Since the inception of TSB, on numerous occasions fellow bloggers have questioned and opined as to the decaying state that has become a standard within our industry. To many of our readers' surprise, this standard is a by product of something much larger that has infected our society. Our country has evolved from an agrarian society, into the industrial revolution, to Silicon Valley, and today, we live in a predatory environment. If man behaves rationally, and markets can be contested, information sufficient, corporations or man's conduct would be honorable. The industry like the world is ruled by a monied elite. Retrospectively, history has, and will prove that regulated capitalism yielded prosperity for everyone. Today, the signature of our industry is not competition but predation. Essentially, we work in an industry where one organism captures and feeds on another, the equivalent of a zero-sum market. Those companies that are willing to bend the rules by featuring consultancies, setting up physician owned distributorships, or being outright unethical, are complicit in contributing to a decaying industry. These are the defining features of the spine industry, if not the leading force. The aforementioned features are what we deliver to our customers.
In a predatory environment, nothing is done to benefit the public or the patient. In a predatory environment, the rules of economics and law do not apply. There is no discipline. Predators compete by not following the rules but by breaking them at every opportunity that presents itself. If it's okay for the Street to be predatory, why can't we behave that way? Rules are not designed to guide our behavior, they exist to define the limits of unpunished conduct. A good example would be fake consultancies. It becomes easy to step over the line, once you get near it. We foster and reward bad behavior. So who is responsible for this type of behavior? It is the CEO's and executive management teams at every company, whether you are a legacy or a start-up company. Yet, there is a consequence for this type of behavior, invariably, you fail. Predators suck the life out of any business. So in closing, how do we re-establish some normalcy in spine? How do we establish some checks and balances, that lead us back to some purpose beyond cutting the deal, and making millions of dollars. As we approach NASS, maybe it would behoove the governing body to sit down and perform some due diligence on the current state of spine, before it's too late. TSB wants to know what our readers think?