Social Structure And The Environment Of Disease

1315 words - 6 pages

Disease has always been a very dynamic unpredictable character. Every time we humans think we have solved the mystery behind disease a new problem always arises. Before we can fully understand disease, we must first ask ourselves what makes disease so dynamic? The answer to that question is very simple; it’s us. Since the beginning of time we have evolved as a species becoming better and more genetically suited to our environments. While we busy becoming all that we can be, disease has been doing the same. Disease evolves to our bodies like we evolve for the environment. To best see how the dynamics of disease is affected we must see how social structure has changed the environment for ...view middle of the document...

The spread of the SARS epidemic (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) can be attributed to the dynamics of social structures, mainly China. China has always been secretive about the inner workings of its government. For the Chinese government “any disaster, natural or man-made, can reflect badly on the Party, the government, officials, and of course all citizens.” China’s policy on infectious disease puts China’s reputation before all else classifying any infectious disease from the first documented occurrence to the announcement of the disease as highly secret. The social construct of Chinese society led to over three thousand cases of SARS developing in China.
China’s response to SARS is best exemplified through the words of a Shanghai doctor, “You foreigners value each person’s life more than we do because you have fewer people in your countries. Our primary concern is social stability, and if a few people’s deaths are kept secret, it’s worth it to keep things stable.” This is very true, China has over a billion people and they must first think about the reaction the Chinese people will have hearing new about a new disease. In China’s case not one individual made the decision to keep this information secret. Every level of the government knew that if they did not have top-secret clearance then their lives and jobs would be at stake.
Adolf Hitler is probably the most infamous person to use the process of genetic and disease transmission as an example with which he created propaganda. Hitler many propaganda campaigns focused on making the perfect race. In Mein Kampf Hitler wrote:
“If we consider it the first duty of the State to serve and promote the general welfare of the people, by preserving and encouraging the development of the best racial elements, the logical consequence is that this task cannot be limited to measures concerning the birth of the infant members of the race and nation but that the State will also have to adopt educational means for making each citizen a worthy factor in the further propagation of the racial stock.”
This message went along with the social trend of the time. Eugenics was becoming a major social trend and many politicians were already talking about it. The same principles of creating a better race as seen in Germany were being applied in the United States. Even though Hitler was the poster child for the eugenics movement in Germany, if the society as a whole was not involved in the programs, they would have never worked.
The Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses (Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring) relied heavily on public participation to work. This law was created to sterilize people who were seen as physically or mentally unfit for society. To enforce this law, doctors were threatened with jail time or a fine of RM150 for not reporting degenerates to the government. The doctors were ready to report the people...

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