Privatisation of healthcare and the Left
The editorial by Dr Sanjay Nagral on the AMRI fire (1) does not, amongst other things, point out the complicity of politics (in this case of the CPI(M) party and the Left Front government) with the private sector (in this case, the private health sector). It also does not point out the neglect of the health sector (‘retreat of public health institutions’) during the three decades of CPI(M) rule. Both issues have been widely reported by the media. There is an underlying assumption in the current Left discourse that the privatisation of the health sector and the withdrawal of the public sector in health in India is a result of the LPG (liberalization-privatization-globalization) policy. Here is the example of both happening under the blessings of a Left government. This has got implications for social analysis.
Secondly it has taken mostly philosophical analysis to bring to the fore the power of images. In contemporary times the work of Jean Baudrillard, amongst others, comes to mind. The powerful use of images and simulations in late capitalism has been highlighted by his work. Hence it takes philosophical analysis and not commonsensical understanding to unearth the complexity of the enchantment of modernity.
Moreover, many of the questions raised by the author regarding safety issues and Indian society resonate in existing analyses (both from the Left and the Right) of the continued failure of the ‘welfare state’ in India and the developing world. The questions raised by the author are very familiar – they become pertinent only when they indicate the need for a hard-nosed class-based analysis and (behind that) a civilisational analysis of the situation. It is only a complex of rigorous Marxist analysis and a comprehension of the socio-cultural and moral trajectory of a society or civilization which can give sensibility to the questions raised.
Parthasarathi Mondal, Assistant Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, VN Purav Marg, Deonar, Mumbai 400 088 INDIA e-mail: [email protected]
- Nagral S. Fire in a hospital, Indian J Med Ethics, 2012 Apr-Jun; 9(2): 76-7.