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The Themes and Strategy of “Notes from the Social Clinic”

The world is obviously seriously ill. Huge numbers of people are suffering from material poverty, impoverished souls, or both. Economic instability and economic warfare threaten to cause global economic collapse and a World War III, potentially with nuclear holocaust. The forces that are destroying people and the environment have been increasingly exhibiting malignant characteristics.

Given the seriousness of the world’s present illness, perhaps we need a new vision, a new model for organizing citizens and societies (within nations and among nations), a kinder and more responsible economic model, a different way of thinking, even new words to express a better approach to life on this planet—words and phrases like Social Beauty1, Social Truth, Social Clinician, Social Clinic1, Social Health, Public Activity1, Public Economy, Economic Altruism, and Selfless Freedom2—gentle phrases that most people, tellingly, have never heard of.

It is possible to bring the world’s illness before the Social Clinic, where all of us, acting as Social Clinicians, can take a proper history, auscultate world civilization’s heart and lungs, palpate its underbelly, do further testing, rank plausible explanations for the illness, determine the most likely and most important root causes of the illness, propose treatment, and share “Notes from the Social Clinic.” (This is the time-honored problem-solving approach of good physicians.)

The major themes of this Social Clinician’s “Notes from the Social Clinic” are that:

  • Capitalism (particularly giant corporate global capitalism) is the root cause of much of the world’s most pressing problems. In fact, it has malignant characteristics.
  • The root problem with capitalism—the cause of its malignancy, its Achilles heel, and the cause of its vulnerability and eventual demise—is its excessively negative and incomplete understanding of Human Nature. The most effective way, therefore, to point out capitalism’s unsuitability as an economic model is to point out the weakness of its view of Human Nature and present a more positive and complete alternative view of Human Nature.
  • We should strongly consider replacing the capitalist economic model, globally, with a wiser, healthier, more up-lifting economic model.
  • A preferred, healthier model would be the Public Economy model, which has been practiced by academic pediatricians for decades, to the great benefit of children, at a bargain price for societies.
  • Many of the world’s problems, including current threats to the earth itself, could be reversed by developing a Collaborative Inclusive International Network of Unique, Creative, Diverse, Democratic, Self-determined and Self-reliant National3 Public Economies.
  • In a way, the idea is to create a global economy that resembles one giant Children’s Hospital—a global economy and culture that emulates the goals, spirit, and work ethic exemplified by Public Children’s Hospitals.

The purpose of the “Notes from the Social Clinic” is not just to explain what is wrong with the current global economic model (capitalism), but, more importantly, to propose and explain a healthy, up-lifting alternative economic model.

This Social Clinician’s recommendation is that each nation in the world democratically develop its own unique, creative Public Economy (modeled after the Academic Pediatrics Economic Model—i.e. Economic Altruism/Public Economy), and that all nations work together to develop a Collaborative International Network of Unique National Public Economies.    

The goal of the “Notes from the Social Clinic” is to help people, globally (but, particularly in the USA), to better understand what is wrong with capitalism (and the corporate and governmental understandings and policies associated with it) and why we should replace the capitalist economic model with a Public Economy model.  The economic model practiced by Academic Pediatricians is presented as an example of the spirit and practice of Public Economy.

The strategy of the “Notes” is to correct geo-political-economic mis-education and prejudice by using new, gentle, benign words and phrases that are accurate and largely free of negative connotations—words like Social Beauty, Social Clinic, Social Clinician, Social Truth, Public Activity, Public Economy, and Up-regulation/Down-regulation of Human Capacities.  After people better understand these words and concepts, they may be better prepared to consider peaceful democratic transition from a Capitalistic Economic Model to a Public Economy Model, including creation of a Collaborative International Network of Unique National Public Economies. This new Collaborative International Network could replace current global corporate capitalism (including global capitalism “with Chinese characteristics”) and the exploitative International Trade associated with it.



1The phrases Social Beauty, Social Clinic, and Public Activity appear to have been coined by Victor Hugo in his 1862 novel, Les Miserables. I have not seen these phrases used in any other literature, before Hugo, or since. So, we must credit and thank Victor Hugo for these phrases.

2Selfless Freedom is the freedom to enjoy the deep meaningfulness and spirit that is generated by widespread up-regulation of the expression of the best capacities of Human Nature—individually and collectively. By creating and protecting vast opportunities to practice altruism (via vast Public Activity), the Public Economy Model generates and protects Selfless Freedom. Selfless Freedom is to be distinguished from Selfish Freedom and an emphasis on Individual Liberty.

Selfish Freedom is the freedom to exploit other people and the environment for one’s own material gain. The Private Corporate Capitalist Economic Model seeks to create and protect opportunities for Selfish Freedom, which could also be called Corporate Freedom.

Individual Liberty is the freedom to behave in one’s own independent and individualistic way, with minimal (or no) interference from government or other institutions. Many libertarians, for example, are primarily concerned with protection of individual liberty, which they feel is often threatened by most forms of government.

3In this essay, the term “National” is intended to mean something very different from the words “nationalist,” “nationalistic,” or “nativist,” three words that, rightfully, have negative connotations—e.g. fascist connotations. In this essay, “National” simply refers to the reality that, currently, people live within specified geographic borders (called nations), and that “national” administrative planning applies to and serves all people living within a geographic area.