Benefits of science still remain beyond the reach of poor masses; and to where science is leading the human race and the Nature ?

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Is it not a responsibility of the civilised world to make scientific developments/innovations (just not in the field of medicine, but also all other areas of science) affordable by all ?
Scientific discoveries if remain beyond the reach of the masses, then what is the use ?
Scientists as well as the institutions investing money in research bear a moral responsibilities to rationalise their profit margin over marketing their innovated products, keeping in mind the entire human race in the background who are living in diverse economic conditions.

Further it is also desirable that these research should be aimed at benefiting the mankind and the Nature ,but not to destroy them. Could scientists ever make commitment for following some ethics while conducting any research ? The risks of science if outweighs the benefits for long the end results are predictable !

Submitted: January 05, 2012

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Submitted: January 05, 2012

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Benefits of science still remain beyond the reach of poor masses; and to where science is leading the human race and the Nature ?

By :  Dr Tushar Kanti Nayak,M.D. Dtd.04 January 2012, Wednesday.
 
The writer of this article has earlier worked as Professor in Biochemistry
 
This has been written at a time when the 99TH Indian Science Congress is in session in Bhubaneswar,Odisha.
 
Science is advancing fast through research and innovation. Fundamentals of science however have remain very much stagnated since long and more emphasis has been given to the applications (of existing concepts), the reason being innovations take lesser time and fetch more money to the investor in research and development, and to the researcher(s) involved.
If a question is asked as to "What are the greatest discoveries in science ?",most people might answer referring to research findings of the 20TH century or little earlier to that period.
How many of us would answer the greatest discoveries are food grains like rice,wheat,maize;and other food stuffs : fruits,vegetables,spices etc ? Apart from isolating and cloning the various species of plants which are sources of food stuffs; ancient humans have selected a small number of animal species such as cow and buffalo for getting milk;sheep and goat for using their meat; hen and duck for getting egg and to be used as meat; certain species of fish,crab,shrimp like aquatic animals for using as food.Out of millions of species of plants and animals, the task must not be easy to select the specific ones through trial and error for specific purpose !
Have we been able to discover anything new to add to the existing list during the era of modern science ? Even the traditional methods of food processing and preparation of dishes are far more superior and healthy compared to the new technologies/methods of cooking and food processing.
Fire,wheel,metals are all discovered since long in the human civilisation.Similarly arithmetic numbers/numerical; the concepts of month and year are also pretty old.
Most of the materials and methods that have been ancient or now called as traditional and are in use in every day's life by all are not patented by anybody. Nobody could ever know the name of the discoverer of any of these hundreds of thousands of materials and methods in use since ancient time.
Most of the new discoveries and innovations are based upon the existing ones and to a large extent refined techniques.
And see the greed and selfish attitude of the modern man ! After coining words like 'science,scientist',came the words like 'formula,patent,intellectual property' and so on. These words are incorporated by modern man (who is a descending product of the ancient human race only), to exploit millions of its own fellow human species. The greed for wealth,money, power and recognition (by fellow human beings only !) by scientists and money spinners using the former has resulted in restricting the innovation/product developed with the purpose for human use and benefit; to the avail of the rich and wealthy individuals in the society.
Due to complex reasons (several designed by the intelligent man), some eighty to ninety percent of people in the world languish in poverty,that is they have no money to buy even the minimum basic requirements of life such as food,clothing,medicine and shelter. These people also work hard; do physical labour in the fields,factories and so on. However wages for physical labour in a world ruled and managed by intellectually superior human beings is also decided by the latter.
A person whose meagre earning is not enough to buy the basic requirements of life thus remains deprived of the fruits of science research and innovations.
The outcome of modern day scientific research (benefits,hazards,and risks ) should be introspected always. This matter is briefly looked at in this article with certain examples.
 
More than sixty percent of people in India are living in the villages cook their meals burning fire wood and dried animal dung; stay in mud built,thatched roof houses without electricity. Safe drinking water is still not available to millions. Allopathic medicines and treatment procedures are too expensive and beyond the reach of the poor people though free prescriptions are written by government doctors.Simple drugs like paracetamol sold over the counter costs Rs2/- per tablet,hence a patient has to spend Rs12/- per day to buy six tablets, which is the daily dosage of this drug in an adult. When the average daily income of people categorised as Below Poverty Line (BPL) is between Rs20/- to Rs30/-, it is simple to conclude that allopathic medical treatment is unaffordable by most people in India (nearing 70 percent of people in this country live BPL).The economic conditions of people in most of the developing nations are similar to India ; the condition of the people in the underdeveloped nations is very much understandable. Poor people in India therefore are choosing the Alternative systems of medicine such as Homoeopathy,Ayurveda,Unnani and Siddha etc (for treatment of ailments) due to their low cost compared to Allopathic medical care.
However several diseases such as infectious diseases which require specific anti-microbial therapy; the various forms of cancers which require surgical treatment,radiotherapy and chemotherapy either separately or in combination could not be managed with Alternative systems of medicine.It is just not the treatment part alone, the investigative procedures used for diagnosing diseases and other supportive care required during hospitalisation of the patient and afterwards are also expensive.
It is now noticed that people from developed countries like USA and several countries in Western Europe are coming to India for Allopathic medical treatment since the expenses are reduced by almost fifty to seventy percent in India for similar treatment in their own countries.
Whatever modern amenities are being developed for the benefit of mankind through research in science is only affordable by the small number of rich and wealthy in the world.
Scientific research has lead to industrial revolution, the fall outs of which are environmental pollution,global warming and relating consequences.
Undesirable research in science has lead to the development of nuclear,chemical and biological weapons, which are stockpiled by many nations with the objective to destroying fellow human beings through war; even otherwise presence of these weapons has made the planet unsafe due to fear of accidental mishaps (the post Tsunami explosions in nuclear power stations in Japan is the recent incident).

Is it not a responsibility of the civilised world to make scientific developments/innovations  (just not  in the field of medicine, but also all other areas of science) affordable by all ? 
Scientific discoveries if remain beyond the reach of the masses, then what is the use ?
Scientists as well as the institutions investing money in research bear a moral responsibilities to rationalise their profit margin over marketing their innovated products, keeping in mind the entire human race in the background who are living in diverse economic conditions.
 
Further it is also desirable  that these research should be aimed at benefiting the mankind and the Nature ,but not to destroy them. Could scientists ever make commitment for  following some ethics while conducting any research ? The risks of science if outweighs the benefits for long the end results are predictable !
 

 


© Copyright 2017 Dr Tushar Kanti Nayak. All rights reserved.

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