Enlightened Economics

Economics for an Enlightened Age

Posts Tagged ‘transcendental meditation’

• U.S. Health Care: Resolving the Quagmire

Posted by Ron Robins on January 9, 2014

The following excerpts are from chapter one of a book in progress by Ron Robins, tentatively titled, Resolving America’s Economic Quagmire… individuals gaining inner fulfillment is the key*

————————————————————————————————————

“These [Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid] and other projected expenditures… have produced, not a fiscal cliff, but a fiscal abyss.”

Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Boston University.

Overview (Excerpt)
“Professor Kotlikoff calculates this fiscal abyss of the U.S. Federal Government as an astounding unfunded liability of $205 trillion. It equals a current debt of about $665,000 for every living American adult and child. And most of this sum pertains to health care. The health care costs quagmire poses a financial deathblow to the U.S. economy and its citizens. To avert this calamity, America’s health care system will be revamped.

Notwithstanding Obamacare, one way will be to re-organize the health care system according to well-studied methodologies that show huge potential cost savings. While another way—garnering increasing attention—is by utilizing scientifically validated disease prevention interventions such as the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program. Also, many political leaders, economists and others, believe there will need to be substantial reductions in health care benefits as well.

Interestingly, by deploying the known methodologies and interventions inferred to above and written about below, it might not be necessary to reduce benefits yet still be able to cut health care costs a stunning 50-80 per cent!”

Major health care cost drivers. Reducing their cost through health system reform and introduction of the Transcendental Meditation disease prevention program (Excerpt)
“The major health care cost drivers are:

  • The increasing incidence of chronic disease in an aging population
  • Relatively fewer workers to pay for increasing costs
  • Exceptionally high professional fees relative to other developed countries
  • Huge oversupply of services, equipment
  • Administration costs and fraud 

Now we look at these issues one by one, and where appropriate, determine the role that individual TM practice can play in reducing their costs.”

The increasing incidence of chronic disease in an aging population (Excerpt)
“Over half of Americans have chronic diseases. Yet, despite significant improvements in treatments for chronic diseases, their incidence and related financial costs continue rising dramatically.

Actual costs of  America’s seven most common chronic diseases—cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions and mental disorders—have been estimated at $1.3 trillion annually by Ross DeVol and colleagues, or about 10 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Their unique and original study quantified almost all related costs to employers, governments, and to the U.S economy. They say those costs could reach $4.2 trillion by 2023.

Numerous researchers cite the growing incidence of chronic disease as mostly due to aging. However, many in the medical field also believe that more important than aging are the unhealthy lifestyles, diets, and behaviors of most Americans. And this is another area where the TM practice can be highly beneficial. Aside from its well-documented physical health benefits, TM creates an ‘inner fulfillment and self-sufficiency’ that alleviates the desire for the kind of instant gratification (with bad lifestyles, diets, etc.) that cause much chronic disease.

The first major study demonstrating the effectiveness of the TM practice in reducing chronic disease (and overall illness) was by Dr. David Orme-Johnson in 1987. Using Blue Cross/Blue Shield data, Dr. Johnson found an average 50% reduction in medical utilization in all 16 major disease categories studied among subjects practicing TM as compared to matched controls.

As the elderly are responsible disproportionately for health care costs, some researchers suggest they be particularly encouraged to practice TM. One leading researcher on health care costs, Dr. Robert Herron, wrote about this in the Huffington Post on July 13, 2012. Dr. Herron remarked–on a study he did–that, ‘In the Medicare population… the highest spending 25 percent of seniors accounted for 85 percent of total expenses’ and that there was ‘a 28 percent reduction in doctors’ bills over five years from baseline for persistent high-cost people who practiced the TM technique.’”

Relatively fewer workers to pay for increasing health care costs (Excerpt)
“Between 2012 to 2050 the United Nations predicts the U.S. labor force having far fewer workers (aged 15 to 64 years) for every American over 65 years—down from 5 to 3 workers over that period.”

Exceptionally high professional fees compared to other developed countries (Excerpt)
“The following data is extracted from the International Federation of Health Plans 2012 Comparative Price Report, a 100-member group of companies in 30 countries which includes a huge group of international health providers.”

2012: Medical service provided

USA Average

Canada

Netherlands

France

US$

US$

US$

US$

Scanning & Imaging CT Scan, Abdomen

     630

    124

      267

      183

MRI

  1,121

      –

      319

      363

Hospital Charges Per Day

  4,287

      –

      731

      853

Total Hospital & Physician Charges Coronary Artery Bypass

73,420

      –

 14,061

  22,844

Physician Fees Routine Office Visit

      95

      30

       –

        30

Normal Delivery

  3,096

    536

      292

      583

Huge oversupply of services, equipment (Excerpt)
“After reviewing the book, Tracking Medicine by John E. Wennberg, Arnold Relman on September 30, 2010, wrote, ‘[Wennberg] provides convincing evidence that oversupply of services throughout the U.S. adds greatly to the cost of care.’

