It’s time for
a new system
Editor of the Reformer:
When every last person clearly understands that all money is merely an accounting system, then we can begin to analyze the accounting system we use for improvements. I would argue that if all the productivity people could do becomes reward-worthy, using a fairer and public accounting system, there’d be benefits everywhere. We’d see a flourishing of creativity in the most uplifting way, by using a new system that rewards productivity and creativity. Items we’d seek would be made with care and perfection, without this overwhelming stress of demanding mass production. Service rendered with less rush, delivered with more care and patience would benefit us all. A new public system of money accounting is the real door to individual freedom. Its the one true path to bring forth a saner way of life, less threatened environment, better food, health and an uplifted honorable collective attitude.
Let’s look at what we have now, for we have a certain accounting system we call money, which we are by law to use. Our accounting system is managed by and for private individuals who long ago and to the present day, pay lawmakers that see to it we all must participate in this poorly designed accounting system to be "legal." Taxation chains us to it, and interest makes us compete within it, while thugs enforce it.
It’s our fault we have all gone along to get along, ignorant of the simple remedy. We’ve treasured what happiness is left over after being forced to use a private money accounting system that is not in our personal or public best interest. We allow dehumanizing labels developed by politicians to describe us; consumers, taxpayers, criminals, illegal immigrants, working class.
But today things are different, we have too much to lose. We will not and cannot continue supporting a money accounting system that is hellbent on destruction. One that instigates war, crime, and violation of our beautiful planet. I say Vermont needs a new money accounting system developed to make certain that wherever a Vermonter is productive and whenever a Vermonter provides a service, that they will be rewarded. A public system wherein more exchanges will be happening, encouraged, not discouraged, limited or prevented altogether by the present money accounting system inclusive of it’s convoluted, contorted taxation and interest demands. Most of us have learned how loving relationships with others is the most profound form of wealth in truth. I would continue to keep one foot in the private monetary accounting system, but now take Vermont’s best foot forward towards something wiser.
Putney, July 12
Consider scientific research ...
Editor of the Reformer:
I want to applaud Richard Davis for is column on scientific studies in the media. It is all to often that the media gives sensationalized or incomplete descriptions of studies, and this is unfair to both the public and the scientific community.
Unfortunately while illustrating his point, Mr. Davis went to the opposite extreme: criticizing the study based on incomplete or inaccurate information. The study (titled "Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial.") was a study nested inside another study. The researchers used framework of the SELECT trial (which was looking at the effects of selenium and vitamin E on prostate cancer) to collect their own data; they were not basing their conclusions on a different study as Mr. Davis claims.
The study design was fairly simple, the researchers took patients in sub cohort (i.e. a smaller representative group of patients) who developed prostate cancer and compared their blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids to patients who did not develop cancer. The researchers were careful to try and match the two groups so they were comparing similar people: comparing samples from one 30 year-old white male to another and not to a 70 year-old African American male. They also examined other factors beyond age and race, including family history, education, BMI, diabetes risk, and smoking.
Yes, there were areas of the study that could have been improved, but it wasn’t designed to be a definitive study with the same impact as the gold standard double blind placebo controlled study. It does suggest an association (not causation) between high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and prostate cancer risk, and it confirms the results of two previous studies saying the same thing (Brasky et al (2011), and Park et al (2009)). However, it should be noted another study showed the opposite effect, with higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids associated with lower prostate cancer risk (Chavarro et al (2007)).
So taking a step back and evaluating all the evidence, we see that high doses of omega-3 fatty acids might (the emphasis is very important) increase prostate cancer risks in some populations. But the only way we’ll get a definitive answer is with more research.
So what’s the take home? Should I keep on taking omega-3 supplements? Should I avoid all fish? Does this mean I can’t trust anything the media reports about scientific studies? Well I can’t answer the questions on omega-3 supplement or fish -- that’s something everyone should carefully evaluate with their health care provider. And regarding science in the media -- there is something to be said for improving how scientists communicate their findings to the public, and we’re working on it. But in the mean time, as Mr. Davis suggests, applying a skeptical eye and a healthy dose of curiosity to media reports (about anything really) is a good way to discern what conclusions we can draw from any singular study.
Editor of the Reformer:
Just wanted to let you know that I was really enjoying the puzzles and games insert in the weekend edition of the Reformer. I see that it’s now being replaced by the TV listings, which I can understand, but if there’s some way that the puzzles can be brought back, that would be great.
Hinsdale, N.H., July 19