I saw two things this morning that caused me to think that we need to go one level deeper and ask the next question.
First there was an article on Michael Jackson's death entitled "Drug Propofol eyed in Michael Jackson's death investigation: Rx for trouble." In the article, the author cites a study in which it was determined that at least six medical residents died as the result of overdosing on the drug Propofol. Let's take it the next step and ask: Why did all these doctors feel compelled to take something to decompress? Why -- other than the addiction -- did Michael Jackson feel compelled to take something?
Secondly, I watched an Msnbc clip with a panel that included Eliot Spitzer, Bill Fleckenstein, and Robert Shiller. All seemed to agree that capitalism without regulation is not the answer. Except for the most ideological among us, we can agree on this. However, to say that capitalism with regulation is the answer is to ignore that for much of our history, that has been the default option. And it hasn't made us any wiser. Wisdom is what we need. The current system -- with or without regulation -- forces us to be hustlers or forces us to go through some sort of bizarre initiation as in the case of the medical residency doctors mentioned above.
Yesterday, I had an experience that always causes me to ask the next question: Why can't we trust auto dealerships to tell us what is wrong with our cars? They are part of a system that forces them to keep people employed repairing vehicles. They are part of a system that is credit/payment based and forces all involved to worry about making the next payment. What if we had a system where those who knew how to repair cars could do something else when all the vehicles were running well?
We can't trust our doctors to suggest alternatives to pharmaceuticals. Why is this? We have a system in which many of the participants are obese. Why is this? Take it one level deeper. Ask the next question. Why are so many young women carrying the type of spare tire around their middle that used to appear only on middle-aged men who didn't exercise and drank copious quantities of beer? (I'm tempted to label this post "Copious Quantities of Beer" as the response rate would be much higher.)
We never seem to go one level deeper. We never seem to ask the next question.
All it takes is for one well-positioned, philanthropic person -- say Bill Gates...or Bill Fleckenstein -- to ask the next question. Is there a better way of organizing life and work than what currently exists? Is there a better way to be philanthropic? I think the answer is a resounding yes.
For the sake of creating a healthy society, let's go one level deeper (or higher) and ask the next question.