In the very topical current debate about UK austerity, what’s was missing from the choice (not the fake ‘choice’ between austerity and no austerity, but the hard choice between social and economic austerity) are two important other options (Productivity improvements and Philanthropy).

To elaborate, the current debate about austerity should be about the mix of four things (1) social austerity (realisable tax rises for some or all current UK tax payers), (2) economic austerity (alleviating current austerity through borrowing to burden future citizens with greater austerity (3) productivity improvements – workers choosing (thru self study to up-skill and thru after hours volunteering to develop new skills) to raise their productivity to ultimately alleviate austerity. And (4) Philanthropy – particularly high net worth individuals forming consortiums to alleviate UK social deprivation thru charitable foundation activity.

The best solution will probably come from an optimal combination of all four things.

One great opportunity with Philanthropy is developing ‘hospital charities’ to build city hospitals that are entirely charity-funded and can take some ongoing pressure off the NHS, care homes and private hospitals. Such hospitals could offer a more selective range of treatments (target elective surgeries with long waiting lists?) than the NHS. Essentially this is a volume supply-solution, not a government funding solution.

Food for thought?