November 05, 2007

HOWS AND WHYS



Caption: Auschwitz. Photo credit: Photo by betauser courtesy of everystockphoto.com.

Recently I renewed my acquaintance with a classic book, Man's Search for Meaning by Dr. Victor Frankl (1905-1997). The book is his account both of his experiences as an inmate of Auschwitz and other concentration camps in the Third Reich era and of his psychological theories. It has had a huge impact, with millions of copies in print.

Frankl's book contains his ordeal and that of many others in the most extreme and dehumanizing conditions as well as his insights into how to remain human in spite of it all. Fortunately, one doesn't have to be in an extreme situation to benefit from his basic ideas.

Prior to his imprisonment, Frankl was a Viennese physician and psychologist who had me Freud and Adler. In 1942, Frankl, his wife, and parents were deported to Thereisenstadt, where, in spite of everything, he gave lectures on mental health and related topics. He was later shipped to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Turkheim.

Frankl lost almost his entire family in the Holocaust, with the exception of a sister who escaped to Australia.

After the war, he resumed his practice in Vienna, where he developed his insights into a method he called logotherapy, from the Greek words for reason and healing.

In a very real sense, his work was a practical commentary on a line from Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols:

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.


About which more tomorrow...

HEALTH CARE BLUES. According to Business Week, a new survey shows that more Americans want a total overhaul of the health care system than do citizens of six other industrialized nations.

FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS...NOT. Also from Business Week, this interesting article shows that big financial institutions are still collecting from consumers whose debts were supposedly cancelled by bankruptcy.

MEGAN WILLIAMS MARCH. Here's Charleston Gazette coverage for a march organized by Black Lawyers for Justice yesterday. The march was peaceful, although name-calling continued. A number of local organizations, including branches of the NAACP, the Charleston Black Ministerial Alliance, the Logan County Improvement League, and West Virginians United for Social and Economic Justice did not support the event, in part due to concerns about its possible impact on the case against her alleged attackers.

WHAT WOULD SUSTAINABILITY LOOK LIKE? Here's a suggestion.

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED

4 comments:

medic511@hotmail.com said...

Health care reform? Do we need it? I guess I must be a socialist at heart, at least when it comes to those things we need to survive.

The cost of healthcare is over two trillion dollars a year, and is likely, based on growth in the "industry" since 2005 (last data available), approaching $2.5 trillion. Folks, that $2.5 million-million, for those who aren't thinking or didn't like math. This is remarkable when you think that the total US Federal Budget for 2007 it 2.9 trillion dollars. Think about it, the cost of healthcare in the US is nearly as much as the ENTIRE Federal Budget, including all: Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid and other welfare programs, roads and other infrastructure, education, and the so-called war on terror and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But, the good thing is, if you are an investor, healthcare costs are expected to increase to $4 trillion in the next 6 or 7 years.

Drug companies are reaping profits 2 and 3 times the rates of other industries, and with the greed driven economic mentality of business in the U.S today, we surely can't expect that to change.

Secondly, health insurance companies are also enjoying RECORD profits. Many reporting growth to investors in the 15+ annual percent range. Don't sound like a big deal? When dealing with hundreds of billions of dollars, it is a big deal.

Furthermore, deductibles are increasing at alarming rates, "they" say to keep costs down, I say to keep the profits up. My beef is, and I guess this is the "socialist" in me, that there are some parts of our society/economy that it should be a crime to profit and free from the perils of free enterprise. I'm not against capitalism, mind you, just SOME things you should be afforded, whether you are rich, poor, or somewhere in between.

1. A warm place to sleep. Sure, we don't want to live in government housing, that's why we buy or rent a home. BUT, if you can't afford it, there should be a place for you to sleep.

2. Clean drinking water and adequate waste removal...NO COST. Our tax dollars have built water purification and wastewater treatment systems throughout this country. Its appalling that the poor and seniors must pay $150 a month for drinking water and sewer. I understand the cost of employees and upkeep, but these figures are rediculous.

3. Affordable energy. The natural resources belong to the citizens. How can we justify the cost of of heating oil, gasoline at $3.00 a gallon, and natural gas at $14.50 per mcf? Greed, greed, greed. Energy should be a not-for-profit industry. A poor old lady down the street has to decide which she's going to do this month, get her medicines, pay her water/sewer bill, or heat her home.

4. Affordable healthcare. Not affordable, it should be free. I work in the healthcare industry. I can't keep from laughing at our politicians who keep harping that socialized medicine is a bad thing. Quotes are used that we have the best health care in the world. Not a snowballs chance. Others say, "I don't want to wait 3 months on a bypass" and such nonsense. Let me tell you, if you go to a local hospital or your doctor and need bypass surgery, if you aren't having active chestpain at the time, you are likely to wait even longer than 3 months. Gallbladder, you might wait a year. Just ask around. Not to mention, you'll need to put a lien on your home, if you still have one, to pick up the deductables and co-pays. Would you be willing to pay and extra 10 percent on you income taxes for "universal" health care? Some say "no way" but, how much are you paying now. My company pays between $7000 and $10000 toward health insurance for each employee. Hmm, the average wage is about $35,000. Universal healthcare for $3500 instead of $10000. That would leave you $6500 for frills. People, not thinking, again. This is one idea the rich are trying to sell you, calling universal health care socialized medicine, knowing that you'll relate the term to "communism"

I guess, in a nutshell, what all this is saying, capitalism fits for those thing we "want" but not those things we need to survive.

I think the solution is simpler than proposals...the healthcare system is owned by the government. If you have problems with the way the government handles things, then change the government.

Doctors, nurses, etc. become employees of the government, not the free enterprise system.

