Given that today is my 7th birthday since being sent home “palliative care only” with “terminal melanoma” – this is a subject rather dear to my heart.
To me it is a really complex topic.
It is complex at the molecular and biological level.
It is complex at the level of understanding and belief.
It is complex at the level of social systems, money, markets, culture, incentive structures within complex adaptive systems.
Being told I could be dead in 6 weeks, and that medical science had no hope to offer me, was not on my plan.
It got my attention.
I put all of my 40 years interest in systems, biochemistry, science and statistics to use reading as much relevant material as I could get my eyes on.
I took on all strategies that appeared to have some evidence that they might work, and didn’t cost a lot.
After getting all tumours to go, then having two recurrences, I have settled on what seems to be a minimum workable set for my particular context. I haven’t had a tumour in over 6 years.
And in the big picture, it now seems beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt to me that the very concept of using markets to measure value is now the single greatest risk to all of us.
And that wasn’t always the case.
Markets used to perform many valuable functions.
When most things were genuinely scarce, markets were a very useful method for allocating scarce resources and incentivising the invention of substitutes.
Markets also perform other important functions.
Markets are important tools in distributed decision making, and in risk reduction. And in today’s digital age of advanced computational systems, we can develop alternative mechanisms for all computational functions that markets have historically performed.
The real issue with markets is that they must give zero value to anything that is universally abundant.
That wasn’t much of an issue when only air was universally abundant.
Now that we have fully automated systems that can make a large and exponentially expanding set of goods and services universally abundant, our economic and social systems are reacting by putting in place mechanisms to destroy such abundance and make it a marketable scarcity – that is essentially what all intellectual property laws are. And we see such things emerging at new levels.
The incentive in a market is always to maximise profit, and that requires poverty for some, because if everyone has all they need, then there is no value remaining.
So yes – our medical systems are a mess.
They are much more about profit, job protection, patch protection, and status (at many different levels); than they are about the health of people in general.
And there are many great individuals in the systems, and the systems wear them down.
The biggest problem at the physical level is diet.
Food sellers like products with long shelf lives, that are easier to manage and make profit from.
Fresh foods are high risk, they spoil easily, and are difficult to manage,
Our personal preferences for sugars and fats were fine when we got our sugars from fresh fruits that we had to forage for, and we had to run down the animals to get their fat.
Now that we can buy long life refined sugars and fats, without all the myriad other essential micro-nutrients that we once got in association with them, we are paying the health costs in diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Our diets need to be at least 50% raw fruits and vegetables, if we are to be healthy.
We also need to be getting at least 90% of our calories from plants.
And we need exercise.
And there are lots of other risk factors.
Vitamin C seems to be the rate limiting factor in immune system function for most people. I take about 20g a day as pure L Ascorbic acid dissolved in luke warm water.
You know my story Nev – and some others may not.
We have the technology to deliver health and freedom to every person on the planet, but the beliefs of our past prevent most from seeing the possibilities present, and prime among those beliefs is the myth of money.
It has been a very useful myth and still is in a sense, and that fact blinds most people to the exponentially increasing dangers it now presents.