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A stark narrative: Workers who build hospitals 'often die' without access to health services

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* 

Capitalism has managed to establish a perverted society where the individuals who construct homes often endure homelessness, those who produce food often go to bed hungry, and those who build roads frequently lack a footpath to walk for themselves. Moreover, individuals involved in constructing schools, colleges, and universities find that their own children lack access to quality education.
Similarly, the workers who build hospitals often die without access to health services. The most meaningful workers live in slums often branded as bastions of crime. These stark narratives and disparities underscore the profound inequalities inherent in capitalist society, where access to basic necessities like housing, health, education, and food is not guaranteed, despite the abundance of resources and wealth generated by the very people who face crisis and live in a marginalised condition while few enjoy the privileges of capitalism.
The perverted capitalist society and its every day realities illustrate how essential contributors to societal infrastructure and services often face deprivation and exclusion from the very benefits they help create. The disparity between labour and its rewards underscores the profound injustices ingrained within capitalist systems, where the distribution of resources and opportunities remains skewed.
In such a society, the disconnect between labour and its fruits raises fundamental questions about fairness and human dignity. It calls into question the sustainability of an economic model that prioritises profit over people, leaving workers vulnerable to the harsh realities of poverty, hunger, and inadequate access to essential services like education and healthcare.
In this capitalist society, the labour of individuals engaged in constructing homes is often undervalued and inadequately compensated, leaving many of them unable to afford stable housing for themselves and their families. Meanwhile, agricultural workers, responsible for cultivating and harvesting the food that sustains communities, may struggle to put food on their own tables due to low wages and precarious employment conditions.
The marketisation and commodification of society within capitalism have played a significant role in creating the conditions of everyday alienation for the masses. In a capitalist system driven by market forces, almost everything, from housing and food to education and healthcare, becomes commodified -- that is, turned into goods or services that can be bought and sold for profit. This commodification extends beyond material goods to essential aspects of human life and dignity.
Housing is treated as a commodity to be bought and sold for profit, leading to inflated prices and housing insecurity for many. Similarly, food production becomes geared towards maximising profit rather than ensuring universal access to nutrition, leaving many to suffer from hunger and malnutrition.
The basic services like education and healthcare, which are vital for personal development and well-being, become subject to market forces. The privatisation and commercialisation of education and healthcare often result in unequal access, with those who can afford to pay receiving better quality services while others are left underserved or excluded altogether.
The marketisation and commodification of society exacerbate inequalities and prioritise the accumulation of wealth over the fulfilment of basic human needs. In such a system, the value of goods and services is determined by their market price rather than their inherent social or human value, leading to a distorted and often unjust distribution of resources and opportunities.
These issues are not normal but created by the capitalist system. It requires questioning the underlying assumptions of capitalism and reimagining economic and social systems that prioritise human well-being and equity over profit maximisation.
The growth of capitalism since its inception has profoundly reshaped society, giving rise to various forms that have left lasting impacts on individuals, families, states, and societies across the globe. From its early stages to its contemporary manifestations, capitalism has wielded significant influence, moulding social structures and cultural norms in ways both profound and complex.
These transformations have not only altered economic landscapes concomitant with the requirements of capitalism but also engendered shifts in cultural values, political ideologies, and interpersonal relationships shaped by the values of mass consumerism for the growth of market for profit.
The global trajectory of capitalism has led to the establishment of what some perceive as a distorted or perverted version of society. As wealth disparities widen and power becomes concentrated in the hands of a few, critiques of capitalism argue that it has engendered inequalities, exploitation, and alienation among individuals and communities.
This distorted societal framework challenges notions of fairness, justice, and human flourishing, prompting calls for alternative economic models and social arrangements that prioritise equity, sustainability, and collective well-being.
These troubling realities of everyday marginalisation of masses highlights the fundamental flaws of a capitalist system that prioritises profit over human well-being and perpetuates cycles of poverty and deprivation. It underscores the urgent need for systemic change to address the root causes of inequality and ensure that all members of society have access to the essentials for a dignified and fulfilling life.
As people confront these injustices in their everyday lives, it becomes imperative to advocate for systemic change that prioritizes the well-being of all individuals and ensures that the benefits of labour are shared equitably. This necessitates a re-evaluation of the economic priorities and a commitment to building a society where everyone could thrive and access the resources they need for a dignified and fulfilling life.
This may involve basic reforms to regulate markets, promote social welfare, and ensure universal access to essential goods and services, ultimately striving towards a more just and equitable society.
Such a perverted capitalist society, moulded by profit driven capitalist market, systematically erodes the very fabric of social cohesion, rendering individuals as isolated and atomised beings, bereft of meaningful connection. This societal structure not only diminishes communal bonds but also engenders a pervasive sense of loneliness, exacerbating the fragmentation of human relationships and weakening the collective foundations upon which society thrives.
In such a perverted capitalist society, shaped by alienation, the very 'social' foundations of society are undermined, leading to atomised individuals as 'lonely beings'. Therefore, capitalism can never offer any form of alternatives or platforms to reform itself. The struggle to end capitalism is the only alternative to reclaim the social foundations of society, economy, culture, and life.
*University of Glasgow, UK



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