Thoughts on economics and liberty

The MASSIVE failure of “modern” medicine explains the market for alternative medicine

I FIRMLY oppose "alternative medicine" which is founded on the placebo effect, not on genuine science. I agree that if the placebo effect is controlled for, then all the following "therapies" are likely to be found to be ineffective:

  • homeopathy
  • acupuncture
  • reiki, etc. etc.

However, I also (STRONGLY) oppose is any attempt to regulate the "medicine" market by governmental "experts". 

Everytime a person of the stature of Steve Jobs delays his "treatment" because he tries out alternative methods, there is an outcry among "experts" to ban these alternatives, or at least to regulate them.

But if a government steps in as a gatekeeper it MUST be a guarantor, as well. Else, if the medicine controlled by government is no better than placebo, either, then all we've done is to provide a rich monopoly to a set of self-declared "experts" who merrily make PILES OF MONEY from their monopoly powers, at the expense of the poor citizen, who is no better off in any real sense from these regulatory controls.

We need to be VERY CAREFUL before we hand over our powers of choice to governments. Any such power is a severe intrusion on liberty. That's a very serious matter. The "cure" (regulation by government) is likely to be FAR WORSE (restriction on liberty) than the problem itself.

Note that people are not fools. They KNOW that things like homoepathy are untested and do not work. But they STILL use these alternatives.


The reason is twofold:

a) "Standard" medicine has a failure rate of well over 80 per cent (I think around 95 per cent). I say this from experience. First, doctors fail to diagnose at all. Second, if they do diagnose, they diagnose wrongly. And if they do diagnose correctly, they prescribe wrongly. They are also beholden to large drug companies, and are essentially bought out by big business. WE ALL KNOW THAT. In other words, modern "medicine" is often an extremely EXPENSIVE FRAUD. And worse, most "standard" drugs are not just worse than placebos, they often have very dangerous side-effects.

b) On the other hand, there ARE cases where alternative medicine works. It works not just on the placebo effect. It works also, at times, on the REAL effect it has on the human brain. Alternative medicine sometimes taps into the hitherto unimaginable concept of re-wiring of the human brain. This is a REAL effect, having been confirmed after extensive neurological studies which have found amazing plasticity of the human brain. 

Everyone knows that modern medicine is literally INCAPABLE of diagnosing, let along curing chronic pain:

"by some estimates, 20 per cent of cases fit this criterion – but the "mystery" pain persists in an unrelenting form. Then the cycle continues: painkillers, depression and frustration at not being able to function normally or talk about the suffering with family and friends, whose sympathy has often worn thin. Some are sidelined by their employers – if they're able to continue work at all. Some may even consider suicide." [The champion cyclist, her mysterious excruciating pain and her unconventional road to recovery, The Australian, Christine Jackman, March 24, 2012]

My experience with chronic pain is a case in point:

RSI. The levels of pain and burning in the upper body/arms/hands were unbelievably high, yet all modern "tests" (MRIs and this and that – you name it!) failed to detect any problem. The fact that I squandered nearly $5,000 in useless payments to doctors before finally finding the cure (which cost me another at least $10,000), rankles more for the fact that these people continued with their arrogant approaches, without realising that they are TOTALLY IGNORANT about pain. In my case the causes were PURELY PHYSICAL. The solution has been purely physical.

But it is not necessary that the solution in all such cases of chronic pain be physical. It can often involve REWIRING the brain. For some very powerful examples, see Ramachandran's Tell Tale Brain. But also read what Professor Lorimer Moseley – a renowned expert and author on the phenomenon of pain – has to say about the power of the brain to re-wire itself: 

Patients, Moseley says, surprise him all the time. Like the woman with a 25-year history of debilitating lower back pain who turned up at his clinic a few years ago. He conducted a two-hour examination, explaining that her pain was unlikely to be originating in her back but that her brain was playing a "pain tune" of its own. The following week she arrived for her next session. "She looked like a different person," he recalls. "And she just announced, 'Well, my pain's gone.'?" Moseley allowed himself a moment of smugness: another satisfied customer. But then she continued: "After I came to see you last week, I had an appointment with my sister's psychic. It took me six months to get in to see her and she was brilliant."

The patient told Moseley the psychic had discerned things about her that "she couldn't possibly have known". And then, as she was walking out the door at the end of the session, the psychic had pulled her aside. "She said, 'Oh, by the way, there is nothing wrong with your back.' And it has been fine ever since!" Moseley's team followed the woman's progress for the next 13 months; she never regressed, happily reporting that she remained pain-free and active.

