Canadian semi-public health care

The problem with Canadian health care is not that it is too socialized. It is that it is too capitalist. It places too high a priority on delivering profit to doctors and hospitals. Indirectly, this works out pretty well for those consumers who have pronounced medical-intervention requirements, and thus can serve as profit-delivery vehicles to doctors and hospitals.

In the US, by comparison, only rich people can serve as profit-delivery vehicles to doctors and hospitals, so the advantage of the US’s extreme, conservative-liberal medical market regime is that rich consumers deliver the fattest profits to the doctors, so that some doctors in the US, the ones with the richest medical consumers, can get FAT rich. On the other hand, the Canadian system controls pharmaceutical rents. US policy favors pharmaceutical sales reps’ power over doctors. And HMOs take rents and provide another layer of market domination over US doctors.

However, this is not to say that Canada’s is a fully-developed health care system for humans. It’s medicine, triaged for capitalist requirements. Because Canada is liberal.

If you are not regularly sick or requiring physical relief and readjustment, then you are excluded from the Canadian health care system. You can’t deliver steady money to doctors and hospitals, then you are likely to not be able to access a doctor. You have to rely on continuing exercise, good food, luck, and, if you’re an adult with a little income or wealth, affordable physiotherapy. This is not too much different from Americans, though the adult access to effective, affordable physiotherapy is superior in Canada, and is an okay skeletal (ha! see what I did there?) health care system for usually-healthy adults.

However, normally-healthy Canadians often do not have access to doctors for health monitoring (eg. through childhood development or changes through aging) and consultation, nor for treatment of unusual, fleeting, or minor diseases and injuries, however much these may impact the body’s structural integrity and development. Thus, without exposure in their practice, Canadian doctors are not as adept at identifying health issues that crop up amongst a generally-healthy population. Canadian doctors tend to become experts in cancer, heart care, and broken bones. Neither liberal subject, Canadian or American, has decommodified access to dental care. This is to say that bodily structural integrity and development is never a right nor a priority in a liberal-conservative regime.

But if your luck runs out in a way that is a fast, explosive emergency (broken bones, cancer, heart events), then unlike most Americans, Canadian citizenship includes social protection in those emergencies, as access to medical treatment. And because the sick and differently-abled have access to medical intervention regardless of their own private wealth, Canada has better control over infectious diseases.

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Aziz Rana’s Internationalist Platform

Aziz Rana’s (2019) policy-development prescription (somewhat reformulated by me) for Justice Dems and labor organizers, as a polity-challenger coalition:

1) Labor organizing, building networks capacitating internationalist immigrant organizing leadership.

Problem: “The overwhelming tendency–and not just on the Right–is to present immigration as an issue that begins at the national border, with virtually no attention paid to the particular histories, international economic pressures, and specific US foreign policy practices that generate migration patterns” (Rana 2019).

2) Democratic budgeting exercises reworking the security state budget, to demonstrate popular capacity to democratize foreign policy, and to reintegrate foreign and domestic policy beyond the shallow, corporate-military “America First” working-class appeasement campaign.
3) Policy ideas for transitioning the US from overgrown military keynesianism on behalf of global capitalists to a wealth-circulating, democratic-tech developing, social reproductive economy appropriate to an “overdeveloped” (rentier capitalist) economy.
4) Develop trade policy with constraints on transnational property rights, linked to the domestic economy via enforced labor and environmental standards throughout supply chains, as well as policing redirected toward repatriating (sharing across production-impacted countries) excess profits and other private accumulation stockpiles.
I would add:

5) Organizing needs to address the great portions of the American working class materially and symbolically co-opted by the capitalist security state, particularly guard labor and owners of marginal businesses. These are the American working class, herded by right wing orgs and socially- subsidized into supporting global, militarized rents extractivism at the astronomical cost of global, social and environmental destabilization. Besides designing and investing in a democratic social reproductive economy to reincentivize this working class population, how can as many as possible of these co-opted working-class Americans be reorganized into supporting a transition to democracy, demilitarization, and a social reproductive economy? David Graeber’s lesson in “Army of Altruists” (2007) can be a starting point in organizing strategy: People want to work together for a great purpose.

6) Required: an assessment of policing and military capacity to tolerate v. oppose advancement to a democratic economy and polity in the US. Assessment needs to include an inventory of tools of suppression at police and military disposal.

