The Biomedical Industrial Complex As a Barrier to Social Change: What Can We Do?
Why has the biomedical industrial complex been so successful in leading social workers down this path which obscures the need for social change to reduce inequities? Only if we identify the players and their special interests such as the enormous influence of the biomedical industrial complex can we effectively plan for social change. What questions remain unposed that are vital in pursuit of social change such as: What strategies are used to maintain the status quo? Who benefits by so many foster children being placed on psychotropic medication? How can researchers make inequities and their effects more obvious to advocate for social change?
A format for critically examining related barriers will be provided and participants will have an opportunity to apply this framework to a social change goal and related challenges. This format draws on research concerning environmental contingencies as well as research describing strategies special interest groups use to forward agendas that hinder social change. The format guides each participant through identification of key players (often global) related to a desired change and their interactions, and goals and strategies they use to impede change. These include the creation of doubt and confusion, the creation of fear, minimizing problems clients confront such as health hazards and dangerous working conditions, distortion of disliked positions, repetition of favored views in multiple sources, and censorship of competing views. Countermeasures will be explored including specific ideas for conducting and using research for social change such as making avoidable suffering related to environmental deprivation more visible through use of an Environmental Deprivation Scale completed for each client as a balance to assigning a psychiatric label in practice contexts.