How lucky do you feel to be born in the United States? We have many freedoms, multiple opportunities, access to health care, and food availability. But it is not like this everywhere, others are not so fortunate. Sometimes, these “less lucky” people are exploited at the expense of powerful or influential people or organizations.
To educate the general public, we can look at Paul Farmer’s explanation of structural violence. Paul describes how structural violence leads to more outbreaks of infectious diseases in poorer nations. Farmer states “they are structural because they are embedded in the political and economic organization of our social world; they are violent because they cause injury to people” (Gabriel, 2016). When he says they, Farmer is talking about the actions taken by influential or powerful organizations or people. So our evolution overtime has in a way invented what structural violence is. Countries that are still developing are more susceptible to disease because as countries have over the last few hundred years, they tend to worry about domestic issues more than international issues. It blows my mind that people use borders drawn on a map as a defining area of where we are from. In reality we all call Earth our home and any issue on this planet should be considered a domestic issue. We are one race, the human race, and it is in our nature to help each other. If you disagree with the previous statement you may need to reevaluate your personal values.
Diseases that are nearly nonexistent in America, are prevalent and continue to wreak havoc in other nations. We have medicines for these drugs but the distribution of these medications has become such a business, that it has become about the profit, not the health of the humans in need. Where do we start with such a massively deep complex problem? Well, it starts with the individual. If a large group of like-minded people get together, then little by little we begin to see change. We can make structural violence a thing of the past (and we should strive to do this). We can hope for a world when business ideas, specifically in relation to medicine, are not centered around a profit. When decisions are made by people who are not cynical, we would see a drastic change in medicine around the world. For now, a profit is more important to some than the overall health of us, as a human population. I emphasize us because we should strive to eliminate disease from all people of the world, in order to evolve together and achieve optimal longevity of the human race.
Paul Farmer once said, “Look, I’m very proud to be an American. I have many opportunities because I’m American. I can travel freely throughout the world, I can start projects, but that’s called privilege, not democracy” (Kidder, 2003). We have the opportunity to use the privileges to help others. Paul Farmer is a wonderful example of someone who used his “luck” of being born in America to help those who may not have been so fortunate. What will you do with your opportunity?
Kidder, Tracy. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World. Random House, 2003.