Monday, October 17, 2011

Introduction to “Sick and Sicker”

By Susan Rosenthal
Solidarity is the Best Medicine

“What does it mean to strive for health in a sick society run by psychopaths?”

After 35 years of practising medicine, I found myself asking this question. This wasn’t the question I asked at the beginning of my career. I began by asking, “How can I help Jane Jones and Sam Smith?”

For decades, I immersed myself in the details of people’s miseries until, gradually, I saw a pattern emerge – an exploitive and heartless system was making people sick, the medical system was blaming them for being sick, and funding agencies were moaning about the cost of caring for the sick.

I had wanted to be an agent of health, but I had become an agent of damage control for an utterly damaging social system.

In the following essays, I share the information that led me to conclude that human sickness is a product of sick social relationships and human health is a product of healthy social relationships.

A profit-driven society needs an ever-expanding medical system to contain the damage it creates. We can do more than debate the best way to contain this damage, we can eliminate it.

We can build a health-generating society that provides everyone with the means to a healthy life, including a healthful environment. This is now possible, but the profit-motive stands in the way.

Our health, our lives, our environment and our future depend on replacing divide-and-rule capitalism with a cooperative socialist society. This can happen only if the majority organize to fight for it and build it.

These essays provide some of the ideas needed for that fight.

"Reducing income inequality in the United States would save as many lives as would be saved by eradicating heart disease or by preventing all deaths from lung cancer, diabetes, motor vehicle crashes, HIV infection, suicide and homicide combined. 

Even greater benefits would flow from eliminating class inequality entirely."


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