A recent conversation was a reminder that few things like universal healthcare can mark a divide between Americans and Europeans (and Canadians). Americans tend to consider healthcare not a right but something to be earned. There is a moral argument going on here. But what if providing healthcare for all just makes scientific and economic sense?
Network Theory and Health
Let’s start by saying that nobody has a perfect system. For example, the UK health system seems to be imploding and Canada is rigid, but there are undoubtedly management issues involved. Improvement is always possible.
In previous posts we’ve pointed out that the science of network theory gives us a new understanding of human interactions. We can increasingly see how human interaction, both economic and social, can be understood in terms of hubs, nodes and linkages. The more society becomes polarized and unequal, the more the linkages among the hubs and nodes weaken and this can lead to a collapse of the network itself (see our post How to Build Sustainable Network Wealth). We can’t say what such a an explosion would look like exactly but it wouldn’t be pretty. However, news of super rich buying properties in places like New Zealand as a safe haven in the event of chaos is an indicator.
Providing healthcare for everyone from a systemic, network perspective cannot be a seen as a cost or a burden. On the contrary, it becomes a way of ensuring the sustainability of the network itself. We can then add other considerations, e.g. providing everyone with proper healthcare ensures that all the human potential of a society can be expressed, but that is perhaps more philosophical than scientific.
New thinking required
If we put aside our cultural biases (and experience) and argue that there is a rational reason for providing universal healthcare, it’s still not enough. That is because we can’t solve old problems with old thinking.
To bring this knowledge into the realm of reality and implementation requires a different kind of use of the mind, and that requires a different kind of intelligence – a systemic intelligence capable of perceiving the systemic implications of our actions. The cognitive tools to foster and develop this kind of intelligence exist, and the sooner they are acquired the more sustainable and positive our future will be.
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About the Author
Angela Montgomery Ph.D. is Partner and Co-founder of Intelligent Management and author of the business novel+ website The Human Constraint . This downloadable novel uses narrative to look at how the Deming approach and the Theory of Constraints can create the organization of the future, based on collaboration, network and social innovation. She is co-author with Dr. Domenico Lepore, founder, and Dr. Giovanni Siepe of ‘Quality, Involvement, Flow: The Systemic Organization’ from CRC Press, New York.