In 1975 Ivan Illich wrote in Medical Nemesis
The medical establishment has become a major threat to health.[…] The threat which current medicine represents to the health of populations is analogous to the threat which the volume and intensity of traffic represent to mobility, the threat which education and the media represent to learning, and the threat which urbanization represents to competence in homemaking. In each case a major institutional endeavor has turned counterproductive.
If we look at a combination of healthcare spending and health sector job growth, we can see that the number of healthcare jobs and the amount of money we spend on healthcare is directly proportional to the increasing number of sick people. Sickness is driving our economy.
The current thought on both liberal and conservative fronts never touches the holy cow of medicine as the culprit. All human suffering or money related discussions accept medicine’s status quo. Opinions only differ where the funding comes, whether private or public entities should be in charge, what kind of medicine should practiced (preventive vs. reactive), and who should be getting the money of the increasingly disabled citizen. Nobody questions the very need to engage in the medical health preservation sham.
Ivan Illich outlines why an overgrown professional and physician-based healthcare system is sickening
- It produces clinical damage that outweighs its potential benefits.
- It enhances and obscures the political conditions that make society unhealthy.
- It mystifies and expropriates the power of the individual to heal him/herself and to shape his or her environment.
The medical and paramedical monopoly over hygienic methodology and technology is a glaring example of the political misuse of scientific achievement to strengthen industrial rather than personal growth. Such medicine is but a device to convince those who are sick and tired of society that it is they who are ill, impotent, and in need of technical repair.
The solution is NOT to have more or better healthcare but to deal with our human weakness, vulnerability, and uniqueness in a personal and autonomous way.