Monday, July 9, 2012

Biology and the Concept of Deregulation

Biology gives us an important insight into the concept of deregulation.  Take the human and the amoeba for example.  The amoeba is a relatively simple one-celled organism.  It has no eyes or ears; it cannot walk nor does it have a multipart digestive structure.  The amoeba has no brain.  The human, on the other hand, is enormously complex.  Humans have eyes and ears and a highly evolved brain.  Humans walk and talk, and they have an intricate digestive system.  They also have a cardiovascular system, an endocrine system, respiratory system, reproductive system, skeletal system, muscular system, nervous system, lymphatic system and a urinary system.  Anyone who has ever studied biology will tell you that a human, when compared to an amoeba, is nearly infinitely more complex.

But in order to keep an organism as complex as a human running properly it must have millions of regulatory functions constantly working.  To do otherwise will lead to chaos.  Without stopgap and counter measures; without feedback mechanisms; without biochemical and cellular oversight; without multiple supervisory formats the human would collapse.  Just imagine waking up without the regulatory systems responsible for vision, balance, proprioception, cognition and cardiac stimulation?  If all of a sudden these systems were deleted (in other words human bio-physiology was deregulated) upon awakening you would either have an epileptic-type seizure, an intense episode of vertigo, an inability to stand or all three at the same time.

You see, the more complicated a system the more need there is to regulate it.  Otherwise, like the suddenly deregulated human, the system begins falling apart.  But let me give you another example to help make my point.  Let’s now talk about cancer.  Just imagine going to your doctor and discovering you have cancer.  You ask the doctor what he suggests.  But to your surprise the doctor says, “We shouldn’t do anything.”

You look on aghast and say, “Wait a second.  Shouldn’t I take some sort of medicine to control it?”  But your doctor says, “You mean to tell me you want to regulate it?  That’s nuts.  We need less regulation, not more!  Cancer left alone will grow and develop!  The immune system will go into overdrive.  And you’ll burn so much fuel you’ll hardly gain a pound.  In fact, you’ll lose weight!”

But what does cancer ultimately do to its host?  If left unregulated then in the end cancer kills you.  If you think of the human body as a society or government then you might look at cancer as an economic entity.  It’s important to remember that biological systems transcend animals and plants and extend all the way to societies and governments and even economic constructs.  And like the human body or any multifaceted biological system these social milieus will implode if unregulated.  To think otherwise is perhaps naïve.  We understand implicitly that a rapacious organism like cancer must be regulated, indeed controlled, but yet we often fail to realize that economic systems likewise must be regulated lest they, like cancer, kill their host?  If you could miniaturize yourself and live within close proximity to a cancer you might find it indulges in its own propaganda to confuse the body into allowing it to persist unregulated.  Indeed we see the same phenomena occurring around us as special interests (no less nefarious than cancer) try to convince us that we should deregulate complex social systems—even as we have proof that when these systems are deregulated they, like cancer, cause severe destruction.  That is the great incongruity presented by those who want more “growth and development” but at the same time “more deregulation.”  As I hope my biological examples show the two cannot coexist.  The more complex a system, the more regulations it must have.  Otherwise, like the deregulated human waking up in the morning or the cancer left to its own devices, the society experiences its own epileptic seizure and ultimately the host dies.