Deconstructing Democracy Co-Creating Eco-Governance
Part 2 - Health: The Primary Casualty
Health: A luxury Commodity
The health of people and planet is our most valuable resource and has become the greatest casualty of our current governing systems.
It would seem obvious that the health of the land and its people would be the primary purpose of any governing system, but this is far from true. The democratic governance system is contributing to spiralling trauma, disease and destruction. Health is rapidly becoming a luxury commodity with vast disparities among the wealthy and poor.
Aside from global warming and its direct threat to life on earth - physical diseases resulting from our interference with nature are spreading rapidly. We are at war with ourselves, each other and the planet as terror, poverty and devastation spread across the globe. Our emotional and mental well-being are continually undermined as we face unprecedented forms of social violence and emotional imbalances including addictions, social alienation, depression, attention deficit disorders, anxiety and stress disorders that result from living lifestyles out of balance with our environment.
Human health is dependent on environmental health. When we poison and deplete the environment we damage our own health. When we live out of balance with nature we create trauma and disease.
Given that the foundation and language of democracy is organized around power and control of people and resources, it is not surprising that the system is damaging to health and life itself. Our concept of health has been tragically narrowed to reductive concepts disconnected from deep body wisdom and the healthy engagement with the eco-system of which we are part. Our understanding of health is perverted by profit driven false information. It has been largely reduced to narrow concepts of personal health, marketed in a way that creates an obsession with external form rather than holistic health of body, soul and environment. Words like “natural”, “healthy”, “green” and “energizing” have become empty buzzwords with little if any connection to what is being sold. We have reached the absurd point where healthy soil, the foundation of healthy nutrition and life itself is considered “dirty” while chemical household products are branded as “clean”.
Rather than organizing all governance around systemic health, health becomes an isolated governance function disconnected from other functions like education, agriculture, security, welfare, infrastructure and economy. The issue of health care is often reduced to citizens access to medical attention and its financial implications. To a large extent the health systems have become bureaucratic structures that focus on medical solutions defined by the lucrative health industry and approved by those with vested interests. While the economy pushes unhealthy lifestyles, government health care is often not available to all. In many cases private health care offers a higher quality service but becomes a privilege only for the rich. The health of people thus becomes yet another expression of privilege.
This reductionist approach to health enables the free reign of a political and economic system that profits off disease, with devastating consequences to people and planet. The economy, food system and education system are among the primary systems that perpetuate imbalance and disease. To grasp the impact of democracy on the health of people and planet it is important to explore how these systems led by democratic governments are contributing to the disease and devastation we currently face.