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Sickness and Wealth: The Corporate Assault on Global Health

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2005

    Globalisers' assault on National Health Services

    Even the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) now admit that divisions within and between nations are growing. Recent US studies show that greater inequality is linked to increased mortality rates, violent crime, poor educational outcomes, teenage pregnancies and obesity. The facts are familiar. But what to do? The editors of this collection of essays claim that we need ¿the establishment of people-centred solidarity networks across the world ¿ a global movement for health and social justice. ¿ By globalizing the struggle, we can all create a different world ¿¿ This is Trotsky¿s `permanent revolution¿, that you can¿t have a revolution unless everyone has one ¿ which equals, you can¿t have a revolution. Workers need to oppose these promoters of globalisation just as much as we need to oppose its more obvious agents like the IMF, the World Trade Organization and the European Union. The authors deplore `the extraction of human capital from Africa during the slave trade¿, but accept today¿s similar extraction of skilled labour. The Blair government, in true colonial fashion, strips developing countries of their skilled people, their most precious asset, robbing Zimbabwe for example of more than half its trained nurses. Countries should follow Cuba¿s example, where those trained in Cuba have to work either there or in a less developed country, and they take from no country which is short of doctors and nurses. Of the 21 contributors to this collection, 15 are American academics ¿ not one of whom identifies herself as a member of a trade union. These latter-day missionaries and do-gooders are telling the health workers of all nations not to make revolution in their own country but to become `global health activists¿. Health workers don¿t need `the establishment of people-centred solidarity networks across the world¿ or `a global movement for health and social justice¿. We need strong trade unions rooted in their working classes. Workers need to defend and develop national heath services, defend public planned health care, defend jobs and industries, and strengthen our trade unions. The Cuban people have vastly improved their health, not by `globalizing the struggle¿, but by making revolution in their own country.

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