You must be wondering why the Effectiveness-lab of all things, has decided to discuss the vehicle spare tyre. Whenever we have spare parts, including body organs, we do not worry about unwanted stoppages in life. Business and human activity shall not stop. If the intention is to attain uninterrupted human and business activity, then ‘spares’ are fundamental to sustaining life and other activity on earth.
The most common example of the concept of ‘spare’ must be the vehicle spare tyre. Motorists have to be forever thankful to Walter and Tom Davies of Llanelli, Wales, who invented the spare tyre in 1904. When the vehicle was invented, tyres were often punctured by stray horseshoe nails littered all over the then primitive roads in Europe and the USA. It was extremely inconveniencing to demount the tyre, patch the inner tube, inflate, and remount before driving on.
Walter and Tom Davies of Llanelli run a company called Stepney Iron Mongers that supplied spare tyres in Europe and USA. This explains why in countries like Bangladesh, India, and Malta the spare tyre is at times called ‘Stepney’. Carrying a spare tyre saves motorists logistical nightmares.
Ok., now that we all understand the history of the spare tyre, let us ask a fundamental question. Do we always need spares? This question applies to both humans and organisations.
Series one of ‘the spare tyre; when do we need spare?’ blog series discusses the concept of ‘spare’ but from a human lens.
The human body and ‘spare-parts’:
Advancements in medical and computer technology have catapulted the growth of a new industry. An industry that deals in spare parts for human beings. Heart, kidney, liver and other human body part transplants are becoming commoditised. The growth of global medical tourism is giving humans a new lease of life. India, Thailand, and South-Africa are emerging as global leaders in medical tourism
However, medical tourism comes with bioethical questions, related to regulating the growing market for human body parts. While the more subtle word ‘transplant’ is used, the truth is that there has emerged a market in the body parts of human beings. Advancement in medical technology has indirectly provided a fillip to this unique market. Extremely poor people have been forced to sell one of their kidneys to pay their debt.
Are humans usurping from God and the biology of evolution, the power to control the ‘efficacy of an extended life’?
The point to be emphasised in this blog is that the world is fast approaching a point where humans shall control the ‘efficacy of continuity’ of life. We simply can get body spare-parts and continue to live for as long as we want. God (for those that are religious) or the biology of human evolution (for the atheists), no longer hold the monopoly over the ‘efficacy of continuity’ of human life.
There has emerged a ‘disruptor’ to the elusive concept of ‘uninterrupted-life’ for humans. God or the biology of human evolution no longer enjoy the monopoly to issue ‘life-leases’. The increasing urge to commercialise everything is fast catching up with humanity. This is dangerous stuff, is it not?
The Effectiveness-lab gets joy in exploring the limits of effectiveness and efficiency. The concept of human ’spare-tyres’ brings joy to many of us but is riddled with all sorts of danger.
Does having a spare body part, guarantee effectiveness and efficiency in life? When do we call it a day and allow that ultimately, we are not immortal? Should we unnecessarily extend the individual human-lease on mother earth? Who determines the need for me and you to have a spare body part or not? What is the rationale for such a decision?
God and the biology of human evolution no longer have the monopoly to issue life-leases, or we think. Individuals, depending on how deep their pockets are, can buy spare body parts and in effect, life. The complex global economic machine is increasingly influencing who gets an extended lease of life or not. It is now a ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ dynamic. Welcome to the economics of human ‘spare tyres.’
Can we still refer to the right to live for all, when some people can buy spare body parts and others cannot? Who protects those that because of enduring poverty, will forever be tempted to put their body parts and those of their kin to market?
Has humanity started to delve into the sacrosanct, which only God or the biology of evolution should determine? Is humanity bringing bad Karma on itself?
This stuff is scary, is it not? Even us at the Effectiveness-lab may not have the right answers. Perhaps, if humans didn’t meddle too much, we would not have to ask after all.
The simple answer
We suppose it all comes down to asking the questions – when does life become ineffective and inefficient? When do we let go of life?
I was born in Nakabugu village, in Uganda, where we have left matters of life-leases to God or the biology of human evolution. The results are evident, even though not scientifically proven.
We know in this tiny and remote Ugandan village, perhaps forced by our enduring poverty, that human beings are created with a determinate life lease. The aged in Nakabugu will usually not get their leases renewed. At the same time, new leases are awarded to the newly born. In very simple terms, the old amongst Nakabugu folks are replaced by the new.
Moreover, the new are ever more efficient and effective. You would agree with us that younger people are more productive than the old. The young are cheaper to look after than the old. Too much repair and patching up are not good for humans and national economies.
In Nakabugu – we don’t have medical tourism; we don’t have a market for spare body parts and we let God and the biology of evolution deal with the management of life-leases. We are that humble and peaceful.
In pushing the boundaries of the concept of ‘spare’, humans may undermine the critical balance that enables us to live in harmony with mother earth.
Yes, let us acquire spare body parts especially for the young and the old that can sustain effectiveness and efficiency, post spare acquisition. At the same time, we need to accept that we are all mortal and shall ever be.