Most things tend to be interrelated

Not unlike the famous book “Six Degrees of Separation,” most things are interrelated at some level. They may not be cause and effect related, but if you look hard enough, you can likely find connections where you did not think they existed. I have used this example on a few occasions, but it is not uncommon or ironic to see someone in a social services capacity fail to recognize a problem with one of his or her clients and something bad happens. Invariably, the newspapers and public will be alarmed and say “how could you possibly let that happen?” Yet, when you find out the social worker is handling 160 clients, when a more effective number of clients might be 16, you can see how budget cuts have caused people to do more with less and a case falls through the cracks.

There is a similar example that is being highlighted in a HBO Documentary film called “Gideon’s Army” which focuses on a vastly overworked group of public defenders. A link to the website is as follows: These folks are so overworked and underpaid, they cannot do their job and save people who have been given a raw deal or honor the defense of people who have done what they are accused of. As a consequence, justice is not well-served and innocent people or people whose crime is not as significant as portrayed, are put into a prison system and are lost. These big-hearted, hard-working public defenders should be applauded and given more support, both financially and emotionally. The problem is we end-up with an over-crowded prison system including people who should not be there and who will tend to commit more future crimes by having been in the prison system.

Crimes committed by people in poverty are another good example. If we do not educate and mentor kids they may seek paths forward that are not fruitful. If we do not counsel teenage girls and boys on sex education and give them means of birth control, unwanted families will occur. I have shared before there is a strong correlation between family size and poverty. There is also a strong correlation between teenage mothers and poverty. And, with only one parent and a young one at that, it places the children in harm’s way.  Parents, just like you, these kids are going to be tempted and want to have sex. You cannot stop them. Feel free to preach abstinence, but also teach your teenage girls how to say “no” to a teenage boy. Mothers and fathers teach your teenage boys to respect girls. But, also give both of them condoms. The message is I would prefer that you not, but if you do, please (have him) wear this.

Poverty manifests itself in many ways. Lack of education is a key reason for poverty be it not having a high school, GED, two or four-year college degree or skilled in a trade. Lack of a job above minimum wage is another key reason. The minimum wage jobs perpetuate poverty as people cannot live as an individual, much less feed a family, on these jobs. The absence of healthcare or poor healthcare insurance is another reason. This is the leading reason for personal bankruptcy. We must invest in our people. That includes keeping them alive through food stamps and unemployment benefits. That includes giving them access to affordable healthcare.These programs actually reinvest dollars into the economy. Yet, we must help educate people to gain better jobs. When crime evolves out of poverty, all of society pays the price. If we can invest in these communities and education, dividends will be paid to the community through a more robust economy and greater number of taxpayers and consumers.

Also, our communities need a safe and flourishing environment. I see a huge ROI in treating the environment well. Health (including mental health) care costs will improve, infrastructure won’t be as degraded if we build in an environmentally supportive way and cleaner jobs will lead to longer lifespans. Some folks may scoff at the improved physical and mental healthcare costs, but there are strong correlations between asthma, autism and other diseases and chemical toxins in the environment. Since a child’s brain does not fully form until he or she is in their 20’s, the kids are more prone to be impacted to these toxins being closer to the ground, mouth breathing more, and placing their hands in their mouth more times per hour than an adult. Also, there has been observed increases in pre-mature births in more toxic areas and since the lungs are the last organ to fully develop, these pre-mature births make the babies more prone to breathing abnormalities down the road perpetuating the problem.

I could go on, but let me end with a comment about obesity. If you are overweight, you are a train wreck waiting to happen. It may not occur until you are in your 40’s or 50’s, but if you do not take care of your body, it will cause a problem. Doctors are not surprised when many people have heart attacks, strokes, joint pain, diabetes, liver malfunction, etc. and are overweight.  Your obesity will cause you problems in a vast many ways. It will also affect you financially, as there are these things called deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance. Plus, there is a correlation between depression and obesity. You cannot treat the latter without treating the former. So, if you eat better, drink less and exercise more, it will improve your health, mind and pocketbook. But, go see a mental health professional if you are overeating due to being depressed, disappointed, stressed, etc.

I mention these interrelationships as examples as we need holistic solutions to our many problems. This is not the movies and there are no silver bullets. We need to spend our money judiciously and in several areas where improvements can be made. Like many issues, the improvement may not be overnight and it may take a long time, but if we identify problems and underlying causes, develop a plan, determine what success will look like and when it might occur, develop milestones and measures and invest in our future, we will have a better chance of success. Things are interrelated. If we don’t understand that, we may not solve the problems.

