June 17th, 2013
05:30 PM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

Iran has a ‘deep state’ where the real power lies and a ‘shallow state’ where politics happens, writes Walter Russell Mead in The American Interest.

“Iranian newspapers are highlighting the voter turnout of 73 percent as a sign that the system is working. While voters understand very well where the real power lies, they still choose to participate in the political process. The Supreme Leader may be less worried that his pet candidates did poorly in the election than he is pleased to have an electoral process that lets voters blow off steam while the deep state rolls on.”


“The United States spends more than $8,000 a person per year on health care, well more than twice what Sweden spends. Yet health outcomes are far better in Sweden along virtually every dimension,” argues Robert Frank in the New York Times. “Its infant mortality rate, for example, was recently less than half that of the United States. And males aged 15 to 60 are almost twice as likely to die in any given year in the United States than in Sweden.”

“…Larger hospitals with heavier patient flows also enable their staff to hone their skills through specialization and experience. If you are getting a knee replacement or coronary bypass surgery, you want teams that do scores of such procedures each month.

“Doctors in the two countries also face different financial incentives. In the United States, under the fee-for-service model, they can bolster their incomes, often substantially, by prescribing additional tests and procedures. Most Swedish doctors, as salaried employees, have no comparable incentive.”

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. matslats

    >>Iran has a ‘deep state’ where the real power lies and a ‘shallow state’ where politics happens
    Haha and the US has a 'shadow government' called the CIA and a puppet called Obama
    And voters have total freedom to choose between Big Oil and Big Banks

    June 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Reply
  2. j. von hettlingen

    Fareed, the supreme is 74 years old. He can't live for ever. So far he's been living on the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeni's legacy in order to legitimise his power. Already now many young Iranians question the wisdom of having a supreme leader. Once he's gone, it's doubtful if this post would survive.

    June 18, 2013 at 9:36 am | Reply
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    June 20, 2013 at 11:43 am | Reply

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