Mr. Relman adds, ‘Wennberg [says] that since the medical care in the low-expenditure areas is not discernibly different in quality from that in the high-expenditure areas, a huge amount of money could be saved if all the country were to receive care the way it is provided in the low-expenditure areas. Wennberg estimates the savings would be about 30 to 40 percent.’”

Administration costs and fraud (Excerpt)
“American health care administrative costs (at roughly 7 per cent of all health care costs) are roughly double those of other developed countries, says Mark Pearson, Head, Health Division, of the OECD.  And the Federal Bureau of Investigation calculates that fraud costs the health care system about $80 billion annually—or about 3 per cent of all health care expenditures.”

Conclusion (Excerpt)
“Resolving the health care financial quagmire and avoiding its potential financial deathblow requires unparalleled changes to the health care system and Americans’ attitudes about their health and health care. It requires reforming the health care system by implementing known cost-effective modalities. It means introducing scientifically validated cost-saving disease prevention programs such as the TM technique that create an inner fulfillment and self-sufficiency that engenders improved personal psychology, healthier lifestyles, diets, and so forth.

Implementing these recommendations could cut U.S. health care costs by 50-80 per cent and improve health outcomes—all without reducing benefits!”

References
DeVol, R. at al. (2007). An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease—Charting a New Course to Save Lives and Increase Productivity and Economic Growth, Milken Institute.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. Rooting out health care fraud is central to the well-being of both our citizens and the overall economy.
Herron, R. E. (2011). Changes in physician costs among high-cost transcendental mediation practitioners compared with high-cost non practitioners over 5 years,  American Journal of Health Promotion, 26(1), 56-60.
International Federation of Health Plans. (2012). Comparative Price Report, Variation in Medical and Hospital Prices by Country, United Kingdom.
Kotlikoff, L. J. (2012). The Hysterical Economy, VOX, December 16, 2012.
Kotlikoff, L. J. (2013). America in Worse Fiscal Shape than Detroit–Professor Laurence Kotlikoff, video interview with host Greg Hunter, USA Watchdog, December 4.
Orme-Johnson, D. (1987). Medical care utilization and the Transcendental Meditation program, Psychosomatic Medicine, 49(1), 493–507.
Pearson, M. (2009). Disparities in health expenditure across OECD countries: Why does the United States spend so much more than other countries? Written statement to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, September 30, P.7.
Relman, A. (2010). Health Care: The Disquieting Truth, The New York Review of Books, September 30.
United Nations. (2012). Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, Population Ageing and Development.
Wennberg, J. E. (2010). Tracking Medicine: A Researcher’s Quest to Understand Health Care, Oxford University Press, first edition.

————————————————————————————————————

* In his prospective book, Resolving America’s Economic Quagmire… individuals gaining inner fulfillment is the key, Mr. Robins elucidates America’s hidden structural economic and social fault lines, their costs, and the economic benefits when resolved in the viable manner he prescribes. Furthermore, he determines that unresolved, these fault lines are a deathblow to America’s well-being.

Mr. Robins believes this financial deathblow might only be stopped by a fundamental shift in individual and collective consciousness: from that centered on seeking instant gratification and fulfillment outside of ourselves, to one focused on ‘internal fulfillment and mental balance.’ Mr. Robins argues that to create this change, the scientific literature suggests the Transcendental Meditation program could be an optimal solution.

Each chapter of his book examines an area of society—health, environment, family, crime, and so forth—in the light of known cost-effective modalities to improve conditions applicable to that area, as well as the associated merits of the TM program. Where possible, the dollar cost savings are shown in relation to their share of gross domestic product (GDP). Mr. Robins estimates his proposals may produce overall savings to GDP of over 40 per cent.

These cost savings will allow for the deployment of unparalleled new economic resources to greatly enhance Americans’ economic and social well-being.

© Ron Robins 2013

 

Advertisements

Posted in Consciousness/Psychology, Economics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

• The Missing Ingredient In Economics — Consciousness!

Posted by Ron Robins on December 3, 2007

Revised January 13, 2008

Lost to modern economics: Consciousness governs human economic behaviour. Enlightened Economics brings consciousness back.
Modern economics seems to have forgotten the obvious. The quality and actions of our individual and collective consciousness governs economic behaviour. For example, in the US it has become fashionable to believe that accumulating debt does not matter. That is fine until the bills mount, become unpaid, and causes debt defaults which then precipitate an economic crisis! Thus, the quality of our consciousness and thinking process profoundly impacts economics. Yet there is no discussion of this in economics today.

