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Saturday, 19 January 2013

Health of Nations

Is the world on the path of self-destruction? If so, what roles are humans playing in this demise?

During a recent business meeting, one of the commentators said this:

“After Noah and all in his ark survived the flood, God promised never to destroy the world with a flood. He, in fact, does not need to worry about destroying the world anymore because the world is already doing a good job with its self-destructive tendencies.”

What came to your mind when you read the title of this post - "Health of Nations"?  Did you think of the people, environmental, political, social, economic, mental, or moral health of your country? 

As part of ensuring the health of nations or societies, different governments enact laws and regulations. New regulations emerge as certain issues become apparent or as problems are anticipated. Since food protection is of universal interest, let’s take some examples dealing with food: The United States - Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the proposed Canadian - Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and similar initiatives worldwide, are supposedly designed to ensure public health. A reasonable expectation and the common observation is that law makers often address more than food-related health issues.

One might say that many public health concerns are addressed by the laws of the land. This goes with the recognition that governments enact laws that address the apparent symptoms of problems. Sadly, public health problems linger because the root-cause of health problems, let’s call this human tendency, is not sufficiently and adequately addressed.

Every professional problem solver would advise that addressing the symptoms of a problem, if at all necessary, should only be in the short term. The place to start in finding real and lasting solutions is to identify the root-cause of symptomatic problems. The obvious question therefore is this:  Is there a root-cause that could be identified for public health issues faced by nations?

Let us take a look at the list of possible aspects of a nation’s health again: the people, environmental, political, social, economic, mental and moral health. The questions get tougher. Which of these aspects is most likely to cause the derailment of the rest? A nation's poor moral health comes to mind immediately and, almost as immediately as this thought pops up, one realizes and acquiesces to the seemingly wise declaration of surrender: “No nation can enact laws that will force every citizen to consistently maintain good morals”. 

This declaration is wrong. The associated assumption is that every national or societal problem can only be solved by laws and regulations. Laws and regulations with the attending punitive measures do serve as deterrents and certain problems may be solved by laws and regulations. However, where the most likely cause of most societal ills – the poor moral health of the society - remains insufficiently and inadequately countered at its root, deterrent efforts are bound to fail repeatedly.  

In the absence of moral health improvements in any society, the prospect is obvious - a cyclic fretting of that society or nation remains as does the increasing burden of self-inflicted ill-health. 

Any nation that suffers from a poor state of moral health is indeed on the path of self-destruction, inevitably.

GCSE-Food & Health Protection proposes the kind of thinking that counters the seemingly wise declaration of surrender that "we cannot save the world". The national or societal health problem may not become completely solved but it can be solved beyond any boastful accomplishment of any nation. National governments must, in addition to the deterrence of laws and regulations, adopt strategies to address the most likely root-cause of failure in maintaining reasonable good health in all of the listed aspects for the benefit of all citizens. 

A total absence of unscrupulous members in a society cannot be guaranteed. Nevertheless, a self-motivated and sustained willingness to behave in a socially responsible manner can most successfully be driven through moral enlightenment than through the enforcement of deterrent laws.

Come and join the over 4000 and growing number of people worldwide who have decided to think differently and work against the self-destructive tendencies of selfish and greedy existence. 

o find out more about how you can take part, you may visit this General Invitation and Information Page

Posted by By Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection. He is also the Director of Technical Services at Amiri Food Industry Support Services (AFISS) and the Canada representative of the World Food Safety Organisation.

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