Health, health care and capitalism

According to the widespread interpretation of our days, the huge improvement concerning health affairs over the past 100-150 years is obviously an achievement of capitalism. In fact the relationship between capitalism and health conditions is rather contradictious thus the revolution in public health and later the establishment of universal social security systems often were realized against the active resistance of capitalists. Countries less developed according to capitalist standards or even non-capitalistic ones have also been able to achieve a dramatic improvement in extending life expectancies at relatively low costs. Capitalism is unable to actually solve the stubborn inequality – one of the fundamental reasons of health problems, furthermore is unwilling to raise this question. In the past decades, private capital interest became more and more determining in the operation of the health care system – having the result of increasing inequality in the access to and level of health care services.

The original article in the Socialist Register (Vol. 46), 2010 .