Various Veins

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You wonder sometimes if the people who write stuff like, "Why Boomers Are Doomed" or "The Unaffordable Baby" are just trying to raise the level of anxiety in readers.

These quotes are from the covers of Maclean's. I have mislaid another article that laments the lack of jobs for graduating doctors, but the same gloomy prospect eats at readers' sense of security.

Perhaps the authors are simply reporting the results of surveys that leave great black holes in their sampling procedures.

Today I watched over a dozen youngsters happily playing in front of my neighbour's house. Their parents have six or more children in their families. The parents have jobs, buy homes, vehicles, furniture, bicycles, clothing, food. There is no reason to think their children will bankrupt them or that they will lack education. I see these kids running happily to board the school bus each morning and come home in the afternoon just as filled with enthusiasm as they were at 8 a.m.

What about the poor unemployed doctors who must owe big bucks for their years in college? Well, if they look outside the four largest cities they will find that smaller centres are searching for doctors and not being able to staff hospitals and clinics. This is especially true of northern communities.

Why do the graduates confine their job search to Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver? It's because these graduates have narrowed their studies to special fields. Smaller centres don't need many specialists. They are crying for doctors who can provide general diagnoses, treat the patients whose trouble falls within their ability to treat. The special cases can be refered to the specialists.

The numbers of specially trained doctors, more than enough to fill needs, tell something about motivation. We hope and would like to believe that young men and women who enter medical schools do it because they want to help those afflicted with medical, mental and surgical problems. If that is the reason for their choice they would prepare themselves to enter this ministry wherever there is a need. That they fail to follow this course tells us they have their eyes and expectations on enriching themselves.

I've argued before and here I come again to say it is foolish to try to keep the cost of health care under control by rationing services. What does it matter if the health industry occupies 50 per cent or more of the gross budget, as long as the rest of the budget is able to keep roads, bridges, water treatment and so on in good repair?

The October 14th issue of Maclean's observes, "health care appears to be one of the rare recession-proof industries where employment is virtually guaranteed for new grads."

Well, that depends on the motivation doesn't it? You train to offer your services where they are needed, not where the big paycheck is expected, the jobs are there.

The person in this story, a nurse, reports her income is higher than it was when she worked in the forestry industry.

In 1884 George Bernard Shaw through a character in his first novel described how, as people in other lands learned to produce goods for less cost than the mills of Great Britain, the mills would become museums and society would depend on the income from visitors. A century and a half later we see the same process at work.

We call it tourism. Tourism produces no consumable goods or services necessary for life. The health industry which includes the production and marketing of wholesome food is a giant by comparison.



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