm on October 29, 2017