7) Required: an assessment of the implications of US demilitarization and democratization on international investors, private and state, and their capacity to tolerate v. oppose, including an inventory of tools of suppression at their disposal.

8) Required: an assessment of antidemocratic imperial state partners’ capacity to tolerate v. oppose US demilitarization and democratization, including an inventory of tools of suppression at their disposal.

9) Note that the fight for social democracy in Sweden required that political organizers concentrate on building unions and a union confederation across the country for three decades before launching into the polity with a political party.

This planning sketch recognizes that much of finance-organized capital, as well as the conservative-Catholic US judiciary, and most of the polity are organized against democratic development. As well, it also recognizes historical structural shifts, including those identified by Rana, that can enable organizing toward stymied social, economic, and political democratic emancipation.

The carceral core

the carceral state 21st c

From Bauman, Valerie. 2018. “Incarceration vs. education: America spends more on its prison system than it does on public schools,” The Daily Mail, 25 October.

We all contribute to society

The anti-BI (Basic Income) argument is that a social wage will a) inadequately replace the welfare state (‘turn everyone into a shopper’), b) will alienate workers from each other, c) is a new capitulation to capitalist control over the surplus, d) would be expensive. Even though BI doesn’t require much institutional capacity, (d) is an issue, given Anglo-American (inter alia) states don’t tax capital and redistribute wealth domestically anymore. Excepting (d), these objections assert an incredible novelty. I mean unbelievable.

Also, BI antagonists argue, against Marx (per Scarry 1985), that work under capitalist conditions is all making, not unmaking, so needs to be the ideal. For example, not unlike both Adam Smith and slavers, BI opponents argue that any form of work compulsion is psychologically beneficial and imparts executive skills development to workers. Such a “Protestant Ethic” framework failure to differentiate developmental making from stunting unmaking in work conditions (All work is a “calling” in the Anglo-American Protestant Ethic, though some “callings” are more aligned with God than others, as we can tell by income.) is an analytical misstep without much valid empirical evidence for it, but with grave social, economic, and political consequences.

Looking at the MB (Dauphin) BI experiment, as studied by economist Dr. Evelyn Forget, I remain unconvinced that anyone should be against Basic Income. It is not revolution, and it does not semi-decommodify humans as social democracy does, but it accomplishes one crucial decommodifying innovation that restores the substantive idea of democracy: It institutionalizes the idea that everyone within a territory contributes to society; it commits the state to recognizing territorial citizenship. In our long era of neoliberalization, this is a radical step. In our long era of neoliberalization, we have totally abandoned and lost track of any conceptualization of substantive territorial citizenship in favor of substantive, global capitalist class citizenship and a marginal remainder of thin, fragile, extensive territorial citizenship, heavily constrained by the carceral state and market.

Moreover, in transferring money directly to citizens, BI could reduce the development of a disciplinary, rentier surveillance and management “social work” bureaucracy, the central anxiety of twentieth century conservative and liberal champions of liberty. (Though conservatives also effectively organized to remove social workers’ capacity to form sovereign coalitions with clients and the public for liberatory social change. At least BI would not feed the easy moral-economy accommodation romantic post-structuralists made under conservative organizers’ hegemony.) The downside is that, instead of redirecting labour to social work, BI would continue to permit the publicly-funded persistence of the even-more disciplinary, multi-layered, public-private guard, police, and military corps, a leviathan rentier layer no conservative economist seems to object to.

From B-I, anything could be done, just as anything could be done from the current sorry state. Shouldn’t we be fighting for territorial citizenship rights and institutions? Shouldn’t we be strategizing how to collectivize B-I?

Junk Jobs

“(W)e used BLS stats (US) to estimate the extent to which the
structure of the labour force is shifting towards the modern equivalent of ‘lumpenproletariat’ or more contingent and least-paid occupations. Our estimates indicate that its modern equivalent in the US could account for as much as 40%-45% of the labour force; around half of incremental growth and low productivity occupations constitute ~70% of employment.

The same trend is evident in most other developed economies. Indeed these estimates understate the real impact due to lower benefits attached to these occupations; inability to secure jobs in line with qualifications or erosion of job and income stability.

Investors might argue that this is just a reflection of an accelerated shift towards services and that new higher value jobs will eventually emerge. We agree but as societies in the 19th century discovered, eventually could be a very long time.

