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Downton Abbey
Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Feb 16, 2016

Downton Abbey and Obamacare

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/downton-abbey-and-obamacare/

As the rightly acclaimed tv series Downton Abbey unspools its final episode some fans have criticized the producers decision to devote so much time to a debate about the future of Downton’s Cottage Hospital. The show makes the issue mostly personal with delightfully snippy exchanges between Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham who speaks for a way of life that is passing, and her cousin Isobel, widow and daughter of physicians and trained as a nurse during WWI, who is the voice of modernity. But underneath the repartee lies a serious and persistent issue: what should be the relationship of the community to the emerging age of a high tech, highly capitalized and highly specialized medical system?

As Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, Senior Vice President of the Washington State Hospital Association, who has taken a keen interest in the show told me, “They’re asking the right questions. Who will be in charge? Will someone tell me what to do? Will we be able to continue to provide free care?”

The US and British health systems, while dramatically different, have had to grapple with these same questions. And in their exploration they’ve discovered that case can be made for big and for small but the weight of evidence suggests that the optimum medical configuration is when high tech and specialization is in service to responsible and accountable community hospitals.

In 1859, in real life, Albert Napper opened the first cottage hospital in Cranley. As Doctor Irvine Loudon at Oxford University observes, it was “built explicitly as a warm, clean idealized version of the farm labourer’s cottage in order to reassure patients.” A familiar doctor would treat people in a familiar atmosphere. Communities rallied around the concept. Hundreds of cottage hospitals sprang up and over the decades evolved into relatively sophisticated operations, often with state-of-the-art medicine and surgery.

In a very early episode in the series a farmer John Drake was admitted to the hospital with a terminal case of Dropsy. Isobel suggested to a Dr. Clarkson they use a very new technique. He reluctantly agreed and Drake promptly revived. By 1925, the year in which the final season of the tv series is set, voluntary hospitals constituted about 40 percent of all hospitals. They were largely supported by contributions and staffed with volunteers. There were government hospitals as well: The infirmaries that grew out of the much-despised workhouses of the 19th century. But to many people these remained unwelcome venue.

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Featured Article, ILSR Press Room, Resource filed under The Public Good | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jan 21, 2016

David Morris Interviewed on KFAI’s Truth To Tell Radio Show

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/david-morris-interviewed-on-kfais-truth-to-tell-radio-show/

In 2014, on ILSR’s 40th anniversary co-founder David Morris sat down with Siobhan Kierans and Tom O’Connell, co-hosts of TruthToTell, a weekly public affairs program on KFAI radio in Minneapolis to talk about our history, our approach and our decentralist perspective.   TruthToTell Description: AIRING MONDAYS @ 9:00 a.m., TruthToTell is produced by CivicMedia/Minnesota as part… Continue reading

Campaigns Demo 2010-2
Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Nov 9, 2015

The People United

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/the-people-united/

New York makes it hard for citizens to influence policy.  They cannot put an issue on the state ballot no matter how many signatures they gather. And although the state Constitution has a home rule provision, cities and counties lack authority to undertake some of the most basic initiatives. Even mighty New York City, with… Continue reading

Obama picture
Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Dec 29, 2015

Obama’s Two Mistakes That Lost the Country

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/obamas-two-mistakes-that-lost-the-country/

Early this year President Obama spoke before the Cleveland Club. After the speech 7th grader Alura Winfrey inquired, “If you could go back to the first day of your first term what advice would you give yourself?” Obama reflected for a moment and then blithely explained he would have worked harder to sell his economic… Continue reading

NEH
Featured Article filed under The Public Good, The Public Good News | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Mar 7, 2016

Happy Birthday National Endowment for the Humanities

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/happy-birthday-national-endowment-for-the-humanities/

On the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Richard H. Brodhead argues the New Deal made possible the NEH and the National Endowment for the Arts.  For the first time Americans endorsed a federal role in promoting the general welfare and creating public goods. In the 1960s the Great… Continue reading