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Last updated August 20th, 2007



Primary Fundamental Right.

What it could possibly do for us all and how it will hopefully change our world for the better.

The Primary Fundamental Right (PFR) is the most basic of human rights. The right of ownership of your own body.

My Body. My Business.

Because we are owned by our governments our freedoms are limited by what they say we can do to our bodies. We really don't know what true freedom is, we can only guess. So here is some guessing as to what the PFR could do if it became law.

Here is a list of the first and most obvious changes that the PFR would cause.

The PFR and Crime Rates

Should the PFR become accepted as a human right by the various governments then crime rates would dramatically fall because roughly 66% of all crime is drug related. Drug use, prostitution, abortion and the wearing of a seat belt are among those personal decisions which under the PFR only the individual can make. They are well outside the domain of governments. Obviously when there are no drug laws there can be no drug crimes. Probably not so many police, lawyers, judges, prisons and prison guards will be needed. Many of the support industries used by these groups will go into decline. Hundreds of thousands of people should lose their jobs and will have to find new ones, and eventually they will. Productive jobs, ones that produce a sellable item or service that is of benefit to both the client and the service provider and not just the service provider, as in the current jailing system. Jobs that make a real profit. Consequently all governments should become smaller and require less personal taxes. Personal tax savings of 50% should be easily achievable.

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The PFR and the new Doctors

Because of market forces someday all drugs will be legalized. There is just too much money to be made by the legal markets for them to ignore it for much longer. It's an accepted dictum that greater freedoms breed greater profits. Once legalization happens it should provide a smooth pathway for the entrance of the health care intelligent systems that are already starting to proliferate. In the not too distant future internet based expert systems for medical advice will be both cheaper and more reliable in their prognoses than regular doctors. They will also prescribe a larger variety of similar medicines, creating greater competition between the drug companies, and all easily bought from a local drug store. And because of the PFR, no doctor's signature will be required on the prescription. The PFR should also allow medicines to become more widely available than ever before, especially over the internet. This freedom should dramatically bring their prices down even further.

Under the PFR government drug assessment agencies such as the FDA that mainly hinder new drug development and hugely increases the production cost and delay their usefulness, will no longer exist. Private drug assessment companies will start up to give a rating service to those who are uncomfortable without any government drug supervision. Initially there will probably be an outcry from some doctors who foresee their incomes dropping greatly. As doctors are seen by many people as the most influential group of professionals, they will have much help in defending their exalted position in society. But hopefully for us and them, this Luddite attitude won't last too long and the profession will be one of the first to undergo major transformation with the advent of computer expert systems. Each of these systems will have a greater knowledge of diagnostic medicine than any single physician could ever have. The resulting time savings should allow doctors to go back to making house calls thus reducing infections contracted in the surgery waiting rooms.

Probably the doctors of the future will spend more time in robotic surgery as technicians in attendance than in any general practice. Of course the really private consultation will never be replaced by machines.

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The PFR and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Effects

Arguably the greatest threat to the general health of the westernized nations is not Aids or tuberculosis but FAS/E. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Effects is the leading cause of mental retardation and deformity in children in western society. It can be caused by women drinking any alcohol while pregnant. There are more children born with Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) and Alcohol Related Birth Defects (ARBD) than all the other disorders such as Downs Syndrome, Spina Bifida, SIDS and Aids put together. http://www.nofas.org/main/what_is_FAS.htm

These children will probably have a terribly hard life. Many will become foster children. Some will appear normal with fairly good vocal skills and average intelligence but their ability to be completed individuals appears to have been lost forever due to the damage to their brains. They are often hyperactive and it is hard for them to retain information. When they grow up many will have to lie and steal just to survive. Some will become school and workplace bullies while others will end up in jail which, paradoxically, is probably a good place for some of them. This is because they supposedly desperately need structure and uniformity in their lives, but probably not the punishment.

In 1999 the then Canadian Justice Minister, Anne McLellan, reported that in the province of Manitoba, over 50% of the young people in detention suffered some form of FAS. It wouldn't be difficult to assume that adult jails everywhere in the western world could have similar statistics. So where does the PFR help here?

Because there is no free market in drugs and all new drugs cost millions to bring to the market place, no new safer drugs have been developed to compete with alcohol. Because the alcohol industry is so strong it has a vested interest in actively not allowing competition.

It was widely reported in the Sydney newspapers that the Christmas and New Year celebrations of 2000 and 2001 were quiet times for the emergency staff at the hospitals because the drug of choice for the dancing youngsters is no longer alcohol but ecstasy. The alcohol industry is very angry with the New South Wales government for not cracking down on this competitor to the extent that Sydney now has teams of sniffer dogs on buses and trains and in the dance halls trying to scare people off the illegal substances. They won't succeed. Australians have a healthy dislike for authority, and the authorities know it. Their foremost folk hero Ned Kelly was a bushranger who in 1880 was hanged for shooting dead 3 policemen.

