Public Health and the Regulatory State
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Public health has moved from the public good component of health to everything related to health and, then, to everything related to society. If we take public health in its wide, total, social sense, it presumably explains or justifies much of the regulatory state. Virtually all state activities contribute directly or indirectly to some citizens’ “physical, mental and social well-being” (as the World Health Organization’s definition says). Public health requires social engineering, which cannot be achieved without controlling the lifestyles that the Philosopher King doesn’t like. Controlling lifestyles cannot be done without regulating the businesses that would allow people to satisfy their sinful preferences, and without preventing these people from circumventing the controls through black markets or other violations of government regulation.
KeywordsPublic health Health care Regulation Regulatory state Lifestyles Preferences Public policy Public choice
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