10.18.2004

Trust

I begin to realize that I have little faith in human nature but I think humanity has what it takes to survive.

I agree that businesses can operate more efficiently without government regulation. However, time and time again history has shown us that there will be those who will abuse the system to maximize their gain. Regulation to prevent harm to the consumer is essential. Where is the line drawn? Well, that's the black magic of economic governance. Human nature being what it is, and with corporations embodying the most cut-throat aspects of human nature, I have little faith in corporate entities to police themselves.

Business interests wield considerable power in the US and, though a touch less so here in Canada, they are a mighty force that shapes our society. We have given our schools over to training employees, we have given industry a veto over our environment and the spectre of a profit-oriented health system looms ever larger as we wait for the baby boomers to become daisy bloomers.

Human nature has put our Canadian health system to the test. The current system is being flooded with cost overruns. As more and more treatments become available for more and more health problems, the price of keeping people alive past the point of natural selection will continue to skyrocket. The system is bureaucratic, difficult to manage and inefficient. It is the price of a public service to bloat itself. When there is no one to answer to other than the anonymous taxpayer plus the required transparency of a public service, the many-headed hydra of governmental inefficiency will rear its ugly head heads, uh, head(s).

The alternative, however, is apallingly clear. A private sector health industry will always put profit first. Corners will be cut, people will be denied service, the cold brutality of darwinian economics will eradicate any faint trace of altruism that may yet linger in a public health system. The business of health would hum like a lean, mean, well-oiled machine. If it didn't, well, that's more profit that's not being squeezed out and if businesses do one thing well it's squeezing for profit so tight that blood comes out of every pore. Oh, human nature, you kill me.

So what's a hater of human nature to do? How about: be optimistic. People in this country like their public health care. As much as we complain about the problems, we complain even more about the threats to privatise the system. I believe today's system is stronger than when it first started. The problems of today come from a slow reaction time and poor planning to an increased demand. We adapt slowly but we adapt. It's true that there have to be problems before people will change things and that anyone with a bit of sense can see those coming down the road. But in the end, change is made. As danger grows, so grows salvation. As I've said in the past, the danger is always being willing to change before it becomes too late. I do believe we have the foresight to recognize it, and I do believe there will always be the will to change.

I do have faith in humanity. While I am willing to concede that it may be a naive take on human history, though we have done so much harm to one another, I can see the great work we have done to build ourselves up. Let's hope we don't blow it.