If it is true that 50% of jail inmates have some form of FAS what percentage of the 66% of the drug offenders in jails are there because of this condition? I would guess no more than 16% as drug users tend to be of above average intelligence whereas FAS sufferers have an average or lower intelligence. This means that once all drugs are legalized and the drug prisoners pardoned, the vast majority of the prisoners left in jail should be seen as medical problems requiring help not punishment. Many of the jails will need to be converted to a more hospice type of environment requiring the retraining of many of the jail staff. This will make for a much more profitable business than just jailing them because it will now be benefiting the client as well as the service provider. Who will pay for all this? The PFR will help. The costs of running the jails will be much reduced after the release of those persons imprisoned for drug related offences. The money saved could be used to help convert part of the prisons into prison hospices for those with FAS.

Should the nexus be broken between the alcohol drinking mothers and crime, taxes could come down even further resulting in more spending by consumers. Spending creates jobs which increases profits for everyone which in turn increases jobs and so on. As awful as it may sound it would possibly be kinder to the unborn child to offer alcohol drinking pregnant women a free abortion. This might have the affect of making women more aware of what damage they are causing by their drinking habits.

It is going to take at least 20 years to break the cycle of FAS births and up to 75 years of continual help and treatment for those already affected. The most important requirement to help FAS children is early identification of their condition. This is so the parents can be shown that their child is not being naughty but has no actual physical ability to change their erratic behaviour. Though this shows the mother her drinking caused the problem child, and she might regrettably blame herself too much, it also allows the parents to be aware their child is FAS handicapped and needs special care.

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The PFR and Cigarette Smoke.

In recent times there has been some success with legal damages suits brought before the courts by cigarette smokers, passive smokers and state authorities. In one instance many cigarette companies capitulated and agreed to pay vast sums of money to some US states to prevent further prosecution, or as they see it, persecution. There is no argument that the tobacco dealers have made huge profits from their product and that the costs of treating the diseases that tobacco causes is very expensive. In all fairness it appears they should pay something to the victims or their helpers because the victims were unable physically to stop smoking their product. But is that the tobacco industries fault? What if it could be shown that some people who cannot give up smoking and who have addictive personalities are actually FAS victims. In that case surely the alcohol industry is just as complicit in the problem and should be cited as a co-defendant. It then comes back to the mother who drank the alcohol. Could her offspring sue her for their woes? If every FAS child could successfully sue their mother for drinking alcohol when she was pregnant then the insurance industry will definitely become bankrupt because she'll on-sue the alcohol companies for failing to warn her. All this litigation seems wonderful for the lawyers. The person on their last breathe doesn't benefit, only their heirs, and the tobacco companies certainly don't find it profitable. So beside the lawyers and the heirs and those states who saw a way to dig into the goldmine, who else gains from this tidal wave of litigation? The PFR.

Because the PFR states that we all own our own bodies then that means only we are responsible for them. The ill effects of smoking has been known for over three hundred years. Everyone who smokes probably knows that it is dangerous to smoke for a long time. If you agree with the PFR then you agree to accept sole responsibility for your actions that pertain to your body. You cannot blame someone else. So, if the PFR were to become law, no civil action against the tobacco manufacturers could succeed because those who smoke chose to smoke. At this moment the tobacco industry could be close to being permanently shut down. Many of today's young lawyers will be trying hard to achieve this end over the next ten years. Already they are preparing law suits where the victim does not have to show that smoking has caused them physical harm. Soon a test case from someone who has lost a parent or loved one, due to smoking, will win a substantial award because the juries are most likely biased in the plaintiffs favour. Everybody knows someone who died from smoking. Smoking is seen as the biggest non-microbe killer of the last 100 years. Even though, like all drugs, tobacco smoking is probably reasonably safe when taken in moderation. It appears likely that many people actually give up smoking before they reach forty, along with some of the other recreational drugs, that is, except alcohol. Alcohol has had a dream run up until now. And maybe only the PFR will save the liquor industry from the approaching zealots should the tobacco industry go down.

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The PFR and Public Indemnity Insurance.

Since September 11th 2001 insurance cover costs have climbed steeply almost everywhere in the world due much to the world wide linking of major insurance contracts. Anybody who owns any insurance policy anywhere will probably this year and for many years to come, help pay for the insurance payouts that the attacks produced. Also the art of suing has made great advances over the last four years reaching new heights in claims payouts. Asbestos claims in the USA alone are expected to top $250 billion by the time they are finished around 2030. Cigarette claims could be ten times that figure without any sign of abating. If this should happen, the tobacco companies could all go broke and a form of prohibition will come into place. Many will cheer at that prospect but there is one thing we should all know, the American economy was built on tobacco. Tobacco was for a long time used as a currency. The roots from the tobacco industry spread thick and wide and if they were to perish the American and world economy could be very badly damaged. And people won't stop smoking cigarettes anyway, same as they will never stop taking drugs. (My body. My business.). Cigarettes will be made in back alleys with a much higher tar content, no taxes will be collected and the crime syndicates will flourish the same as they did in the 1920's and 30's with alcohol prohibition. At a glance there are some merits there. But how does public indemnity insurance cause this to happen?

