TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Avarice is the cancer of the human super-organism

First let me clarify that by human super-organism, I mean villages, towns and cities. I don't mean an abstract global mass of humans.

It's striking to ponder the parallels between cancer and avarice.

Cancer creates tumours through a system of unregulated growth.
Avarice creates societal tumours through the same system.

Tumours grow at the expense of the surrounding healthy cells.
Large economic enterprises grow at the expense of small, healthy, locally constrained economic enterprise.

Cancer spreads around the body via cells that have broken off from the tumour.
Societal cancer spread around the globe through localized branches.

The aim of cancer is solely to grow tumours…the bigger the better, without regard for the health of the organism that it depends on.
The aim of corporations is to grow financial tumours…the bigger the better, without regard for health of the society and environment that they depend on.

From the perspective of a cancer cell situated within a large tumour, his world appears rich with like minded cells.
From the perspective of an executive situated within a large wealthy business, his world appears rich with like minded executives.

There is a rubicon at which the death of an organism by cancer is certain.
There is a rubicon at which the death of a society by avarice is certain.

thedotchannel.com
"amassing the leukocytes of the human super-organism"

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Sep 5 2012: You might find a couple of facts about cancer (medical condition) interesting, and quite unsettling, when translated into the social context you propose.

    - Tumors owe their presence not only to the internal (intracellular) characteristics, but to the surrounding matrix.

    - From an evolutionary perspective, there is a dreading paradox when it comes to cancer cells. Cancer cells are actually, in developmental terms, superior to normal cells. This is mostly due to the vastly higher survivability rate, through mass cell division.

    -Additionally, there is an local "struggle" between older and newer breeds of cancer cells, creating even more resistant strains.

    -Treatment of cancer is a process that often harms the entire organism.
    • Sep 5 2012: Excellent comments Stevan
      Perhaps a cure for the medical condition may come from modelling it after the cure for social cancer. That is to say, rather than waging violent warfare on the cancer cells, convince the healthy cells not to buy into the unregulated growth system and be content to remain healthy contributors to the overall organism.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.