10 thoughts on “Most things tend to be interrelated

  1. great post; i especially appreciate calling attention to holistic attitudes about health. i continue to be amazed at how many highly-intelligent people chose to ignore the health dangers from msg, aspartame, too much sugar, fried foods, etc etc. instead of treating the cause, they treat the symptoms.. ‘take a pill..’

    with msg and aspartame, i ask friends, ‘do you realize you’re dumping brain toxins in your food?’ if they’re shaking msg-laden picante sauce or drinking a diet cola. they look at me as if i had said parsely flakes were dangerous. if the msg/aspartame were in a little butter dish with a tiny spoon, and they asked, ‘what’s this?’ they would probably push it away if the answer was ‘nervous-system toxin’ —-

    that might make a fun post! z

    • Z, you are totally right. Plus, we have chemists whose job is to get us hooked on sugary products, so we eat more and buy more. To your point, if we substitued “drugs” for “sugar” it makes it illegal. The slow death through obesity is legal. Thanks, BTG

    • I have had similar conversations with friends and complete strangers. Standing in the store while looking at ingredients listed on food I often get into conversations about the “bad” ingredients and why they are bad. The list of “bad” ingredients is long and most often than not it is found in all the least expensive, highly processed, foods that people with limited incomes can afford. The options that don’t have it in it are on average more expensive. Although I have seen on some “generic” items they are taking that stuff out and then two months later it is right back on the list. Never ending struggle.

      • the other day i picked up a ‘lite’ tea by mistake.. before putting it back, i looked to see what ‘lite’ they used.. it was a word i had never seen (spanish) so i asked for a pen to write down the word. everyone around the corner asked why/what, and i told them that i lost my vision for 24 hours because of aspartame… yes, the why sometimes gets attention.

        the bad thing here is the use of maggi products.. chicken soup cubes, powder, powdered soup mixes and seasoning – all heavy with msg, and everyone is buying them and loving the flavors. ahhhh! three or so years ago it was not a problem.

        slowly we attempt to educate with sensitivity!

  2. I do agree that overweight/obese people should seek out efforts to lose weight and get healthy. However I do not agree with the BMI which does not take into account muscle mass, or any other screening measure such as cholesterol level, before shoving a person into the “obese” category. For example a person could be “obese” according to the BMI however not have any other indicator based on blood work, or have a low body fat count, something that a yearly preventative screening would tell a person.

    Not everyone qualifies for unemployment benefits, Medicaid, food stamps, and those people should also not be forgotten.

  3. @Z: Sorry to hear about your losing your vision for 24 hours. Am glad it cleared up.

    Companies have been putting MSG into the soups, bouillon, flavoring, and even salad dressing for as long as I can remember. Slowly they have started to remove MSG (and other bad ingredients) in a strange way. Like at one store the salad dressing has it in it, however at another store the same exact salad dressing with the “new and improved” label doesn’t have it in it. Same is true for ingredients showing up in products that didn’t have them in it previously.

    • Thanks Roseylinn and Lisa for your great comments and conversation. I had some catching up to do this morning. You noted something about the lower cost items have the chemical concoctions to get you hooked on the food and coming back for more. I have seen several documentaries on the subject, but also in Barbara Ehrenreich’s book “Nickeled and Dimed in America” where she works minimum wage jobs for one year trying to make a go of it. Her observation, at such a low wage, you can only afford stuff that is bad for you. You don’t have the time, money or gas to get better, fresher food. In a documentary on obesity in Mississippi, the local grocer only had frozen and canned goods, no fresh foods. The folks had to ride thirty minutes on a bus to get to a better supermarket. This is one of those interrelated topics. I cannot afford to eat well, so I don’t and have health problems for which there is no coverage because I cannot afford it. Paying people better improves many lives.

      • If they paid people more people would then spend more and the economy would improve. People would have less stress, would be able to save, buy more houses, and overall quality of life would go up.

        Right now a lot of employers are trying to hire people only part time, below 30 hours a week, Interns, Independent Contractors/Consultants, Outside Sales people, move jobs to Federal Work Study that used to not be, or as temp labor to get away from having to provide benefits. Some of it has been going on for years before ObamaCare came on the scene. Small business to survive and compete with the big box stores have to cut corners, the law lets them get away with doing it and the workers get caught in the cross fire.

        The big businesses do it for greed and bottom line greed. Like pointed out in the article you wrote here:

      • Roseylinn, well said. Corporations and owners have always tended to chase cheap labor. That is why the textile business moved from England to New England to the Carolinas to China and now to places like Vietnam. Illegal immigrants provide the closest thing to slave labor as we can get. Retail jobs are not much above that economic class of workers, with jobs that perpetuate poverty due to very dampened wages. But, your first sentence says it all. Thanks, BTG

  4. Pingback: The rise in municipal bankruptcies, yet there is hope | musingsofanoldfart

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