What are the Factors that Truly affect Our Health?
Unhealthy Betrayal, looks the way that the health system was set up in the USA, by Andrew Carnegie and David Rockefeller, and how they used their immense wealth and their clever use of foundations to create the first major learning institutions, institutions that would dance to their tune. Rockefeller effectively took over the University of Chicago, and created the Institute for Medical Research in 1901. Via their, Agent Abraham Flexner, they used their wealth to set up the medical teaching schools with the American Medical Association, who they funded. Any competing therapies were ruthlessly attacked and removed. They set the agenda for medical education, to be reliant on drug therapy, surgery, and radiation treatments.
Gradually this model developed and assumed prominence in other countries. The pharmaceutical industry grew into the massive industry that it now is, supported by the development and influence of such organisations as the U S Food and Drug Administration.
Collapse of Health, and the Rise of Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes.
The rise of the rates of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes led to urgent demands for a solution to the growing health crisis, pressure was put on the newly developing medical establishment and the government to help solve the growing crisis. The US Government introduced some vast funding on healthcare, via tax increases, to meet the crisis, such as to fight the ‘War on Cancer’. The treatment of Illness became a huge business, as did the funding for research into such diseases, and the cause of the prevalence of chronic health of our societies.
In September, 1955 President Dwight Eisenhower suffered his first heart attack. His recovery and treatment took centre stage in the USA, and focussed a lot of attention on the rising incidence of heart disease, that was reaching epidemic proportions, in the USA in particular.
Ancel Keys, came up with the theory that the cause of heart disease was caused by excess saturated fats in the diet, giving rise to high levels of cholesterol, which in turn plugged up our arteries and caused cardiovascular disease.
The whole cholesterol issue became politicised, by numerous factors that started with Senator McGovern’s introduction of the first publication of the Dietary Goals of the United States. These topics are discussed, along with the consequences of Keys theory becoming, not just accepted as fact, but adopted as a matter of Government Policy in the USA.
We review a whole host of factors that in our view, contribute to the health or demise of health of our society that include the political dimension and the economic dimension.
We look at how corporate interests have took precedence, more or less unilaterally. We look at how the American model of medicine, which was viewed by most other countries, as the most advanced system by the richest country in the world—led to a similar model being adopted throughout the world.
With the continuing health crisis that we are experiencing, it is obvious that this model is failing us all. Countries that have adopted it are all experiencing their own health crisis and are facing epidemic levels of obesity, diabetes and cancer. Most countries are struggling to fund their uncontrollable runaway costly healthcare services. People are openly referring to their healthcare systems as—more a ‘disease crisis mismanagement service’.
The Industrialization of Agriculture and the Food Supply
We review the industrialisation of agriculture which resulted in the adoption of a system that has a heavy reliance on chemical herbicides, fungicides and pesticides with the combined use of nitrogen fertilizers that would boost ‘yield’ at the expense of the degradation of soil, resulting in falling levels of important soil nutrients. The result of this fall in nutrient value, of course, has a knock-on effect in the available nutrients to sustain human health—and that is before any further processing by the industrialization of the food supply system. Currently one third of global soils are considered acutely degraded, and fertile soil is being lost at the rate of 24 billion tons a year.
We look at the development and industrialisation of the food supply, and the development of the fast food industry and the role it plays in our health.
Economic Consequences on our Health
Following the economic collapse of 2007/2008, it became obvious to many, that our economic system was critical to our wellbeing. We point out the cause of world poverty is not due to a lack of food, but a lack of purchasing power, money etc., to pay for it. We also dispel the myth that the food shortage is due to an ever rising population—we show how in reality there is an over-abundance of food, and that most western countries throw huge amounts away.
We suggest, that the economic system is failing miserably in being able to serve our needs in the 21st century, and that, it our view, is a bigger threat to our health than probably any other source. For this reason, we review some of the many economic aspects that affect us, such as rising debt levels, and the stampede by wealthy corporations and the super-rich into the use of tax-havens. How this move puts an even bigger tax-burden on our shoulders, putting further pressure on our health services’ ability to be adequately funded, and not just health services—but many other important services. We discuss how this also affects the ability of our governments to even adequately maintain the very infrastructure of our countries, such as our roads, rail networks, schools etc. which all has a direct knock-on effect on our greater wellbeing.
Over-specialization Can Miss the Bigger Picture
We include a large array of topics in this volume, because we feel that it deserves to be seen in the larger context. All the subjects raised have a direct impact on us all. We live in a world where people tend to specialise in their field of study and work, and in the field of medicine, for example, there is a very large degree of specialisation, even in just the field of heart disease.
We feel sometimes it is useful just to step back and look at the bigger picture. It then becomes, as one of my reviewers suggested, like one big jigsaw puzzle that enables you to see how everything is inter-connected.
This is why, our health systems will not be simply fixed just by throwing more money at them (which invariably means increasing our debt levels further to benefit corporate interests and wealthy bond holders).
An Urgent Call for Action
I tend to use the word ‘we’, often when I write, as what I write about comes from the vast source of knowledge that comes from many individuals, and specialists, that in their own fields have contributed their own truths, wisdom and understandings, who I refer to and have cited in this volume—I am purely the messenger here. I am an independent health researcher, and writer with a vision of a better world ahead. One that recognises that we are all connected, we are all from the same source, we are all God’s children, we are all One. What we do to others, we do to ourselves.
We are confronted by a system of blindness that allows corporations to make vast sums of money, by dumping their toxic waste into the air, into our water supplies, our soil, and the oceans—and leaves to us the costs of the illness that destroys our lives and families, and burdens our health services—and simply refers to it as ‘externalised cost’. This raises the greater questions: How cheap is the food we produce if we add all the costs of healthcare, the lost days off work, the cost on families, both emotionally and economically, the loss of even the ability to work and care for each other due to disability or untimely death? How cheap is this food if you add these costs? What if you also add to these costs the effect on future generations? Are we to stay blind to these costs for ever? Are our politicians to stay blind to this misery for ever?
I draw attention to the chemical body burden that affects EVERY child born on this Earth, no matter where they are born. I point out how the dioxin levels alone in our children’s blood when they are born, far exceed permissible levels for ADULTS, and would be banned if a company allowed this to happen to any adult employee. And yet, this is no isolated event, indeed, we have all of us, a dangerous cocktail of chemicals—whose effect on our bodies is UNKNOWN—no man honestly knows—there are no studies done! This problem is such that the very ability to conceive children is increasingly seen as under threat.
This book argues that it is TIME FOR CHANGE. We offer a number of solutions to the problems we discuss. This book is written both to promote awareness of the issues raised, provoke dialogue, and hopefully lead to action.
There are many great minds that believe our current global-industrial-economic system is seriously dysfunctional, and destructive aside from being now more obviously unsustainable. We introduce solutions based on the principles of Restorative Economics, which we feel would be a useful way forward in some areas.
This book is an urgent call for action, we believe that it is no exaggeration to say we believe that the very survival of humanity is at stake.
Andrew A D Burgoyne