Terry Calen ~ 2003 04 450

Americanitis

part of: The Part of Me That is 52 and heading onward...

by Teresa Dunyati-Long

I am trying to get at the root of the resistance to healthcare reform in the USA.

We have the least effective health-care system of the first world. Why is that so? Why are we content to leave things this way?

Money pure and simple.

Americans are good at pointing to the cultural flaws in other nations, but we have a hard time seeing our own.

We are just plain greedy. Just as other countries can’t get a handle on the excesses of male privilege, we can’t get a handle on our greed.

Greed is not just about money, though money operationalizes greed very efficiently. Money allows the acquisition of things: status, attention, objects, the service of living beings (human, animal, plant).

Health care for everyone really does mean less money in the pot for things. Does it really matter what things? What matters is the less part. What matters also is less for the greedy individual.

Is this why there is still an issue, even though you can argue that a healthy populace is a more productive populace? Productivity generally means more money in the pot.

Here is the deal, greed is all about the individual and the short term. Productivity is about all of us together and the long-term.

In general there are four areas of endeavor that are required for a productive populace: food, education, health and jobs. There is one area of endeavor required for greed: money. Put money at the root of the preceeding four areas and you get what? You get the four horsemen and apocalypse. In case you don’t remember their names, check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Horsemen_of_the_Apocalypse. Any of this sound familiar? Google European and US history to get a feel for how this works.

Money is a convenience invented to ease transactions. It needs to be assigned its proper place. It has no place at the root of human endeavor. It is merely one of our many tools. It can disconnect us from each other, as in the case of greed. It can ease transactions that make us all better off, as in the case of enlightened self-interest.

It really comes down to a choice to use it wisely, assign it to its proper place.

Can we do that? Can we really master ourselves, shore up our weak point? We keep pointing fingers at other cultures and their weak spots. Surely we can do the same for ourselves!

Oh and yes, Americanitis = mortally dangerous greed.