Life in a small town, Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

The vested interest in keeping people sick …

Snow”, by Kobudo, from the album “Ototabi”  (2013)

Good post this morning over at David Warren’s site…  Go read the whole thing.

Dr. Atul Gawande

Dr. Atul Gawande

He drew from Crisis Magazine (here) , which I subscribe to …”In a recent episode of the podcast Freakonomics, Dr. Atul Gawande contrasted the adoption rate in the 1800s of two new technologies: anesthesia and antisepsis. An anesthetic gas, which could be used in surgery, was discovered and first used in Boston, and “…within two months of publishing the result that a gas could render people insensible to pain, it was being used in every capital in Europe.

There’s no internet. You had to send news by boat and horse.  And within two months people were using it in the capitals of Europe, and by six years later there wasn’t a hospital in the country that was not delivering anesthesia care.

Compared to anesthesia, the adoption of antisepsis was very slow, even though sterilizing equipment and washing hands could cut the rate of infection by up to eighty percent. Since infections were often fatal, an eighty percent reduction meant a huge savings of lives. And yet, according to Dr. Gawande, “a generation later, you still haven’t gotten to half of the profession doing it.”

The difference in the adoption rates of the two new technologies was caused by the fact that anesthesia helped the doctors as much as it helped the patients: “Surgeons don’t like having a screaming patient on the table. They had to do their operations in 60 to 120 seconds because you just didn’t have that much time when the orderly is holding people down. And having a patient asleep meant you could be meticulous—you were so much happier as a surgeon. And so this was a win-win for both.”

By contrast, antiseptic protocols didn’t do anything for the doctors, they were just an added problem for doctors, and so they had no incentive to use them.”

And not much has changed amongst the medical establishment and the health industry in general here in the 21st century. There is no incentive to the system to actually help patients and to actually cure them because the medical and pharmaceutical bread and butter of the western world depends entirely on the continued existence of sick patients.

If the Department of Health and the medical Associations ever actually fulfilled their stated mandate of curing people and supporting a healthy population they would put themselves out of work. Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that “in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.”

Dr. Jerry Pournelle

Dr. Jerry Pournelle

Dr. Jerry Pournelle was a blogger of note before the internet was invented and before that in columns in Byte Magazine. He died last year in his 80’s. I followed him for many years. He will be greatly missed. Anyway … Health Departments and such …

Ergo, the mission of Health Departments, Medical Associations, and Pharmaceutical Research Companies everywhere is not (as stated) to get people healthy and keep them there but rather to encourage illness everywhere possible, both physical and mental, in the interest of continued existence, expansion, and an ever increasing revenue stream.

There once was a book I owned and readThe Organization of Hypocrisy” by a Swedish researcher, Nils Brunsson, who is (or maybe was) Professor of Management at the Stockholm School of Economics and Chairman of the Stockholm Center for Organizational Research. In his little book he laid out chapter and verse why such conduct occurs, and why it will continue to occur.

Unfortunately I loaned my copy to one of my college professors who never returned it. It is out of print and currently retails new for around $1200.00 U.S. Never trust your college professors, as they also fall under the Iron Rule of Bureaucracy. The ones in charge will always be corrupt.

Some say I am too cynical, but I prefer “realist”. If it walks like a duck, and all that stuff.



Ready, Aye, Ready … Quid hoc ad aeternitatem