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Scientific Sense Podcast

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Health

News (1) that a group of scientists is attempting to build up a health system in Madagascar from scratch, driven by data, analytics, and pure heart is welcome news. Health, a non-tradable asset, has kept modern humans bottled up. Electing dumb leaders has taken them further behind. The economics of health is a complex question and till scientists and medical professionals take it on, we will swirl around in political ignorance and impasse.

Humans did not have to worry about health until recently. Their able bodies were eaten by cats or crushed by heavier animals much before any required intervention against single cell organisms or auto-immune diseases. It is different now. They are living way past the design horizon. To make matters worse, they have been carrying unwanted weight, putting unexpected levels of stress on their joints. Their organs have been failing because of overuse and their infrastructure is crumbling, not able to hold them up. Modern medicine has acted as a band-aid to prolong life but it has not contributed to maximizing the utility of the individual or society.

A big part of this issue has to do with the inadequacies of systems that apparently intelligent people designed. When there are no markets, incompetence rises. When incentives are misaligned, humans behave as they are expected to, maximizing short term returns. And, humans have a tendency to gang up on the weak and the weary as they learned through the eons of evolution. It is a perfect storm - incompetence, ignorance and non-market designs - that could sink humanity.

It is time to step out. Experiment, revolutionize and let information and technology guide future actions.

(1) http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6430/918

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