The Age of Sustainable Development by Jeffrey D. Sachs (2015)
This is a book worth reading despite some egregious realities that are not even touched on at all (disability). It has a massive scope ranging from poverty and economics to healthcare and fertility, biodiversity and climate change, and more. With pictures! And graphs!
More than a bit depressing and overwhelming too since we humans were gifted with brains and mainly chose to use for exploitation and degradation of all of earth and life of all kinds.
I wanted it to read the chapter (11) on “Resilient Cities”
Pharmageddon by David Healy (c 2012)
About 20 years ago, I began having trouble eating. I wan’t even particularly hungry, so that made it hard. I began losing weight, which was okay by me (seems my weight has been a constant seesaw and not in a good way, usually always something bad causes it). The doctors said “stress” and maybe “ulcer” from stress. Watchful waiting was the course of action they opted for, and that, I think, is code for your health insurance won’t pay for any tests and we haven’t a clue without doing an endoscopy or something, and you’re not dying (because no one dies from an ulcer – usually not anyway), so it will be fine. About 30 or 40 pounds later, I continued to express concern that something was seriously wrong. Still, no one seemed concerned; maybe because everyone wants to lose weight?
Looking back now, I cannot decide to laugh or cry. Doctors were telling me stress was causing me to become sick and my employer at the time ended up fighting my sexual harassment claim based on their opinion that stress did not make me sick — because, they claimed, stress does not make you sick.
It was common knowledge at the time, and for many decades before that, that stress does, in fact, make you sick. However it turned out that it does not cause ULCERS, the single most common diagnosis for ulcers was, for many years, stress.
Money Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs so Much by Maggie Mahar (2006)
Obviously this book is out of date but it does discuss some of the continual issues that plague the US medical and insurance industries under the great invisible hand of the “free” market rules of supply and demand that result in our citizens paying more and more and having inflated medical prices and drug prices forcing people to choose between food and healthcare.
The fundamental reality is that it is NOT APPROPRIATE to apply the “laws” of supply and demand to healthcare.
From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women in the World by Marilyn French (2008) Volume 1: Origins. Foreword by Margaret Atwood.
Marilyn French has a smooth writing style that is easy to read but still packs a punch by her coherence and context for absorbing new information.
The book is divided into 3 basic parts: 1. Parents, 2. The Rise of the State, 3. Gods, Glory, and Delusions of Grandeur. Under the States part it is a treat to go back all the way to Peru, Egypt, and Sumner. Other nations include a chapter on China, India, Mexico and a concluding analysis on the State in the abstract. She adds descriptors to identify the nature of the respective states: Secular=China, Religious = India, Militaristic = Mexico.
Under the Gods portion she covers Judaism, Greece, Rome, Christianity, Islam. There are number of supplemental notes, a glossary, a bibliography, and and index as well as some maps.
Here’s a bit from Margaret Atwood’s foreword:
Women who read this book will do so with horror and growing anger: From Eve to Dawn is to Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex as won is to poodle. Men who read it might be put off by the depiction of the collective male as brutal psychopath, or puzzled by French’s idea that men should “take responsibility for what their sex has done.” . . . However, no one will be able to avoid the relentless piling up of detail and event — the bizarre customs, the woman-hating legal structure, the gynecological absurdities, the child abuse, the sanctioned violence, the sexual outrageous — millennium after millennium. How to explain them? Are all men twisted? Are all women doomed? Is there hope? French is ambivalent about the twisted part, but, being a peculiarly American kind of activist, she insists on hope. (p.x)
Her intention was to put together a narrative answer to a question that had bothered her for a long time: how had men under up with ALL THE POWER — specifically, with all the power over women? Had it always been like that? If not, how was such power grasped and then enforced? Nothing she had read had addressed this issue directly. In most conventional histories, women simply aren’t there. Or they’re there as footnotes. (p.xi)
Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harry A. Silverglate (2009). Excellent forward by Alan Dershowitz
.This book was an interlibrary loan book, so I have to take it back without being able to quote much from it. It is well-written and readable if a bit intense and complex. He argues that the laws and other aspects of law, like the Code of Federal Regulations has grown so bloated and extensive that ordinary people break laws and rules and never even know it. Unless, of course, they have done something to draw the Feds attention to themselves, and then the full prosecutorial forces grab onto the most inconsequential detail and use it like a hammer on a nail to take down someone who never INTENTIONALLY broke the law. No one can completely know all of the laws the government has implemented these days, so ignorance of the law should actually be a reasonable defense. And he cites many many cases and circumstances that prove deliberate targeting and selective enforcement.
Protecting America’s Health: The FDA, Business and a 100 Years of Regulation by Philip J. Hilts (2003)
Wow! What an eyeopening book! Well written and full of very specific circumstances, like why a bad drug is allowed to keep being prescribed when EVERYONE knows it actually kills people and fails as an antibiotic as well. Highly recommend reading this book so that if enough people know about the evils of Big Pharma, maybe we can change things!
p. 130 – Blair [FTC chair] was not sure it [drugs] was a good topic.The economics of it were complex, the industry was new and no one had studied it, no good industry numbers were available, and the industry was riding a popular high because of the success of antibiotics. And, of course, the drug industry had enormous cash reserves, COULD RETALIATE FORCEFULLY and effectively if they did not like the bent of the hearings. But through the years, Till and others had been saving documents and accumulating data, because they knew the day of reckoning for the drug industry would come.
Blair was not convinced until one afternoon when he was looking at FTC reports on about two dozen different industries. Until that time, drug companies had been listed under the CHEMICAL industry. But now, someone at the FTC had broken them out separate.y, and IT STOOD OUT. The pharmaceutical industry was not only the biggest profit maker, but the levels of profits were DOUBLE the industry average, 19% of investment after taxes. Blair called Till [FTC economist serving with Blair] and together they looked at the numbers. “My God, just look at those profits!” he said to her. She allowed that she had never seen any numbers like it in her years as an economist. The decision to go ahead with the investigation of the drug business was taken that day.
The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality by Angus Deaton (2013)
This is a good book. Highly recommended to read. Full of details that are really informative but results in a lot of numbers and statistics. The following tidbits are in random order rather than sequentially by chapters.
POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES (P. 179+)
I have been puzzled a lot by how poverty is established because when I do the math, to pay for all the basics (rent, food, utilities, phone, Internet, medical insurance, drug insurance, co-pays and deductibles) it exceeds poverty by a lot. I don’t even remotely understand how any one can manage just the cost of tampons and diapers alone, much less clothing, especially for growing kids — the mind boggles. Prior to this section there was an informative but this part was a bit tedious on the GDP and how it is calculated. Informative true, but also depressing because he described how inadequate and somewhat spurious our economic system is based on the GDP.