Medical nemesis

Ivan Illich


€ 3,99

Ivan Illich—priest, historian, theologidn, philosopher, polemicist, iconoclast, offer us another major critique of the relentless industrialization of our society. Once again, his method is the examination of a major social institution—what Illich sees as technologized, institutionalized, dehumanizing, dangerous, all‐pervasive and insatiably expanding medicine. His intended audience, it seems clear, is the American public, for the technology, institutional forms, values and processes he describes have, for better or for worse, reached their apotheosis in the United States. The ultimate target of his blame is not the professionals but the rest of us—all of us, at once the eager consumers and the passive slaves of industrialism, and, therefore, the willing participants in our own dehumanization. He wants us—the world’s biggest medical‐care users and spenders—to think about our implicit beliefs in salvation through science and immortality through medical care.
Readers of Illich’s earlier work will recognize at once that this view of medicine is only part of a larger picture. Institutionalized education stifles and crushes our ability to learn (“Deschooling Society”); transportation systems not only devalue human feet but paralyze us in frustrated, polluted immobility (“Energy and Equity”); urbanization destroys our competence in homemaking and our integrity as neighbors (“Tools for Conviviality”). The major institutions of industrialized society inevitably turn counterproductive and rob us precisely of what they set out to offer. Medicine is just another slow dance on the industrialized killing ground.