Modelling a Healthy Economy – the next task for health care?

Public Health Well-being

The health of children today in England

  • Physical health – diabetes, allergy,
  • Mental health – self harm, suicde
  • Social health – sense of belonging, purpose, meaning

What future are we leaving for our children?

Child wellbeing across countries


Why is the economy so important to health?

Because the economy determines our goals, our relationships, our values

Is modelling a healthy economy the next task for health care?

The changing epidemiology of disease: The rise in  non-communicable diseases

DISEASE PREVENTION (contemporary public health classification)

  • Primary prevention – methods to avoid occurrence of disease
  • Secondary prevention – methods to diagnose and treat existent disease in early stages before it causes significant morbidity
  • Tertiary prevention – reducing the negative impact of existent disease

A new classification:

  • Primary disease –   those diseases that have always been with us
  • Secondary disease –   the dis-eases of modernity

Is the present economy dysfunctional?

1.Its primary goal is the accumulation of money

2.It does not value non-financial transactions
3.Money is created as interest-bearing debt pledged upon the future
4.The ‘bads’ of an economy are rated financially the same as ‘goods”
Money defines our relationships.

Money has become the value that trumps all other values.

Economics has been replaced by finance.

Money has been transformed from the tool to the master.

The problem of money:

1.goal displacement,
2. ethical distanciation
3. externalisation of costs
4. distortion of values

UK debt as percentage of gross domestic product

UK debt as percentage  of gross domestic product

UK private debt = 500% of GDP (Mckinsey Global Institute)

UK public debt =  67.9% of GDP (Office for National Statistics, November, 2012)

Debt & gross national product other countries:

Debt & gross national product

The first anomaly of contemporary economics

Money today created as interest-bearing loans by banks lent out not in the primary aim of human development but with the aim of making more money

The origin of money

  • A token for good
  • A tool to promote the exchange of goods

goods   money   goods

But today

We have lost an understanding of what is good

And we work for money

And goods have become the tool to acquire money i.e. goods have become commodities

money  goods   money

And it gets worse

Since there are those who need money to survive, and those who just want more money because money means power – for self & over others


survival  money  goods   money  power

The second anomaly of contemporary economics

It is all too easy to make money by exploitation & encouraging bads than by developing goods

Some examples:

  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Forests
  • Breast milk
  • Crime

Exploitation – the four explooitations:

  • The equivalence of goods with bads in financial accounting
  • Even worse – double counting – crime
  • And even worse – the externalisation of costs – financial accounting versus ecological, social and aesthetic accounting
  • And far worse – the commodification of money itself

And so our task

  • To re-imagine and explore the parameters of both disease and health
  • To recognise the pathologies of our contemporary economy

  • To model and understand health  in all its parameters
  • Characterise more fully pathogenic pathways

  • To understand and promote salutogenetic pathways  (Pathos, disease; Salus, health)

Modeling a Healthy Economy the next task

First phase of modern medicine – the biosciences
Second phase of modern medicine – respect for the person

But  “dis-eases of modernity”

Third phase of modern medicine – Ecology of health, moulding  an environment, culture and economy that is health & life affirming.

Moving from an economy of profit, exploitation & consumption  to an economy of care, cooperation & creativity

The goal of a healthy economy: the development of a health and life-affirming  environment, culture and market  within the limits of our global biosphere and ecosphere:

  • Re-opening public space
  • Re-articulating communities
  • Re-costing economies  (costing beyond finance)
  • Promoting the economy of the gift
  • Maternal economics
  • Pioneering maximum income limits
  • Encouraging life-support systems

The second and third sciences

  •  physical science,
  •  life science,
  •  human science

Living systems theories

Functional medicine –  return to healing, not just treating

Recognising true sources  human & environmental

Characterising & describing a healthy economy

  •    its anatomy (structures/organisation)
  •   its physiology (processes)
  •   its neurology   (information, communication & power systems)
  •   its metabolism (resource use, waste disposal)
  • Recognising and naming the symptoms of its pathology

Recognising and naming the vectors & mechanisms of its pathology

Working to bring healing to our economy

Modelling a healthy economy begins with a critique of money

  • goal displacement
  •  externalisation of costs
  •  distortion of values
  •  instrumentalisation of processes
  •  ethical distanciation

And because money is distorting  our relationships and our values  the increasing need for regulation