Breaking the Opticians’ monopoly

I’d forgotten the Observer has put their archiveĀ online (subscription). Here’s an article from their edition of October 2nd 1983 (page 5):

I’ve tagged this post ‘derangement syndromes’ in honour of my old friend Darius Guppy.

  • Robert Dammers


    And how marvellous the result has been – we have suppliers who differentiate on price, and others who differentiate on speed, and service – Vision Express will now give me web access to the time series of a whole series of health measurements on my eyes, including images for getting a second opinion – and all for a price in real terms that is far more competitive than that of 30 years ago.

    Thank you for blazing the trail.

  • Robert Dammers

    BTW, notice how we now have two really major de-facto privatised elements of what had been core parts of the NHS (Vision and Dentistry) that now perform so much better than in the past.

    Bevan’s book did have an excellent title – “In Place of Fear”. Replacing the Friendly Societies, the Government would ensure that you were never abandoned. And it would not be illegitimate to retain that guarantee – that a line-of-last resort should be available when prudent insurance and savings had been deployed. Defining that, and finding ways of preventing the scope creeping would be a really important “realistic libertarian” project.

  • Robert Dammers

    Not meaning to be the green-ink correspondent from Tunbridge Wells (it’s Pembury, honest, a whole 5 miles away!), but was the photographer from that news story *the* Jane Bown??

    You have an original, right?

  • Peter Risdon

    It really is striking how the prices of spectacles today are around the same level as 30 years ago.

    I agree completely about the last resort (or safety net) approach to services like health. It’s important for realistic libertarianism because pure libertarian solutions will never appeal to many people.

    Yes, it was *the* Jane Bown. She was lovely, borrowed a step ladder and perched on it for that shot, which was more flattering than I deserved. But I never asked for the original. Stupid, I know.