By Mark Lundegren
HumanaNatura encourages communities to dedicate themselves, in principle and practice, to a new modern goal of progressive health and quality of life for all. While a community mission or focus of this kind may have seemed unrealistic or unattainable in earlier times, today it has become within the reach of most communities in the developed world and many in the developing world as well. This essential change in our human condition is a result of advancing health-related science, industrial technology and affluence, higher educational levels, and democratic political systems.
To implement health-centered action within a community in this way, we recommend that political leaders and health advocates use a repeating multi-step process that has three key features: 1) ongoing development and implementation of a community health agenda, 2) pragmatic and increasing action on more than 100 HumanaNatura community health factors, and 3) ensuring three bedrock social conditions that naturally foster human health and well-being advancement – high social transparency, reciprocity, and equality.
While the community benefits of social transparency and reciprocity are fairly well-appreciated and intuitive to most of us in modern political and commercial life, the need for relatively high social equality is often a more exotic idea and today remains difficult for some of us to accept as a community health foundation. This is in part because of culture and socialization, including our mistaken equating of free markets with free societies, and in part because, instinctively, we naturally wish to be more rather than less advantaged and secure relative to others or our environment generally.
Considerable science now shows, however, that high social, political, and material equality are both the conditions in which humans naturally evolved and those that naturally and powerfully work to bring out the best in us as advanced social animals – specifically producing or incentivizing high levels of socially-valuable cooperation, learning, and creativity. This growing body of research shows, in other words, that human social equality is closely linked to individual and collective health and naturally adaptive life in humans.
The New Economics Foundation recently published a thoughtful summary of important ideas and research related to the science of economic equality (which, in practical terms, is required for meaningful and sustainable social and political equality). Its Ten Reasons To Care About Economic Inequality makes the basic science-based case for curbing excessive inequality within and between human communities and includes extensive cites of available studies. If you are interested in this growing body of research, another excellent summary is available via Wikipedia at Economic Inequality.
Learn more about HumanaNatura’s health-promoting focus on community transparency, reciprocity, equality in the Natural Living section of our Personal Health Program, via our comprehensive Community Health Program, or through our popular articles, Equality And Our Health and Wealth And Well-Being.
Photo courtesy of San Bushmen.
Mark Lundegren is the founder of HumanaNatura.
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