What are the investment implications? As discussed in our prior notes, we believe investors are entering a world where the pendulum is swinging rapidly in favour of the state, as a multiplier of demand, provider of capital and setter of prices. We also believe that we are entering the age of de-globalization.”

Macquarie Research, “What caught my eye” V. 61.

See also: Citibank’s Plutonomy Report (2005).

 

Cosmopolitanism v. Internationalism

Cosmopolitanism’s Fascist Bogeyman under the Bed v. Internationalism’s Fight against Slavery

Even the LRB (September 2, 2018)  tries to cash in on the fretting over fascism industry. Anglo-Americans are in a terrible place to understand fascism, which they understand as an ahistorical shrek that materializes out of nowhere. England won’t go fascist, nor will the US, because they’re slavery societies. They’ve already been up to something horrible that’s not curable with elite moral cosmopolitanism, and even though foreign leaders and media don’t like Trump’s negotiation and discursive style, it’s all just going on business as usual, drifting and lurching back into the slavery. People fret over fascism because they’re unwilling to acknowledge slavery and the persistence of slavery institutions (police and guard jobs, carceral infrastructure, criminalization of everything, surveillance, war, ***shitty*** public goods and services–shitty because slavery societies, unlike fascist societies, are not pursuing rivalristic regional modernization) and how they’re as awful as fascism, look a helluva lot like fascism, and it’s a nice distraction to imagine a new fascism, a church-and-Clear Channel mobilized army of Midwestern American failed small businessmen and factory workers with German backgrounds following their blood destiny to the endless horror of coastal meritocrats of better ethnic extraction, and as confirmed chiefly by Commonwealth allusions to contemporary Indian fascism. So you have to hold your breath past the hagiographic liberal stylings of David Runciman reporting on latter day Obama propaganda. And then what the hell. I like 70% of what Pankaj Mishra dishes out, but he apparently decided to cash in with a fascism fret book that starts out with the completely invalid, anachronistic premise that Rousseau was the progenitor of Trump or the “Palin People” because Rousseau’s side was losing at the time?, and so he was mad?, and in no way were the artistocratic ladies of Europe all in love with him and citing his democratic Enlightenment ideas, thwarting elite solidarity, which helped considerably to advance democratic institutions?, and to point out that elite liberty is not human liberty is purely an emotional act of romantic resentment as opposed to a clear analysis? Because there is any sense at all in mis-citing Nietzsche–Nietzsche!–as a dispassionate authority on Rousseau, when you can just read Rousseau? So much bullshit. Let me ask you this: If the Palin People and the Brexiteers are the unique source of Untruth, why must liberals champion anachronism?

Capitalist Global Equality

Per Milanovic (2002:52), a direct implication of globalization is “that national borders are becoming less important, and that every individual may, in theory, be regarded simply as a citizen of the world.”

That is the perspective, or rather flattering comms, of capital, not the felt, embodied, epigenetic experience of social hierarchy, which economics has nothing to say about.

It extrapolates Anglo-centric history to presume that states (and their borders) are absolutely, always, everywhere the exclusive property of the capitalist class.

The Role of Social Regulation in Imperial Expropriation

“(A)t its center, British identity was informed by a critical dichotomy between the ideal of commerce as part of the civilizing process and the actual conditions of commercial growth in the imperial zone…an Augustan order based on politeness, good taste, and manners was at odds with the logic of economic development in the empire, which demanded total control and brutal governance–and slave labor” (Simon Gikandi 2014: 52).

Conservative Idea: Cosmopolitan Citizenship

Martin Prak’s “Citizens without Nations” is about how citizenship beyond cosmopolitanism wasn’t necessary in the pre-revolutionary era. Apparently, he makes the point that the French Revolution disrupted urban citizenship.

In response, I think of:

I) how a) uneven urban citizenship has continued to exist alongside uneven regional and national citizenship; and b) how the mercantilist town businessmen of Norway oppressed the Norwegians in the countryside in the 17th-19th century, to the point where rural Norwegians were forced to join a multi-pronged, strategic, fundamentalist religious movement in order to organize collectively and shed their constraining peasant culture.

II) We need to examine policy and law to validly categorize what KIND of citizenship states protect. For example, the Anglo-American states protect global capitalist citizenship with a suite of private property and negative rights. Anglo-American states, as David Abraham has analyzed, only residually protect territorial residents’ citizenship rights.