In the last decades we have seen an increase in public attention to health. We name all kinds of “new” diseases and we no longer investigate the underlying causes (such as a mosquito or bad food). Instead, we find weak links in our body that respond to external stimuli and therefore influence the total body condition. Through gigantic investments in research we find abnormally behaving cells and DNA sequences that are not ideal. The industry is developing more sophisticated ways to discover and treat things that were previously unknown.
At the same time, in order to save costs, the activities do not only focus on expensive care centers, but also extend to people at home to offer both prevention and aftercare. Insurance companies are now powerful financial institutions that make decisions about the quality of care and who is entitled to what treatment. The pharmaceutical industry has been a hidden player for much longer and despite good intentions of employees in those companies, the only interest for those organizations is finding more diseases for which we need more or more expensive medication. “Medication” is not just a pill or a drink of some chemical composition. It is also the mass production of so-called homeopathic medicines, dietary supplements and bio-friendly ingredients. The bio-food industry follows the mass production we previously knew, but is not really different. Regulations are opaque and difficult to trace, and based on negotiation results rather than human-oriented long-term insights.
From influencing weather through spraying of clouds to serial killing in slaughterhouses and soil pollution through prolonged unilateral use of large plots: the invisible effects on human health are huge. Little by little the world is changing to feed and house the large masses of people.
And finally we have the supervisory authorities, consultancies and other institutes that check everything for “quality”, carry out on-the-spot inspections and analyze samples independently. Governments and industries determine the quality criteria, looking at economic feasibility and acceptable risks for the average population.
The general picture is one of statistical “big numbers”. In the US they now discover that the ‘pepsi-burger culture’ after a few generations led to a generally accepted image that healthy people are also large. In the same way, the entire (health) system massages people in a certain direction. Diversity is disappearing. Soon we all have the same healthy genes. Ideal key figures for a human body, similar to industrial KPIs (key performance indicators), control the entire system, including household appliances, to regulate that.
Meanwhile, our average mental state is also deteriorating, looking at the amount of therapeutic services available. Not only institutions, but also psychologists, different types of therapists and masses of coaches now advertise for “tailored assistance”. The motto has apparently become “wellness & well-being”. Here, too, the pharmaceutical industry is showing up with “cheap” alternatives, and insurance companies are interfering with what is useful.
Systematically processing large numbers also means a value shift to financial control, away from individual personal well-being. There is a huge amount of money in this economy, and we are all in different market segments for the companies that benefit from this situation. Also the people who are part of such a company, because they receive salaries and earn profit margins for the organization. All this leads to a self-sustaining organism, governed by monetary arguments. Sometimes you get the feeling that we have to be unhealthy for this organism to survive. The long-term effects of this fast-growing system will demonstrate the extent to which we are already inmates of this #UnhealthEconomics.