Disability and Welfare under Monopoly Capitalism
by David Matthews
(Jan 01, 2021)
A historical-materialist analysis of the relationship between disability, the body, welfare, and capitalism is needed in order to further develop a Marxist understanding of disability. In this framework, we can see how the British welfare state, given recent changes to British disability policy, determines who is able-bodied and who is disabled, with this evaluation made in regard to the needs of monopoly capitalism. | more…
Health Care for Profit (Not Health)
A Sick System
by David Matthews
(Apr 01, 2020)
Health Care Under the Knife, a collection of essays under the editorship of Howard Waitzkin, presents a vigorous critique of health within the context of capitalism, examining the extent to which the economy and its relations of production determine how health is socially distributed, the conditions of medical practice, and the structural organization of health systems. Rather than considering health as primarily a biomedical phenomenon and health systems as autonomous institutions, the volume recognizes the intricate fundamental relationship between health and the wider political, economic, and sociological context. | more…
A Theory of Mental Health and Monopoly Capitalism
by David Matthews
(Mar 01, 2020)
Topics: Capitalism Health Inequality Political Economy
Places: Global
As an exposition of capitalism’s contradictions, Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy’s Monopoly Capital remains one of the most influential treatises in Marxist political economy produced in North America. Among Baran and Sweezy’s sociological investigations, they identified the negative consequences of capitalism for mental health, drawing attention to the manner in which the organization of capitalist society conflicted with the essential needs of the individual. | more…
Capitalism and Mental Health
by David Matthews
(Jan 01, 2019)
Topics: Capitalism Health Inequality Political Economy
Places: Europe GlobalUnited Kingdom
The psychoanalytical framework developed by Marxist Erich Fromm strongly challenges the dominant biological and individualistic explanations of the mental-health crisis that is now sweeping the globe. Fromm emphasized that all humans have certain needs that must be fulfilled in order to ensure optimal mental health. It follows that capitalism is crucial to determining the experience and prevalence of mental well-being, as its operations are incompatible with true human need. | more…
The Working-Class Struggle for Welfare in Britain
by David Matthews
(Feb 01, 2018)
The experience of the British working class from the late nineteenth century to the current era of austerity illustrates that for labor, the welfare state is not just a mechanism to enhance the accumulation of capital or reinforce oppression. From the beginning, it was a vital part of the class struggle—and so it remains today. | more…
The Struggle for Shelter
Class Conflict and Public Housing in Britain
by David Matthews
(Sep 01, 2017)
Class conflict, from both below and above, has long shaped the history of housing in Britain. These struggles continue today, as the ravages of neoliberalism have forced public housing once again onto the agenda in the United Kingdom. | more…
The Battle for the National Health Service
England, Wales, and the Socialist Vision
by David Matthews
(Mar 01, 2017)
England and Wales represent two very different, indeed incompatible, approaches to health care. In the former, health care has come under increasing threat from the predatory forces of privatization. In Wales, however, an explicit effort has been made to defend socialist values and formulate them for the twenty-first century, defending and expanding a system that puts the health and well-being of its citizens over profit. | more…
UK Monopoly Capitalism
Applying a North American Brand to Britain
by David Matthews
(Jul 01, 2016)
Places: Americas EuropeUnited KingdomUnited States
During the past decade, persistent excess productive capacity, at levels exceeding at times 25 percent, has blighted the British economy, along with rates of unemployment not experienced for two decades, with the result that a substantial proportion of the economy’s productive resources remain underutilized. Orthodox economic theory often ascribes such phenomena to a lack of capital for investment. However, in the same period, interest rates have been historically low, and the UK corporate sector has accumulated increasing reserves of surplus capital. Clearly, there has been no shortage of capital for investment. The failure to invest stems not from the supply of capital, but instead from the paucity of investment opportunities, suggesting that British capitalism is mired in stagnation. | more…
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