In recent years, there has been a proliferation of law suits against pharmaceutical companies for various breaches of conduct including producing contaminated products or those that fail to do what they are purported to as outcomes. "Whistle-blowers", often disgruntled company employees whose complaints go ignored, at times bring these suits. Most recently there was a successful suit brought by the government against GlaxoSmithKline, makers of such drugs as Avandia and Paxil; Pfizer was sued in 2009, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, makers of Abilify, were sued in 2007.

Of interest here is the motivation and intentions of drug manufacturers: wealth and self-aggrandizement. This at the expense of the buying public, which depends upon various drugs for physical and emotional well-being. In reading about these cases I began to wonder how this can occur so often in our society. Is this the default way of being in other societies-- duping the public for profit? This would depend upon where a particular society is in terms of its social evolution.

Many years ago, Dr. Clare W. Graves developed a model of human bio-social evolution. Essentially, in this model which he called, "The Emergent Cyclical Double-Helix Model of Adult Human Biopsychosocial Systems" (Whew! What a mouthful, eh?), he advanced the idea that our society evolves in alignment with our biology. Specifically, as people interact socially in the course of their daily lives, whether it be about health, politics, school, job, sex, marriage, or social issues at large, they advance the social model they are using which gives them greater access to their full biological neuro-potential. And the more sophisticated our society becomes, based on the opportunistic values we hold, the greater the demand for brain resources to be used to operate within that particular "level" of society. This loop between demand and opportunity gives us access to the potential that is present but had been previously unrealized.

What Dr. Graves developed is a model that shows how people produce the specific outcomes in their environments and why different groups of people create different kinds of outcomes in other environments. This is based on the value set they are operating from at any given moment; where people place their attention and the things they find important. When people hold certain values to be dear, essentially it means they pay attention to specific information and not other information-- it's about what they "notice for" or perceive. Perceptions are assigned meaning and then we behave according to those perceptions.  Those in power at drug companies notice for what makes them the most money at the least cost, period.  Even if it means compromising the health and well-being of others (which, essentially, is what these law suits were about).  

As values shift in accordance with our physiology, outcomes then do as well. Graves assigned each of these culturally-evolved stages a number increasing in complexity. Americans have been operating from what you could call a "Graves 5": level as default. A Level Five society is one that seeks and rewards opportunity, while simultaneously allowing the rewards to accumulate for those who most efficiently operate within that system; those who are skilled at exploiting the opportunities present. It's about individual competition, free enterprise, every man for himself.  And so it didn't matter if the waters around the pharmaceutical plant in Puerto Rico were contaminated; it didn't matter if the binding agent broke away from the active ingredient within a capsule, thereby rendering it inert (useless).  What mattered is if the plant produced drugs and those drugs made a killing in the marketplace!

As we continue evolving our values shift. Accordingly, we are gradually moving to what could be called a "Graves 6" society. In this shift of values, equitable distribution and fairness are the operant constructs. Graves 6 involves a shift to where 1) the total resources in the system are distributed as broadly as possible, 2) access to the system’s resources is created for as many people as possible and 3) the total resources available in the system are expanded by exploiting technology to increase the leverage of the resources throughout the system-at-large. Think alternative energy sources to fossil fuels; our broad emphasis on improving education (ie., Race to the top), and the way we respond to disasters; those we often create as a result of operating from Graves 5.

When examined from this template, the behavior of greedy drug company executives, insurance company executives, oil company executives and politicians makes sense. The task, of course is through the consequences that ensue from our egregious behaviors, using more brain power and paying attention to new information, which will lead to embracing different values that lead to more beneficial behaviors... for all of us.