Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Los Angeles: City of the Future?

Los Angeles: City of the Future?:
While its earliest promoters dubbed Los Angeles a "city of the future," most of the city's history can be defined in terms of ethnoracial tensions. Founded by the Spanish Empire in 1781, the town (pueblo) became controlled by the United States at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848. At that time, it contained a deeply-rooted Mexican community who had established huge haciendas for ranching and other agricultural purposes. As the twentieth century dawned, however, Anglo Americans began moving to Los Angeles in droves, especially since the city's Mediterranean climate and cheap land proved appealing. Yet this mass influx of Anglo Americans began to alter many of the local Mexican-American cultural customs. Sonoratown, which was one of the city's first Mexican-American barrios, became racially isolated and spatially separated due to de facto segregation. And when African Americans started migrating to Los Angeles in large numbers, particularly after World War II, the city's ethnoracial tensions exploded into race riots (Watts - 1965). Even though Asian Americans constituted an important demographic in Los Angeles' social history, it was the racial tensions between the trifecta of blacks, Mexicans, and whites that often brought the city to Hell and back. And in addition to its ethnoracial tensions, much of the city's form (8-lane freeways, large-scale tract housing, etc.) might one day inhibit its general functionality.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On Healthcare Philosophy

On Healthcare Philosophy: As a fundamental social institution, healthcare seeks to maintain and improve the well-being of people. Healthcare philosophy, therefore, centers on the study of how the healthcare process achieves its objectives in caring for patients. It also questions the general viability of healthcare's various sub-structures including, medical ethics, health economics, health politics, clinical trials, and quality assurance. In effect, there are two basic philosophical paths to understanding healthcare as a social institution: existentialism and phenomenology. From an existential perspective, the individual (patient) is at the center of the healthcare process. That is, he or she effectively controls the extent of their medical treatments from birth to death. From a phenomenological perspective, however, the individual can never account for all of the internal/external forces (phenomena) acting on his or her mind/body. Thus, phenomenologists like Heidegger would suggest that patients ought to approach healthcare from the potential consequences of the absolute negative. In other words, the possibility of entering "the Nothing" (or the total negation of tangible reality) should always be present in the patient's mind when receiving healthcare.