Moseley shakes his head in wonder for a moment and I ask if experiences such as this make him doubt his own theoretical framework or practical approach. "Oh no, not at all," he cries, breaking out of the reverie with customary ebullience. "I mean, if that isn't evidence of the power of the brain, I don't know what is." [Source]

Strengths and limitations of modern medicine

The reality is that modern medicine understands OBVIOUS defects in the human anatomy, and doctors, based on such information, can generally conduct surgeries fairly well, around 80 per cent of the time. They can sew wounds, for instance, and undertake other feats of manual dexterity.

Modern medicine understands a few other things FAIRLY well (around 40 per cent of the time), things like (a) ameoba, (b) bacteria, and (c) virusus.

Modern medicine also understands a few things a LITTLE better than pure placebo, things like (a) cancer, (b) chronic heart diseases or diabetes.

But modern medicine does NOT understand most complex matters such as the effect of nutrition on health, or complex disorders like RSI, dry eye/eye strain. ZERO PER CENT UNDERSTANDING. Its performance is NOT better than most alternative medicine on such matters. Indeed, "modern" doctors provide FAR LESS RELIEF in such cases than alternative options. 


We hate parting with our money, regardless of the recipient.

We don't like giving our money to YOU, doctors, equally as we dislike giving it to alternative practioners. We like to keep our money in our OWN pocket. Not in others' pockets.

People pay for alternative medicine because IT ACTUALLY PERFORMS BETTER THAN MODERN MEDICINE on most complex matters. At least to the level of the placebo effect. Modern medicine doesn't even do that.

The transfer of MONEY is the PEOPLE (the market) speaking. And the market is ALWAYS RIGHT. It is the voice of the people.

This is the bitter truth that modern medicine is UNWILLING to accept. That it is actually a TOTAL FAILURE on most chronic/complex issues, but keeps pretending that has solutions. It doesn't. And WE the people know it.

I strongly oppose attempts to give doctors and pharmacists monopoly rights over our lives.

Let them first become SO CONFIDENT about their diagnosis, that they will give 5 year warranties or our money back. If they can't give warranties for their diagnosis/cure, then they are NO BETTER than quacks, and let people decide whom they'll pay their hard earned money.

I GO TO DOCTORS VERY RELUCTANTLY now-a-days. I prefer to read the medical literature myself and understand the complexity involved, and prefer to use doctors as technicians to conduct various tests that I need. 

I am a SCIENTIST and appreciate the SCIENCE of our body and brain.

But I know that medical science is floundering in the midst of deep ignorance. No medical scientist knows virtually ANYTHING about his area of specialisation. All are stuck in uncertainties, confusions; unable to pierce the truth about our enormously complex body. Nothing about our body is simple.

Doctors, however, like the PRETENCE OF KNOWLEDGE. As if they know something. They don't!! Their incompetence is so chronic and universal that modern medicine deserves to be rightly classified along with quackery – in most cases.

Let me say this bluntly to "doctors": DON'T TAKE ME FOR A FOOL WHOM YOU CAN LOOT.

If you can GUARANTEE your purported diagnosis and cure, then you'll get my money gladly. But if you can't guarantee your cure but still want my money then I am unable to distinguish you from ANY ROBBER, and I'll oppose tooth and nail your attempts to loot my hard earned money through coercive government monopoly.

Whether I spend my hard earned money on a homeopath who doesn't guarantee a cure, or whether I spend it on you (who also don't guarantee any cure), is MY CHOICE AND MY LIBERTY. Stay out of my body.


Let me choose.

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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3 thoughts on “The MASSIVE failure of “modern” medicine explains the market for alternative medicine
  1. dr tapan

    ridiculous, judgemental and hillarous.
    i believe this your purely you views and before publishing such a big articles you should have consulted a doctor or team of doctor to discuss it. i totally disagree with your version of medicine.
    first there is no modern or ancient medicine.
    please check your inputs before you throw such a big articles…but i m sorry i totally disagree to most of the points. but being honest i would love to have a panel discussion on that.

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Tapan, you are probably a kind of doctor (you’ve used Dr in your name).

    What, pray are your points to dispute the facts presented in this article? Anything to justify your patronising comments (e.g. I should “have consulted a doctor or team of doctor to discuss it”)? Why in heaven’s name will I consult with doctors who are mere dispensers of medicine? Not the producers of science? The milkman or retailer, not the producer of milk.

    I am a scientist by background and critical thinker by occupation. I consult ONLY facts and the truth.


  3. Ron

    Maybe the reason the placebo effect is so prevalent, is that the most powerful cure is the bodies ability to cure itself.

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