Insurance is a bit like horse betting but with better book keepers known as actuaries. An actuary will gather all the relevant data and work out the odds between what is paid out and what can be received. Put simply if you have 100 people driving their cars and you know what percentage of them will damage or lose their cars you can insure them all for a price that will make you a profit after all the claims are paid. Obviously unexpected things happen like hail storms and all the cars are damaged. To cover themselves the insurance companies hedge their bets (which is what they are) with other insurance companies just in case hail storms happen. Then the loss is spread over a greater area so all insurance cost goes up for everybody. And they always go up. So if public indemnity insurance has a bad year your car and home insurances etc. probably go up again. Now, because modern commerce works a lot with credit, or pay later, the insurance companies want some guarantee that the car or house that you are buying will keep its value until your loan is repaid. So private insurance is compulsory on many goods raising the price of those goods and this cost is spread over the whole community. Consequently those that have credit purchases or accidents are subsidised by those that pay cash or don't have accidents. Fear is the food of insurance companies, the fear of it happening to you. If crime rates in your area increase, your insurance costs increase. So if there are 100 houses in your street and one of them loses all his possessions and then claims the insurance, the other 99 will be paying for those replacement furnishings next year. Not so long ago if you were a ship owner shipping goods across the seas and you wanted to cover the cost to replace your ship should it sink, (which was fairly common in the days of sail) then you offered a percentage of the cargo's value to someone in exchange for them covering the cost of a replacement ship. In truth insurance is really there to allay our fears so we can sleep at night.

When it became possible to sue someone for their negligent workmanship then probably the cost of all insurance rose again. Eventually the rise was so high that people in high risk categories like the doctors who deliver babies, felt they had to give up their jobs because they could not afford their public indemnity insurance rates. Many did change their jobs, and at a glance there's some merit there also. And again the whole community pays. Where does the PFR come in here? Personal responsibility again, everyone makes mistakes. The litigation courts are forcing the insurance industry into making everyone pay more for those mistakes or accidents and also by the industry tacitly agreeing with the idea that someone else should pay for those accidents other than the persons who have them. There are no innocent bystanders, just people in the wrong place at the wrong time and they should pay for their own insurance cover if they want to claim damages.

If 200 hundred years ago you rode your horse through the cobblestone streets of London at a lively pace and trampled a child, it was wiser to keep on going than it was to stop. If the crowd caught you they might beat you so badly as to maim you for life. If you stopped and offered money to the parents the payment expected could have ruined you anyway and you still were open to a beating. It was probably situations like this that might have produced the idea of public indemnity insurance. But what is really forgotten here? The well being of anyone is first their own responsibility though a childs safety is also the responsibility of its parents. As harsh as it is, after the child the parents must be blamed for not protecting their child adequately. The rider and the horse may have been larger and faster than the child but that in itself is no reason for recompense, even if the rider could afford it.

Compassion is probably the reason public indemnity insurance came into being because compassion is an emotion that does not distinguish between right and wrong. So if a payment can be made on compassionate grounds then public indemnity insurance is a compassionate insurance, not an insurance against irresponsibility.

If you go to a doctor and he gives you the wrong medicine it is your responsibility because you chose that doctor, he didn't choose you. You might get your money back for the visit but it is not an automatic entitlement when an accident happens, because it is an accident. If you have an asbestos related disease, it was an accident even if you had no idea you were in danger. Nobody deliberately tried to kill you. Even if you die it is still your fault for being where the asbestos was because you applied for that job where the asbestos was located. Theoretically a personal insurance policy should cover you against this sort of thing. Only if someone deliberately hurts you should you be able to sue them. If someone crashes into your car accidentally then your insurance should pay for the repairs to your car, not their insurance as it is now. (They do anyway if the causer disappears). And their insurance should pay for their repairs. An accident is an accident. Accidents should carry no responsibility, even if the causer was doing something illegal at the time.

The insurers appear to have got it wrong right from the beginning when they asked the causer of the accident to pay. It is simply because of that there is now a crisis in public indemnity insurance because this way one person is insuring many persons instead of each person looking after themselves by having their own personal insurance. This crisis was always going to happen because of the failure to recognise an accident as being blameless. If someone deliberately caused the damage then they can be sued. As justice is mainly about revenge then it would be less costly to society if much of justice became an insurance matter rather that a criminal one and the victim was adequately compensated by their own insurance cover, if they had it.

This system could also be the basis for a national private superannuation/personal injury insurance weekly contribution scheme that should allow the politicians to get rid of the highly wasteful government run social security pension schemes. Many of these schemes do not have enough money in the kitty to pay the pensions of the next generation of retirees and some might well be already technically bankrupt.

So now would be a good time to sue the Saudi government.

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Primary Fundamental Right.

My Body. My Business.

Bernard W. Palmer, Sydney. Monday 3rd June, 2002. Amended 7th May 2006

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