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WHY WE NEED AIDS

Doctors who do not accept the official line on AIDS can find themselves in a lot of trouble.

Harris L. Coulter

Institutional life today is dominated by the buzzwords of the managerial revolution: devolution, entrepreneurship, quality control, outcomes management, merit protection, cost-effectiveness, accountability, equity, client empowerment. Each is the index term for a set of instructions that employees implement when managers give the signal. In this way the activities of millions can be coordinated across institutional boundaries; and executive officers congratulate themselves that they are in control, not just muddling through.

Alas, there is evidence that the software bequeathed by the managerial revolution is the shining path to acquired helplessness. Most OECD nations are awash in institutional failures. Accountants didn't notice the missing billions when they audited the financial statements of the Bank of South Australia, WA Inc, and Victoria's Tricontinental merchant bank. We lavish funds on secondary education, but 85-90% matriculate with serious deficiencies in written English expression; the number of the numerate is few indeed. According to employers, many leave the university not much improved. Something is wrong.

This book is about acquired helplessness in one area of our national life, the AIDS epidemic. The Commonwealth Department of Community Services and Health has designated it 'the nation's most significant threat to public health'. Presumably the First Assistant Secretary who wrote these words meant 'the most significant threat to the nation's health'. But the solecism suggests one thesis that I argue: that the management systems in place have immobilised governmental capacity to review AIDS thinking and programs in the light of new evidence about the epidemic. If that be so, then the grammatical slip hints at my point -- that we have managed to manage outcomes to the point that they are a health hazard.

On the face of it, the designation of AIDS as the 'most significant threat to public health' is nonsense. Morbidity and

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The AIDS Mirage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Frontlines i
  • Contents 3
  • 1 - Why We Need Aids 4
  • 2 - A Virus Invades the Mind 11
  • 4 - Donald Francis Invents a Viral Epidemic 19
  • 5 - Aids Mania 37
  • 7 - Medicine and Human Suffering 52
  • Further Reading 59
  • Glossary 60
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