Marxism and health care

More than just kings and queens — the Marxist view of history by Naomi Byron Why study history? This is because capitalism is a class society, based on the exploitation of the working-class the majority of the population by the capitalist class a small minority of the population who own and control industry and financial institutions, and dominate governments and the political establishment. We are told that capitalism is the best way of organising society; that socialism is impossible.

Marxism and health care

Two modes are feudalism and capitalism. In a society where there is no social provision for health, such as that in pre Britain, and which the dominant thinking is that all goods and services should be provided by private individuals rather than governments, then it is very difficult to think of a national health service paid for by taxes.

This idea came about as part of the class struggle in industrial Britain when workers who could not afford to pay for doctors, finally got around to demanding health care irrespective of ability to pay. In the United States many people have accepted the idea that state provision for health is akin to Marxism and communism.

The anti-Obama rhetoric on this issue is very clear on this point. Those with an interest in private medicine and those with a visceral hatred of state provision for anything, mounted a very successful campaign tapping into ordinary Americans love of individuality and scepticism about state involvement.

The form of the social relationships of production, e. In the modern industrial era, this relationship is characterised by who owns and controls capital the main means of production and who does not and only has their labour to sell.

This gives us the second concept: This suggests that if an understanding is required as to why we have the laws we do, the social relationships we have, the politics that are played out, the forms of artistic production and expression, and the health care systems that are in place, we have to understand our material existence based on the economic mode of production.

Hitherto, philosophers have sought to understand the world

This material existence includes the opposition of social classes that, through conflict and struggle in relationship to each other, gives rise to a new social order that in time may itself be challenged.

The sort of society you get results from the interplay of these two classes. The dominant class in any historical era gets to set the agenda.


However, as the forces of production change with the development of new technologies for example, this impacts on the social relations of production, thus eventually changing the mode of production. This change of mode of production from feudalism to capitalism for example is not inevitable.

Marx realised however that capitalism was an extremely dynamic mode of production capable of unleashing upon the world social and technological revolutions never before seen or experienced. Historical Materialism is the application of dialectic materialism to history and sociology.

It is the view that social, political, artistic and cultural life is determined mainly by the material facts of economics and the forms of social relationships thus created, and not God or by human reasoning alone.

The health care system within capitalism results from this dialectical interplay between the social classes. Capitalism has now provided technologies and advances which allow for many different relationships and forms of health care to emerge, but at its heart is the relationship between its social relations of production: The exact nature of the health system differs from country to country, but it results from whichever social force is best able to set the agenda.

If private sector corporations can influence Nation States to allow them to provide health services for a profit they will do so. If working class, i. In the UK, private sector corporate interests have successfully introduced market forces into a publicly funded state health system.

In the United States, private sector health interests have blocked anything but the most basic of public funding for health. A defining characteristic of capitalism, Marx suggested, is that it alienates man from himself, from the true nature of work, from others and from nature. Alienation is suggested as a third concept in understanding modern existence, especially in terms of mental health and ideas of well-being.

Anyone who only has their labour, skill or knowledge to sell in return for a wage or salary may reflect on the alienated meaning of their existence.Table of Contents. Vic Biorseth, Tuesday, July 30, This webpage was inspired by comments from John of Escondido, California, whose motivating comments can be seen after the Of Lies and Liars webpage.

John recommended an "executive summary" of each webpage, which seemed at first to present a daunting task. In a society where there is no social provision for health, such as that in pre Britain, and which the dominant thinking is that all goods and services should be provided by private individuals rather than governments, then it is very difficult to think of a national health service paid for by taxes.

As defined by World Health Organization (WHO), it is a "State of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Health is a dynamic condition resulting from a body's constant adjustment and adaptation in response to stresses and changes in the environment for maintaining an inner .

Marxism has always been at the forefront of the cause of women's emancipation. The 8th of March (International Women's Day) is a red letter day for us as it symbolises the struggle of working class women against capitalism, oppression and discrimination throughout the world.

Marxism and health care

H ealth and social care provision around the globe is in crisis. Over a decade of neoliberalist health policy has reduced services to near breaking point. In the UK the pace of the attacks on the practice and principles of the NHS has accelerated markedly over the past three years, culminating in Tory manifesto promises to slice off great slabs of it for immediate privatisation.

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“Class, Race and Marxism” by David R. Roediger is a scholarly collection of articles that expertly frames the struggles of our times. Professor Roediger is an activist, educator and writer who offers an invaluable Marxist perspective.

What Is Marxism? The Marxist view of history