A new economics that accounts for changes in the quality and development of our individual and collective consciousness is needed. I call this new economics, Enlightened Economics! Here I examine what consciousness is, its underpinning in natural law, and how it functions. I emphasize that consciousness in its fulfilled, developed state, will bring the ‘dismal science’ of economics to an evolved and higher level — to the status of Enlightened Economics.

What is consciousness?
Human consciousness is defined in many ways. I find it preferable to understand it in an Indian Vedic, or Jungian, sense. That is, at its basis it is interconnected to everything else, is supremely intelligent, and infinitely dimensioned. In physics, it is represented as the ultimate field of super-unification in unified field theories. In Vedic terms, it is spoken of ‘Brahm’ or totality, the ultimate universal entity, and embodied as ‘atma’ in the individual.

For if our very own consciousness is at the basis of everything, it then also possesses the ability to be ‘all-knowing.’ From a ‘markets sense’ this infers the theoretical ability to be knowledgeable about all things at all times. Not that one is cognizant of all things simultaneously, but one has the ability to act from that level of all knowledge in a way that proves spontaneously in accord with the fundamental laws of nature. In this way, individuals with a developed consciousness think and act in accordance with natural law.

Consciousness, the basis of evolution
Nature is forever changing and evolving. However, when one looks back over millennia, for many of us it seems as if there is pattern, an underlying intelligence governing change and the evolution of the entire universe. For instance, the human embryo grows into a baby. It does not grow into an elephant! Natural laws exist governing the evolution of all life.

Consciousness the governor of individual activity
For individuals to fully engage this level of nature’s functioning requires transcending the surface levels of thought and mental functioning. Arriving at that source of thought, the fountainhead of consciousness, is the unified field of natural law. Here the individual experiences peace, silence and bliss. (Personally, I have found Transcendental Meditation to be the most effortless, practical and effective scientific technique to accomplish this. On a collective level, extraordinary research shows that it only takes a few individuals rising in higher consciousness to effect positive changes in collective consciousness. Another research project, among many, demonstrating the existence of a collective consciousness is based at Princeton University, and called the Global Consciousness Research Project.)

The quality of our consciousness governs what we buy as well as our ability to fulfill desires
I believe human evolution is all about the development of our consciousness and its alignment with natural law. And that this is where humanity is heading. Our desires, wants, actions and purchases will be reflective of what nature ‘itself” (us) wants and increasingly reflective of the higher aspirations of a more integrated collective consciousness. Since humans everywhere want very similar things – prosperity, happiness, health, safety, and higher consciousness – it will mean that as human consciousness evolves our needs will be more refined.

The goods and services purchased by people with stressed-out, unfulfilled minds – and likely the largest consumers of tobacco, gambling products, etc. – will be be very different from individuals who enjoy higher consciousness and fulfilled minds. As an example, the latter may well be greater consumers of ‘green’ products, educational services, etc. In addition, a fully-developed mind will have the ability, creativity, and capacity to much more easily fulfill desires.

Unevolved consciousness and its headlong pursuit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), debt, and other sins
The maddening preoccupation with GDP today is typical of the stressed, unfulfilled, unenlightened mind. Without the experience of the profundity of the peace and bliss that characterizes the enlightened mind, individuals believe their desires and happiness can only be fulfilled in the material world. For such individuals, they are as if lost in a fog containing fleeting worldly pleasures. Driven like a drug addict they borrow (as mentioned earlier) far beyond their means to keep spending. Last year (2007), according to Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley, consumption in the US was at an all time high of 72% of GDP. This is significantly beyond the range of other developed countries. It leaves a legacy of extraordinarily bloated trade and current account deficits and total credit market debt of over 350% of GDP.

There has never been a time in US history, nor in any modern developed country, where debt has grown to such a staggering proportion of its economy. The vast majority of Americans are unable to appreciate the formidable challenge this poses to its economic viability. (And, unfortunately, the prescription being advanced by economic elites and most of the American presidential hopefuls to heal this wound in US society is – more spending and debt!)

Consciousness is the missing ingredient to advancing economic understanding
No, the only way out for Americans to avoid an extraordinary economic decline in the years ahead is for them to experience that field of inner peace and intelligence within their own consciousness. It will create greater balance and creativity in their minds and eliminate their ‘drug dependent’ like attachment to the fog of only desiring material wants.

Thus the missing ingredient — the introduction of the role of consciousness (and the knowledge of natural law) — is what will bring fulfillment to economics, both in America and around the world. Enlightened Economics and its incorporation of consciousness will bring a new light to the dismal science.

———————————————————————

Copyright & Permissions. Provided full credit, which includes title, author’s name, and link to this post is given, anyone may print or re-produce this article in part, or in full, to any relevant web page.

Posted in Consciousness/Psychology, Economics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: