U.S. and World Politics

DNA—Capitalism’s Genetic Scapegoat

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) web page falsely states that “genetic factors...have a role in causing”…obesity.1

Obesity, which is responsible for the diabetes epidemic, kills thousands every year. Other established medical authorities such as the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic state on their web pages that the causes of obesity include genetics. The CDC also says on its web page that genes do not cause the epidemic of obesity.2

How can genes both cause and not cause our recent epidemics? What is going on here?

First concept

Genetic causality: Genetic diseases are inherited mutations of a single gene in human DNA. They are quite rare according to the World Health Organization.

Genes do not cause obesity, diabetes Type 2, or opioid addiction. “Genetic changes in the human population occur too slowly to be responsible for the obesity epidemic.”3

The “obesity epidemic can be considered a collective response to…environment.”4

This is also true for the recent epidemics of diabetes Type 2 and opioid addiction. Confusion regarding these issues creates the illusion that these new disease epidemics are our destiny over which we have no control. External socio-economic forces, which we can control, are in fact the causes—a profiteering food industry along with pharmaceutical corporations and the medical profession.

Second concept

Our individual susceptibility, vulnerability or risk for any illness or disease, is due to many poorly understood factors, only one of which is our genes. For example, there are over 50 genes associated with obesity, “most with very small effects.”5

Not everyone gets the Flu (Influenza), becomes obese, develops diabetes or an addiction to opioids. We all have differences in susceptibility, vulnerability or risk for any disease. How each person responds to the changes in the environment, only suggests that genes may play a role.

The CDC and medical establishment is clearly misleading the public by confusing and conflating two different concepts concerning genes. In this way they obscure and deflect our attention from the socioeconomic causes of these epidemics. The medical establishment is leading us to believe illness is in our DNA—it is our destiny. We are all victims of our DNA.6

The truth is that we are victims of capitalism and our destiny is to confront and change the socioeconomic forces that cause our modern disease epidemics. The obesity and diabetes epidemics are caused by the profit driven food industry’s introduction of high calorie food and drink. The opioid epidemic was caused by the criminal actions of a pharmaceutical corporation and the criminal negligence of the medical profession.7

We may have no control over our DNA, but we can and should control our environment, which is the major cause of our present epidemics.8

If profit over people capitalism is not working for us we should create another economic system that puts the people’s health first.

Dr. Gordon is a California Family Physician who has written many articles on Health and Politics. He can be reached at:

—March 13, 2018