Health, Poverty and More

Coda / October 2012

The New York Times published an article on September 20, 2012, by Sabrina Tavernise:

Life Spans Shrink for Least-Educated Whites in the U.S.

The life expectancy for black women who had not graduated from high school surpassed white women of similar standing. As for the other sex, ”White men lacking a high school diploma lost three years of life. Life expectancy for both blacks and Hispanics of the same education level rose, the data showed. But blacks over all do not live as long as whites, while Hispanics live longer than both whites and blacks.”

The article goes deeper:

The dropping life expectancies have helped weigh down the United States in international life expectancy rankings, particularly for women. In 2010, American women fell to 41st place, down from 14th place in 1985, in the United Nations rankings. Among developed countries, American women sank from the middle of the pack in 1970 to last place in 2010, according to the Human Mortality Database.

In addition,

The share of working-age adults with less than a high school diploma who did not have health insurance rose to 43 percent in 2006, up from 35 percent in 1993, according to Mr. Jemal at the American Cancer Society. Just 10 percent of those with a college degree were uninsured last year, the Census Bureau reported.

I suspect this last statement may be out of date. I know people with advanced degrees who do not have health insurance, partly because their debt for their college education is overwhelming their economic life.

In any case data like this is not unusual in the last couple of decades or more. Where the United States population generally ranked pretty high in comparison with other developed nations, it is rare to see evidence of progress. Rather, we see further decline for children and adults.

The issue of the health of the population is only one of many issues that challenge us. The deterioration of education for the many, the imprisonment of 8 million people in the United States – and a more and more for profit prison system that makes money through the indentured workers of that population. And then there is the police system that is responsible for keeping those prisons full. We are challenged in many parts of the world to address crushing health problems, war, social problems, the growing income gap between the extraordinarily wealthy and the extraordinarily poor, the crushing of the labor movement, economic and political problems. And then there is the environment, energy, all the interrelated factors that characterize life on this planet today.

I am proud to say that I know — and some have appeared in the pages of Integral Leadership Review—individuals and organizations who are applying themselves to one or more of these issues in the United States and internationally.

And I wonder about where the “Integral Movement” is in the face of these challenges. Frankly, most of what I see online about integral activity is just the new face of the human potential movement. This is not to be dismissed, but it involves a long term developmental process that may or may not lead to action, so critical to the world. There are organizations and individuals who are making a difference and we can read about them here. There are individuals thinking about these issues in their roles as academics, students, consultants, coaches, and individuals in their work places, whether in the C-Suite or not.

The tools and practices for how to apply them are available to us in training programs, online conferences and communities like the Integral Leadership Collaborative and Marilyn Hamilton’s Integral City 2.0. I hope events such as these do more than feed us cognitively. I would like to see all of these events and more, all of the integral community websites, support what I saw at the SDi Confab 2012. Many of those people are taking action, significant action in war zones, in the face of drug cartels, challenged by the politics and other expressions of our past. And their actions are making a difference.

But their legion is a small one. These Spiral Wizards are showing us how to make a difference. I hope we can multiply their numbers quickly and effectively. Whether they are pursuing an SDi path or some other integrally informed approach, we need these efforts and accomplishments more and more visible to a larger audience.

ILR has about 2800 subscribers. It has grown very slowly in the last two or three years. As we get new subscribers, some emails are no longer valid. We get about 7000 unique visitors every month. That is up from a couple of years ago. But you can see that relatively speaking we are still small potatoes, as they say. Yet, it is one of the potatoes for getting the word out, for reaching out and informing and inspiring others to take action.

ILR has been a publication of volunteers for thirteen years. We started the same year Don Beck began the SDi Confabs. At this time we have a couple of sponsors and a few gift givers (Friends of Integral Leadership Review). This money pays for website, transcriptions, cartoons, etc. So, yes, I continue to plea for your gifts, for sponsorships, to keep this important potato growing. And even more important, the more you and your colleagues can provide up to date articles, book reviews and Notes from the Field, we will thrive.

So, any ideas? Have you joined the Linked in or Facebook groups for ILR? More importantly are you sharing your own learning and experience with others on those groups? Let me know. We need integrally aware and informed people addressing all of the problems listed above and more. Help us build that by helping us grow in quality of content and economic viability.

Russ Volckman