Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A New Way to Look at Codex - Holistic Health and Honda Cars

I've heard so much about Codex Alimentarius lately, I thought I should include an entry on it here on my blog.

Some Background
In case you haven't heard, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is part of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO). They have been in place since 1963, but have come under intense scrutiny in the past 12 months due to their efforts to outlaw vitamins in the European Union.
They have been backed from the beginning by the pharmaceutical industry, and basically the commission members consider themselves to be the protectors of the pharmaceutical industry.
The holistic health community is very panicked about Codex. Indeed, these are some unprecedented steps towards making vitamin and herbal therapy illegal worldwide.
There are some very interesting details about Codex history here.

So why am I not worried?

Here's why.

Vitamin Busts - Video at 11
First, imagine what will happen the first time a "vitamin bust" gets caught on videotape. Already, a major holistic healthcare reporter is calling for videotapes of these vitamin busts, so he can publish them far and wide. He has offered to pay "a pretty penny" for videos like this.
The public outcry will be enormous. The politicians will look ridiculous, and the pharma companies will have to pull back...again.

A Pitiful Cry from a Dying Industry
Second, I see actions like Codex as a pitiful cry from a dying industry.
Huh? you say. Aren't pharma companies the most profitable industry in the world? Don't they have a more powerful lobby than anyone else?
All true.
But that's exactly when the fall comes. When an industry reaches the top, that's when they get shot down. It happens every time.

The Big 3 and Japanese Cars
Imagine being Honda Motors in 1972. They were a successful motorcycle company worldwide, and had good sales of cars within Japan. In 1972 they introduced the Honda Civic into the USA. Talk about David versus Goliath!
Honda was a very small company compared to the Big 3 American automakers - Chrysler, Ford and GM. Who did they think they were trying to sell their cars in the shadow of these behemoths?
But they did. They persisted. And within only 3-4 years, American experienced the oil shortage of the mid-1970s. Honda sales went nuts (as did Toyota and the other Japanese models).

Don't Buy Them Jap Cars, It's Unamerican!
By 1980, Honda threatened the Big 3 in some serious ways. Honda's cars were more fuel efficient, cheaper and incredibly reliable. They provided what Americans wanted at that time. So the Big 3 went to work. They tried to outlaw the Japanese imports. They tried to force trade restrictions. They told us to "Buy American," even when it meant buying a lower quality car at a higher price.
But nothing worked for the Big 3.
Honda's market share kept increasing, until today when the Honda Accord is the number one selling car in North America. I live in Columbus, Ohio and one of our major employers in this area is Honda of America. They run 3 major automotive plants within 30 miles of our city, providing tens of thousands of jobs. And the demand still outstrips their ability to produce cars.

Those Poor Goliaths!
And what's happened to the Big 3? They're sucking wind. GM is losing money almost every quarter. They are teetering on bankruptcy. Chrysler got bought out by Daimler Benz of Germany several years ago, of course. Now Daimler Benz fires their CEO and is going through major reconstruction again. And Ford is probably in the worst shape of them all. I've seen the inside of Ford as a consultant, and I can say that this company is a mess. They are running scared, and they're almost broke.

Rewind to 1972
Now, rewind back to 1972. Replace Honda with the holistic health industry. It is the newcomer, vulnerable and small. Replace the Big 3 automakers with Big Pharma. They're Number 1. They have all the money. They have the profits. They have the lobbyists.
The Big 3 lost. They lost in every measurable way. They've lost all their profits. They've lost their clout politically. They've lost jobs by the hundreds of thousands. They've lost market share.

The Japanese carmakers won everything.

Can you see the parallels. Big Pharma is dying. You can feel sorry for them, if you want, but don't fear them. Don't fear Codex or the other cries of a dying breed. Let's examine what the Japanese car companies did to survive and thrive.

Be Persistent
Even though Honda could have said at any time, "Oh well, it looks like Americans don't want us here. Let's go home." But they never did. When Americans whined about Honda taking away jobs to Japan, they built plants in America. When Americans said they wanted larger cars, not just econoboxes, Honda created Acura, a luxury version of their Honda products. Sales went off the charts. Lincoln and Cadillac never recovered.

Have Courage
Something else we can learn from Honda is courage. At no time did Honda pull back and say "I guess we'll never succeed against these monsters, they're just too big." They never pulled back and they never descended into a fear cycle. And, by the way, courage is defined as having fear, but overcoming it anyway. Just because you feel fear because of Codex doesn't mean that you don't have courage. But when you let that fear stop you from promoting holistic health and doing your work, that shows a lack of courage.

Don't Try to "Fit In"
The overwhelming message to the Japanese carmakers in the early 1970s was "make bigger cars." But they didn't do that right away. It's a good thing they didn't, because when the oil shortage hit a few years later, Honda was perfectly positioned in the marketplace to sell as many cars as they could manufacture, because everyone wanted a more fuel efficient car. The Big 3 reacted slowly, and didn't start producing fuel efficient cars until the oil shortage had come and gone.

Similarly, we shouldn't try to fit holistic healthcare into the Western medical model. Western medicine is headed for a meltdown, and we don't want to be part of that. We need to create our own model of healthcare that focuses on the future, not the short-term.
Western medicine needs to be a "piece of the puzzle" within holistic health. Powerful, dangerous drugs and surgery need to be a high-quality, last resort, with holistic cheaper, effective, safer options as our first line of defense.
We also need to create a healthcare model that exists largely outside of health insurance. The health insurance industry is tightly linked to the Western medical meltdown, except perhaps it is deteriorating even faster than medicine.

Please put some thought into how we can create this important new healthcare model. We all need to be thinking about how we will make this transition smoothly and effectively, because it will happen sooner than you think!

1 comment:

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