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Sep 21, 2009

A Personal Experience in Socialized Medical Care

In the US a medical problem would never have been addressed so easily or cheaply!  It is after hours.   A problem necessitates an immediate visit.  A call to the doctor, whose office is across the street, brings him in from his weekend for an appointment in two hours.  He cheerfully opens the office, makes the exam, proscribes an inexpensive herbal medicine and heads back to the golf course; cost: €21 (about $30). This is not the government-subsidized rate for Austrians, but the full rate for foreigners.  This is how the system is set up.

A taste of the American system can be had two doors down at the pharmacy.  An Austrian citizen pays no more than about $8 for any medicine, however expensive it is.  Meanwhile foreigners who are not covered under the state plan are subject to whatever the drug company wants to charge.  Like almost $1 each for aspirin!

And I'm sure one will never hear this discussed in the current debate: In Austria the doctors have offices among the people, like the bakaries and coffee shops, not in some gleaming insitution.  It feels like visiting a neighbor rather than a corporate headquarters.  That is purely an esthetic observation, but in the case of one's health I think it makes an enormous difference.
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.