Drug companies are owned by the government. No stockholders to pay, no creative bookkeeping or claims that high drug costs are a result of the cost of research. Those costs come out of the profits before they are reported. No more diseases re-invented to sell a new aspirin. Maybe there would be a cure for the cold or for cancer, if company profits weren't at stake.

ex: Merck reported profits today of $1.5 billion on $6.0 billion in sales. 25% profit on the pain and suffering of others....call it what you want. Thats PROFIT, and thats greed. (Forbes)

No health insurance costs because there would be no health insurance companies. What a novel idea.

Sorry, oh great Goatherd...for rambling. I'm flabbergasted at the way this country is going, and the way this administration has sold out the American people as a whole, for the benefit of the Oil and Drug companies, the rich, and the war mongers. But, even more dumbfounded that our representatives can't see the plight of the working class and the poor. But, I guess if you're making $200k plus a year, it doesn't matter to you.

It gets my Goat!!!!

medic511@hotmail_in Milton said...

Health care reform? Do we need it? I guess I must be a socialist at heart, at least when it comes to those things we need to survive.

The cost of healthcare is over two trillion dollars a year, and is likely, based on growth in the "industry" since 2005 (last data available), approaching $2.5 trillion. Folks, that $2.5 million-million, for those who aren't thinking or didn't like math. This is remarkable when you think that the total US Federal Budget for 2007 it 2.9 trillion dollars. Think about it, the cost of healthcare in the US is nearly as much as the ENTIRE Federal Budget, including all: Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid and other welfare programs, roads and other infrastructure, education, and the so-called war on terror and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But, the good thing is, if you are an investor, healthcare costs are expected to increase to $4 trillion in the next 6 or 7 years.

Drug companies are reaping profits 2 and 3 times the rates of other industries, and with the greed driven economic mentality of business in the U.S today, we surely can't expect that to change.

Secondly, health insurance companies are also enjoying RECORD profits. Many reporting growth to investors in the 15+ annual percent range. Don't sound like a big deal? When dealing with hundreds of billions of dollars, it is a big deal.

Furthermore, deductibles are increasing at alarming rates, "they" say to keep costs down, I say to keep the profits up. My beef is, and I guess this is the "socialist" in me, that there are some parts of our society/economy that it should be a crime to profit and free from the perils of free enterprise. I'm not against capitalism, mind you, just SOME things you should be afforded, whether you are rich, poor, or somewhere in between.

1. A warm place to sleep. Sure, we don't want to live in government housing, that's why we buy or rent a home. BUT, if you can't afford it, there should be a place for you to sleep.

2. Clean drinking water and adequate waste removal...NO COST. Our tax dollars have built water purification and wastewater treatment systems throughout this country. Its appalling that the poor and seniors must pay $150 a month for drinking water and sewer. I understand the cost of employees and upkeep, but these figures are rediculous.

3. Affordable energy. The natural resources belong to the citizens. How can we justify the cost of of heating oil, gasoline at $3.00 a gallon, and natural gas at $14.50 per mcf? Greed, greed, greed. Energy should be a not-for-profit industry. A poor old lady down the street has to decide which she's going to do this month, get her medicines, pay her water/sewer bill, or heat her home.

4. Affordable healthcare. Not affordable, it should be free. I work in the healthcare industry. I can't keep from laughing at our politicians who keep harping that socialized medicine is a bad thing. Quotes are used that we have the best health care in the world. Not a snowballs chance. Others say, "I don't want to wait 3 months on a bypass" and such nonsense. Let me tell you, if you go to a local hospital or your doctor and need bypass surgery, if you aren't having active chestpain at the time, you are likely to wait even longer than 3 months. Gallbladder, you might wait a year. Just ask around. Not to mention, you'll need to put a lien on your home, if you still have one, to pick up the deductables and co-pays. Would you be willing to pay and extra 10 percent on you income taxes for "universal" health care? Some say "no way" but, how much are you paying now. My company pays between $7000 and $10000 toward health insurance for each employee. Hmm, the average wage is about $35,000. Universal healthcare for $3500 instead of $10000. That would leave you $6500 for frills. People, not thinking, again. This is one idea the rich are trying to sell you, calling universal health care socialized medicine, knowing that you'll relate the term to "communism"

I guess, in a nutshell, what all this is saying, capitalism fits for those thing we "want" but not those things we need to survive.

I think the solution is simpler than proposals...the healthcare system is owned by the government. If you have problems with the way the government handles things, then change the government.

Doctors, nurses, etc. become employees of the government, not the free enterprise system.

Drug companies are owned by the government. No stockholders to pay, no creative bookkeeping or claims that high drug costs are a result of the cost of research. Those costs come out of the profits before they are reported. No more diseases re-invented to sell a new aspirin. Maybe there would be a cure for the cold or for cancer, if company profits weren't at stake.

ex: Merck reported profits today of $1.5 billion on $6.0 billion in sales. 25% profit on the pain and suffering of others....call it what you want. Thats PROFIT, and thats greed. (Forbes)

No health insurance costs because there would be no health insurance companies. What a novel idea.

Sorry, oh great Goatherd...for rambling. I'm flabbergasted at the way this country is going, and the way this administration has sold out the American people as a whole, for the benefit of the Oil and Drug companies, the rich, and the war mongers. But, even more dumbfounded that our representatives can't see the plight of the working class and the poor. But, I guess if you're making $200k plus a year, it doesn't matter to you.

It gets my Goat!!!!

El Cabrero said...

I'm with you. The market works pretty well for things like Snickers bars and beer but not for things like health care or public goods.

medic511@hotmail_in Milton said...

Sorry about the double....don't know what happened???????