Dr. Farmer is very dissatisfied with the lack of health care access in the poorest countries and the unequal global distribution of wealth. His view of access to health care is really at odds with this country’s current push toward cost effectiveness. He believes in a type of humaneness to the poor that we rarely see. For example, he does charge a fee for his medical services, but his list of exceptions is so long that nobody really has to pay.
I tend to agree with Farmer about the distribution of wealth in the world. It is uneven and unfair. I will always believe that those who have more have a social responsibility to those who have less. That applies to people in the same community, country, or world. I think it important that we help other countries out there develop into places that can sustain their populations without turning these countries into minis of us. For example, an organization like heifer.org provides animals to poor people around the world. They can learn to raise and breed these animals and sell their products. We are not trying to change their lifestyle at all, only to give them something to earn some money.
In the United States, I think it is high time that white people acknowledged that they did not get or maintain their status through hard work alone. All the way from Foreign Miner’s Tax in California to the Homestead Act to the FDA Housing loans, laws were passed to give white people an advantage. That doesn’t even take into account land taken from Native Americans, the genocide of that race, or slavery. It is time that we make reparations for that and pass laws that help minorities advance at a faster rate in order to make attempts to level the playing field. It is also time for everyone to recognize that everyone makes up a society, and that we have a moral obligation to care for one another. If that means re-distributing some of the wealth in this country, then I would see it as a good thing.
Dr. Farmer’s approach may be somewhat unorthodox and unpopular to people who have money. Nobody wants to give their own money away. However, it would be nice if we could look at the world as our community and help others in need.