Information Age, Information is Power,
Power is Radically Out of Balance
An odd world. This one we live in.
This morning I posted an email to several friends with whom I share thoughts. The topic running for the last day or so is health care reform. It is no secret that I favor strong reform, leaning as far as possible to universal, single-payer. I want us to lean so far that we finally tip into that space.
In my email to these friends, I observed I hear ‘explanations’ against universal coverage that are strikingly similar to objections raised against freeing slaves, against universal suffrage.Too many already covered due to income, employment, or age are inclined to view those who want coverage as “seeking undeserved entitlement”. In other words, those presently covered by taxpayer dollar or consumer dollar somehow view their coverage as “deserved”, not as “accidental entitlement”; and view the uncovered, underinsured as “seeking something not deserved.”
I observed we seem to be running a “Dickens’ experiment”. We somewhat unthoughtfully accept high levels of poverty, lack of educational resources, massive population imprisonment, for a range of ‘reasons’. And we accept thousands of annual deaths due to lack of sufficient, or any, health coverage. Strong shades of the times recorded by Charles Dickens in his novels.
After posting my email, I tuned into internet NPR stations, first one, then another, of my frequent choices. Each was running “informed discussion” on how HC voting is likely to turn out. Who will support what. Play by play. Reasoned. “Rational”. No questionsabout those to be left still uncovered or under covered. No questions about bankruptcy still available to those so stretched when becoming ill. No examinationof how this plays out in the profit bin of HC insurers or others standing to benefit when a larger pool of citizens are “funneled” their way by mandated insurance premiums. Not even a sigh and sad regret that we are a long way from doing what we each know in our hearts (if our hearts are the least open) is most rational and logical from point of view of citizen wellness, and also best bang for buck spent.
(Well citizens are contributing citizens, those whose health is supported, restored as best as possible, and not driven to bankruptcy from the experience, are able to continue running small businesses, making purchases, and baking pies for bake-sales. There is no conscionable reason to have any dollars shaved off into profit coffers. This is human wellness we are speaking of, not boats, cars, and TV sets.)
Some of what I report I heard on the NPR broadcasts this morning is imagined based on what I actually heard and what I have heard before. This is because I switched to BBC4. I sometimes switch to BBC out of curiosity, and sometimes to seek refuge from “news” that is particularly irritating. On BBC I am unlikely to hear “rational, reasonable” examination of HC reform that leaves a whole lot of folks with no coverage at all, and drags out “eventual coverage” for a run of years yet to come.
Odd! The BBC programming happened to be a radio drama, and a major player was the young Charles Dickens – when he was a fledgling reporter, just beginning to write his novels! Social issues explored by character interest included the class system, restrictions against Jewish participation in society, and dire poverty as experienced by children and the poor. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00bzv6v, “Dickens Confidential” … copyright or similar reason prevents podcasting they say, but the next episode of this radio drama is scheduled next week on Tuesday.)
In any case! How odd. My musings on our “Dickens experiment” caused me to turn from American broadcasting in annoyance, only to arrive at Dickens!
Coming back “home” as it were, I would like to encourage readers who have not done so to check out writings and speeches of John Perkins: http://www.johnperkins.org/.
His first book, a few years ago: “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”,has been followed by more books, much lecturing. A new book: “Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded–and What We Need to Do to Remake Them”, has just come out.
Mr Perkins’s story is like that of other whistle blowers. He followed (at international level) practices that allowed him exotic and well-paid life experience. If readers have not given themselves the information offered by Mr Perkins, I would suggest you do so. His website offers a number of links where you can gather information; there are YouTube and Google videos of his lectures.
His life is shifted 180d in goals and values. (Interestingly, he carried within himself the compassionate values now expressed throughout his time as “hitman”.) It took an ‘event’ to finally convince him to genuinely respond to this inner calling. He understands and describes how his “early formed world view” contributed to his longing for a life that was well matched to his role as economic hitman, economic manipulator, in international affairs. (I confess I’ve read/heard a mix of what is available on him, and cannot pinpoint sources specific to points I share here on his life.)
I assure readers unfamiliar with Mr Perkin’s ‘hitman’ story that when you read or hear what he shares, your understanding of forces ‘at play”, will grow immensely. You will learn ‘insider stories’ of international, severe, ‘arm twisting’ of countries with coveted resources, will learn of assassinations, will learn some of why we need to ‘wake up’ to our role as citizen guardians of freedom, democracy, and rights.
Many will be so aghast as to not be able to believe Mr Perkins. It is more comfortable, sometimes, to ‘blame the undeserving’ and to accept “official story lines”. Always, the naked emperor parades in front of us, and very frequently our response is to accept “reality of his clothing”. What we are told by the youth who points out the obvious cannot possibly be true, because it is uncomfortable!
But this is the “Age of Information”. Information, we are told, is power. Hmm … maybe time we helped ourselves to some of the information that can help us balance power.
My Best Wishes to Each and All! – MaggieAnn