Throwing Out The Baby Not The Banker

Earlier this month, the Court Of Appeal ruled that doctors who had withdrawn medical treatment from a baby known only as OT had acted in the child’s best interest. Allowing a baby to die is in its best interest? Here are a couple of quotes from a BBC correspondent and the child’s parents:

“He has a rare metabolic disorder and has suffered brain damage and major respiratory failure.”

“...the doctors...think his life is intolerable and that his disability is such that his life has little purpose; but we, along with some of the nurses, believed that he experiences pleasure and that he has long periods where he was relaxed and pain free.”

The boy was nine months old, and the best prognosis appears to have been that he would have survived at most until the age of five, instead of a week after the ruling. Not being au fait with all the facts I will say this complex medico-legal decision did not amount to manslaughter - or worse - and may have been the right one, but an entirely different factor was raised by another BBC correspondent shortly after the ruling, one that should never play a part in any decision to withdraw medical treatment from a seriously ill baby. That factor was of course expense.

On the BBC’s Breakfast programme, its regular medical commentator Dr Rosemary Leonard pointed out - correctly - that there is a limited supply of specialist care for seriously ill babies, and suggested that this would have played a part in the doctors’ decision, and very likely in the Court’s decision to side with them. The inference was, in other words, that there might well be another baby who was more deserving of such treatment, ie that had a better chance of being saved, and that the choice was saving a baby that was certain to die shortly anyway, or saving one that would have had both a better quality of life and lived longer.

Dr Leonard is of course correct in her reasoning, but where she is not correct is in her perception of the extent - or lack thereof - of specialist medical resources. Fifty years ago she would almost certainly have been correct on both counts, because such a profoundly disabled baby would probably not have survived even that long, but that would have been due solely to the limitations of then contemporary medical knowledge. Along with all or most other fields of medicine, paediatrics has advanced considerably since then, and so has the wherewithal to fund it. Or has it?

Shortly before the case of baby OT, one of the cases to dominate the national news in Britain was that of Sir Fred Goodwin, whose reward for bringing a multi-billion pound banking operation to its knees was a massive pension payout, what seemed to most ordinary working people struggling with their mortgages to be an obscenity. So how can the country afford to pay an incompetent banker a pension worth millions at the age of fifty and yet not fund an incubator or whatever for one more seriously ill baby? The answer is it can, but it won’t. To answer this question in a bit more detail, let us turn to Professor Quigley.

Carroll Quigley (1910-77) was a Harvard-educated academic who is best known for his magnum opus - much cited by conspiracy theorists - TRAGEDY AND HOPE: A History of THE WORLD in Our Time.

The reason for this interest is a personal revelation in one small passage of this massive tome, but most of the book does not concern the machinations of secret societies, although the good professor does devote some space to the dubious practices of bankers. All the following quotes are taken from the Second Printing, which was published by Angriff Press of Los Angeles in 1974.

We can ignore Quigley where he clearly does not know what he is talking about, thus at page 499 he says of 19th Century Britain “Savings were so plentiful that the surplus had to be exported, and interest rates fell steadily.” And his earlier claims, at page 44 that “money is a debt. If goods are wealth; money is not-wealth, or negative wealth, or even anti-wealth”. Money is, largely, though need not be a debt, but what, pray tell, is anti-wealth? When he talks of war though, he is spot on.

At page 316, he says “Wars, as events have proved since, are not fought with gold or even with money, but by the proper organization of real resources...The outbreak of war on August 4, 1914, found the British banking system insolvent in the sense that its funds, created by the banking system for profit and rented out to the economic system to permit it to operate...could not be liquidated rapidly. Accordingly, the bankers secretly devised a scheme by which their obligations could be met by fiat money...but, as soon as that crisis was over, they then insisted that the government must pay for the war without recourse to fiat money...but by taxation and by borrowing at high interest rates from bankers.”

The significance of this admission - for that is what it is - is truly amazing. What Professor Quigley is saying is that as long as there were human resources, the war - any war - could be prosecuted; the Great War - as it then was - lasted four years, but it could have lasted ten years or even longer provided human (and other) resources could be mobilised. But then what? Then the people have to pay for the war, but wait, once the war is over, it has been paid for in full, in blood.

But that will not suit the bankers, the credit, which they create freely out of nothing, has to be redeemed by taxation. Or else what?

If the reader still does not see where I am coming from, I will spell it out. Anything that is both physically possible and desirable can be financially possible. Wars are certainly not desirable, but an extra incubator and trained nursing staff for one more sick baby definitely are.

As I write these words the Home Secretary is at the centre of yet another government mini-scandal about freeloading politicians. Her husband rented/hired/purchased or whatever a couple of blue films and put this on her official tab. This came to the princely sum of ten pounds. Yes, a tenner. Yet in recent months, banks on both sides of the Atlantic have been funded to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars and pounds, money which our governments don’t have because it doesn’t actually exist; this money will be recouped from taxation, the propaganda being that unless the banks are bailed out life as we know it will end. Please sir, I’ve lost eight hundred billion dollars, can I have another eight hundred billion and I promise not to lose it this time, and by the way, I will still charge you interest on this created credit in perpetuity. How crazy is that?

March 30, 2009

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