The Unclear Lobby

No one really knows the net yield of nuclear power because at present its use is subsidized by fossil fuels in a thousand ways that cannot be estimated until we try to run a nuclear system without them. Will nuclear power have a more concentrated value than the wood output of the solar system, or of coal, or of cheap oil from rich deposits? The new power plant seems to be more economical than the competing fossil plants as long as it is running on the accumulated storages of nuclear fuel and fuel prospecting done on fossil-fuel subsidy. Is nuclear power at this level of net power delivery possible in a culture that does not have the accompanying fossil fuels? (Odum, 1971, p. 135).

by Mary Logan

I am broaching this topic in support of the Japanese people, in order to add my voice to the many who are challenging assumptions regarding the clean green nature of nuclear power. Choosing a nuclear future means that we choose profit over the future of humanity. The nuclear lobby is connected to climate change campaigns and the defense industry. The lobby deals in deception and omission; thus the title for this post that is part of a series of posts about laying siege to empire. Continue reading The Unclear Lobby

Laying Siege to Empire; Big Pharma Edition

by Mary Logan

Before we leave the subject of health policy, I would be remiss if I didn’t take an equal opportunity swipe at the big pharmaceutical companies in the United States as some of the biggest profit-makers in healthcare. To quote a commenter from last week’s post on Healthcare for All in the US, our healthcare system is a nightmare. This companion piece exposes our mental models regarding the subsystem of the pharmaceutical industry in the United States as a component of the most expensive healthcare system in the world. Big Pharma has managed to capture feedback loops in order to control the drug-making, approval, and marketing process so thoroughly that the physicians, the regulators, and the insurance industry all appear to be dancing to the rhythm that Big Pharma sets as a primary producer who generates much of the supply for the wellness factory in the United States. Continue reading Laying Siege to Empire; Big Pharma Edition

Healthcare for All in the U.S?

by Mary Logan

The discussions in the US this week surrounding the constitutionality of health insurance payment mandates and the fact that my terminal degree is in health policy helped me to choose a topic for this week’s post. The US Supreme Court question that the Justices are examining this week has to do with the issue of insurance payment mandates for individuals—is it constitutional? The goal of Obama’s The Affordable Care Act is a goal of healthcare for all within the existing system. One primary argument of those supporting the plan is that, while not perfect, the plan is a good start in transitioning to a universal healthcare system. Yet the plan and the current discussions make a number of unstated assumptions about a healthcare system embedded within a capitalist, free market economic system of the wealthiest country on the planet. These assumptions need to be exposed in order to view the problem systemically. I would suggest that these assumptions are not even correct to begin with for the existing system, and that the assumptions will become even less true in a permanently declining economy associated with peak oil. Rousseau said, “Good laws lead to the making of better ones; bad laws bring about worse.” In my opinion, creating bad laws now that assume that the current system can grow infinitely only lead to further catastrophe. Continue reading Healthcare for All in the U.S?