MFM E-Letter February 2009 Issue 4

Taking Pulse of the Global Economic Crisis with Chinese Medicine 为全球经济危机把脉

Chinese Medicine is not just a system medicine. It is a methodology of thinking that can apply to all fields. In the current climate of recession, bank failure and unemployment, we can try to understand the complex syndrome that the world is suffering from with the dialectical differentiation methodology used by Chinese physicians to diagnose and treat the patient.

Since the Second World War the growing prosperity of our consumer world has given us a false promise. The advances of the science & technology fuel our dream of a forever growing consumer society. Indeed apart from a few minor crises the world keeps on growing and the creation of credit help the financial world to become a gigantic bubble that reproduces and protects itself, giving the consumer a sense of illusional well-being. With increasing encouragement to consume and spend, the feel good factor is also enhanced by the upward swing of our property values. Regulations in due diligence has been a bureaucratic exercise rather than organic response from within. Finally the bubble is bursting. Chinese medicine sees this as an excessive syndrome turning into a deficient syndrome. Excessiveness, over consumption, short sighted risk and unsustainable growth with high expectation are factors building up into an empty heat of a Yin deficient syndrome according to Chinese medicine. We are now suffering from insomnia and sweating due to empty heat, a deficient spleen that cannot convert nutrients into the blood and energy that the economy requires, and hence emptying the kidney which is becoming a “bad bank” providing us with intangible credit falsely representing the real economy.

By taking the economic pulse and observing the economic tongue the Chinese physician’s diagnosis is definitive. We need to re-balance the Yin & Yang of our economy, bring back harmony by bringing back the age of enlightenment and responsibility. The age of enlightenment means re-addressing the value of our society; encouraging the real economy of productions, innovations, genuine services and the hard work of creating real wealth. We should be discouraging short term risk-taking, especially with other people’s money, and the greedy thoughts that somehow we can get rich without creating concrete values that are beneficial to society. We should be building a culture of positive energy in an enlightened age. Laziness that let other people do the hard work and we just enjoy the fruits of their labour will no longer be tolerated. The age of enlightenment also means a good society is not just an economic pursuit – our cultural, artistic, and intellectual enlightenment should take equal importance beyond a consumer society. The age of enlightenment also means educating our children and taking care of our weak & old in society. These are the social quality that will enhance our possibility of entering an age of new knowledge of our universe and new consciousness of our being.

The age of Responsibility means a new culture of self-regulation and moral responsiveness in all sectors of our society. This includes enterprises, financial institutions in which such sense of responsibility becomes the moral fibre necessary for leadership. Self-conscious regulation works better than regulations from governmental authorities. We must bring back the value of trust and sense of service to society. Money motivated bonus culture and short term self-interest should be discouraged in all sectors of our economy.

The above treatment strategy is focusing on two basic ideas: First, we should treat the root cause and not the symptoms by putting our energy into stimulating our real economy, addressing the imbalance of our deficient economy and helping real businesses and the hard-working people that contribute to society. Merely injecting capital into the badly managed banks and institutions that sell empty financial products and instruments, will further enlarge the credit bubble. Artificially stimulating consumption is treating the symptoms rather than the cause of illness in our economy. Instead, the huge stimulus package of trillions should be put into good use by focusing it onto real demands and not adding more toxins to the black holes of “bad banks”.

The second is taking a holistic approach. A Chinese physician knows that the body is inter-connected. The failure of one organ affects all the other organs. A physician’s journey in holism understands that inter-connectivity is not just within the human body, but also the body’s relationship with external environment. In Chinese medicine if the liver is stagnated then the spleen and kidney will become deficient, and the heart together with the mind will be affected. The economy of America has been stagnated by over consumption beyond their means and the enormous debts created by the collapse of house prices and financial institutions. This has created problems to other economies including Europe and China. Globalisation makes us more inter-dependent on each other. A real solution to the global economic crisis has to be holistic in approach. In this perspective, global integration becomes more than necessary to repair our global economy. Co-ordinated action in every part of our world will be required for us to recover from our crisis. Protectionism as advocated by some countries is a totally wrong approach in treating the world economy. Unemployment in America or Europe also means unemployment in China or India. The 70,000 factory closures in China means no more low cost goods to western consumers. A holistic treatment is needed to take into consideration the welfare of all countries and furthermore the interests of our natural environment on which all our well-being depends.

A country’s economic sustainability needs to take into account the benefits of international trade and exchange. A modern economy is a holistic one in which regional prosperity is part of global prosperity. A balance in the distribution of wealth is not only good for a country but also good for the world. Economic holism means an economic development based on the notions of “regionality with a global perspective” and “self-interest is world interest”.

We must challenge our world leaders with new ideas and moral responsibility to build a new world order. Curing the malaise of our economy will also further stimulate the evolution of our human intellect. Whether you are in the East or in the West, we cannot keep on feeding the “dead horse” of the old system. We must now innovate, integrate and find a holistic solution to our problems. We are at a historic milestone of entering the age of a globalised civilization. At the same time we are facing accelerating cosmic shifts as our scientists are predicting.

Let us take a deep breath, and begin our works… …

Man Fong Mei
14th Feb. 2009
Reflections in Regent’s Park, London

THE MFM E-LETTER expresses the personal view of Professor Man Fong Mei on health, medicine and other East-West intellectual issues. He is currently the Chairman of the Chinese Medical Institute and Register (CMIR)Chairman of The Chinese Medical Council, UKCMC, and Executive Chairman, Consultative Working Committee of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS). Professor Mei has published and delivered numerous papers in the past two decades. He is also a professor and visiting professor at three Chinese medical universities and an active member of several medical specialty research committees. If you are interested in receiving future issues of the MFM E-Letter, please visit to subscribe for free.

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梅万方教授现任英国伦敦中医学院院长、英国中医管理委员会主席、世界中医药学会联合合工作咨询委员会执行主席。近二十年以来,发表和出版了大量的学术报告与文章,并担任国内三所医药大学的教授,同时参与数个医药专业研究机构的工作。MFM电子通讯表达了梅教授在健康、医药和其他中西文化思维方面的相关观点。 如果您对他的电子通讯感兴趣,欢迎点击这里免费订阅。

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