Democracy is one of the most important institutions in the history of humankind. Thanks to democracy, people who rule a group, a community or a state will act in the interest of the ‘most’ instead of their own interest or in the interest of the ’few:’ Democracy entrenches the will of the people. In a ‘real’ democratic state, all the people should be involved in making decisions about its affairs. According to the World Forum on Democracy, electoral democracies now represent 120 of the 192 existing countries and constitute 58.2 percent of the world's population. But are modern democracies ‘real democracies?’ It depends on many factors. First of all on how ‘common thought’ is produced (Education system), disseminated (Media industry), funded (who is behind the production and dissemination of thought) and on how parties are funded. According to Donnachadh McCarthy, ‘green’ Journalist and author of the book The Prostitute State, the production and dissemination of thought, as well as, the funding of parties in the United Kingdom (Although it’s a rule we find in many Western countries) are in the hands of a few super-rich people. Now politics acts in the interest of corporations rather than in that of the majority of the population. Moreover, the ‘decline of democracy’ now is favored by a progressive reduction of people turning up at the polls for election days. Donnachadh McCarthy says ‘We no longer live in a functioning democracy…We live in what I call The Prostitute State,’ a state where politicians are corrupted, media is ‘captured,’ academia is hijacked, and party fundraising is involved in a tax-haven system. The final results of such a ‘fake democracy’ is a deepening climate and environmental crisis (as the few want to keep their own business based on non-environmental-friendly practices) and the destruction of social justice (wealth and power is ever-more transferred to a small group of global corporate elites and billionaires).”
What exactly is a ‘Prostitute State?’ Why is it dangerous for us? What are its pillars? Are there any solutions to re-gain a more democratic system? Donnachadh McCarthy answered to these and other questions..
The growing human ecological footprint and the no longer undeniable Climate Change are pushing humankind to rethink its activities on Earth. With the increasing globalization, logistics is becoming an ever more important factor in the economic and social development of every country. However, logistics activities are also environmentally impacting and are characterized by some inefficiencies. Moving from a point-to-point transportation model to a more segmented one, and from a closed supply system to an open supply network are key factors to make logistics more sustainable (environmentally, economically and socially). Can Logistics become greener? How can we achieve smart logistics thanks to the help of new technologies? Can the Physical Internet make logistics more sustainable? Prof. Benoit Montreuil, founder and director of Georgia Tech’s Physical Internet Center and expert on sustainable logistics, answered to these and other questions.
The global health system should ensure care and treatment with ‘neutrality’ and ‘impartiality’ all over the world; people who need health assistance should get it whether they are poor or rich; increasing the overall levels of health around the world: that should be the end goal of a good and ethically-filled global health system. Too often, however, many people, especially in developing countries, don’t even get the most basic emergency medical services. Why? The lack of facilities, inadequate organizational models, lack of human and financial resources, a system ever more profit-oriented are some (not-exhaustive) of the factors. 'Doctors Without Borders' (MSF in Italian) was born in 1971 in order to respond to this deficiency. Since 1971 it has implemented an ‘enviable’ organizational system; its network stretches over nearly 70 countries worldwide, with about 30 thousand field-workers ready to give their support in the neediest countries. Neutrality, independence and impartiality are the principles that make the model of MSF unique in the health system landscape. So, what are the main features of M FS’ s organizational model? In which countries MSF is concentrating its efforts now? What are the main obstacles MSF meets when operating in under-developed countries? ‘Ebola:’ was the emergency well-addressed? Gabriele Eminente, General Director of MSF Italy, answered to these and other questions.
Over the course of the last decades the nature of the 'Health System' has strongly changed: from a system focused on 'patient care' to a ‘profit-oriented’ system. Now it is dominated by big pharmaceutical companies whose main objective is to make profits, often to the detriment of the health of citizens, as it has been proved by several publications and investigative programs. What are the causes of this change? What does the statement 'inventors of diseases’ mean? What kind of strategies do pharmaceutical companies use to make countries and citizens buy (often useless) drugs? What are the adverse effects of an abuse of medications? ‘Ebola:’ was the emergency well-addressed? Silvestro Montanaro, journalist, supervisor of the documentary ‘Inventori di Malattie*,’ aired in October 2013 as part of the RAI’s program 'C’era una volta*,' answered to these and other questions. * English Translations: Inventori di Malattie: Inventors of Diseases; C’era una volta: Once Upon a Time.
Over time, the pharmaceutical industry has become an ever more for-profit oriented business. Sales and profits are increasing year after year and the top management is engaged in achieving that goal each year. In other words the pharmaceutical industry is no different from any other business. It has gained so much influence over the medical community and over patients that it is seriously damaging the global health system. People are often prescribed medicines they don’t really need and, because of that, they suffer from unpleasant largely avoidable side effects; the release of vaccines and medicines follows a for-profit model instead of ensuring health and minimizing the number of deaths around the world; patients are too often induced to buy expansive branded medicines instead of cheaper generic or over-the-counter versions of the same drugs. What’s in the words ‘Big Pharma?’ What are the ultimate consequences of an excessively for-profit oriented pharmaceutical system? And how is the internet levelling out the health conversation? In 2004 was written the book Big Pharma, by Jacky Law. Is since then the scenario changed? According to Jacky Law, Yes! And there is room for further improvements in the relations between the pharmaceutical companies and patients. Jacky Law, author of ‘Big Pharma,’ answered to these and other questions.