Chewing a gum

Chewing a gum

I don’t smoke. During the years, I have also developed a distaste for marihuana. Therefore, I don’t quite like walking on the street of SF, Ecotopia. Back in my room, I still feel infected with smoke, and would like to chew a lemon flavor gum. Damn, they don’t have gum here. Maybe some flavored soda? Well, no soda as well. They said soda is not healthy, and increase the possibility of diseases, which will increase the whole social cost on health care facilities. But, damn, they smoke.

All evidence and their own prevailing social norm suggests this is a hedonistic society, despite its label of sustainability. All people care about is how much pleasure you can get from whatever you do. As Weston’s columns reveal, this norm makes them unbearably inefficient. They argue, however, they only need efficiency to a certain degree, so that their productivity just keeps their current stable-state. They seem to have managed to keep it, after another twenty years since weston’s visit. At the same time, their population has dropped another 10 percent since then. So, they still don’t need to be worried about efficiency.

But what about the situations where efficiency is needed as much as possible? For this question, I visited one of the community clinic (actually for my sore throat). For one thing, I’m surprised to find that alternative medicine is widely practiced as ordinary treatment, like acupuncture. Although medical scientists and biologists were commissioned to research on these alternative medicine and no unequivocal evidence of effectiveness was found, these practices were still taught as options of treatment in medical school and practiced widely in clinics. It is not clear how these alternative medicine work in reality. After all, they are generally used to treat minor symptoms. I have heard that since most doctors take all-round medicine trainings, theoretical material has been reduced a lot to accommodate all-round practical treatment trainings.

More importantly, people here take placebo effects as real effects. That is how their philosophy of world like. In fact, diseases are not generally thought as something categorically bad. After all, disease are natural, and fighting against diseases is a life process that can be enjoyable. A clinic is lauded for its caring and positive atmosphere, and all that matters is not how long you stay in the clinic, but how well you feel in the clinic.

The doctor who diagnosed my sore throat is very responsible. She did some general examination, asked about my recent activities, and took careful notes, on papers — the ecotopia has decided not to allow personal computers and web on the grounds that these new technology requires too much extra energy and resources and construction of cables, which endangers the precious stable-state they have achieved. However, she was not able to identify my problem, and therefore she recommended some general treatment options for my throat. He also recommended some general use Chinese medicine, which I expected — Chinese medicine is far more popular than our traditional medicine for their naturalness.

I happened to read on the SF Times when I first came here that the Ecotopia health department’s head issued a alert about the potential shortage of doctors and nurses. He said the the health system is still working, but several changes over the last decades are showing their effects. For one thing, the medical occupation is one of the most Un-ecotopian job. It is one of the job which does not follow the 20 hour per week rule. The work ethic of the medical system is necessarily the opposite of the general ecotopian work ethic. After a prolongated debate, doctors still have to serve on different shifts and have vacations on a half year work, half year off basis. Like doctors in our country, doctors here experience a lot of stress, although they enjoy better relations with the patients and the patients’ relatives. Therefore, this work requires a lot that ordinary ecotopian can’t take. At first, students still go to medical school for the dream of saving life and helping people, for the honor and the great sense of fulfillment of the work. After forty years, the importance of living like an ecotopian, the hedonistic ethic, has become even more profound. Furthermore, the widespread preventive care confounds the problem. Since the Ecotopian health system had stipulated a great emphasis on preventive care, the need for disease treatment declined a lot. However, it seems that the effect of preventive care has reached to a maximum point years ago, and the decline of the need for disease treatment stopped recently.

The ecotopian argue for themselves that they do not have prejudice to the job and they love their doctors. But I’ve heard that doctors have the highest divorce rates. I also hear people categorizing doctors with scientists, both with the stereotypical image of professional and detached from the paramount life.

The government is going to raise some new policies to address this problem. However, since they have canceled sociology in universities, sociological researches and literature on the medical system seem meager. They have set a temporary task force and collected scholars and journalists to investigate and propose policies. Who knows when will they work that out. They cannot solve the problem by simply setting some incentives for the job, since the ecotopian has nurtured themselves to such creature who could not care less about money and public opinion.

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