Matters of Serious Concern for Canadians

Who the Economy Should Serve

Across the country, working Canadians, youth and students, and collectives representing every kind of need are fighting against the neo-liberal anti-social offensive and its repercussions on society. The wrecking of social programs has led to an unending deterioration of public services, along with deteriorating wages and working conditions. The matter of who the economy should serve is not discussed at all. A diversionary debate is promoted by governments, media and the parties that form the cartel party system in all the provinces on whether to raise taxes to pay for social services, or cut taxes and reduce spending on social programs. Both sides cite high ideals to deliberately avoid dealing with the role health care, education, public services and social programs play in the socialized economy.

What is obscured is that those who work in health care, social care, education and other social programs all add value to the economy. Their work, which improves the productive capacity of the working class itself, is the origin of value in this sector of the economy, which directly contributes to other sectors. The issue of putting this value back into the economy as investment to meet all that is needed to sustain a modern universal health care, education and public services system at the highest level is never discussed. Moreover, enterprises that directly benefit from the health care their workers receive in the form of greater productivity do not pay for this benefit, meaning that the value created through that health work is not realized. Instead, it is made an individual matter to be paid for privately, or must be funded from the public purse and sourced from taxation.

Not only does this "debate" feed the notion that health, education and social care services are a "cost and a burden" to the "real economy," but it also serves to hide the fact that the private sector actually recognizes this wealth creation in the public sector and social programs. This is why oligopolies linked to health care, pharmaceuticals, seniors' care and related fields take over public services so as to realize for themselves the wealth created in health care, social care, education and other social programs. Such privatization of public services drastically reduces the amount of services to the people and makes people pay for them through taxes or direct income. It is also well recognized that the media, governments and the parties that form the cartel party system do not engage in arguments that pit raising taxes against "balancing the books" and eliminating deficits when it concerns funding war and war production, or bailouts to the rich and their interests.

It is important that the value produced by workers in health care, social care, education and all social programs is recognized. It is not possible to organize any aspect of the society without the contribution of the public sector and social programs. In a modern society, no aspect of the economy and of life can function without healthy, educated people and the social programs that contribute to the well-being of society as a whole, including welfare payments, pensions in old age, care for injured workers, programs for women and children, the injured and unemployed and so on.

In a modern society, the health care, social care and education of working people are a vital claim on the wealth created by all of the people in the economy. For the media, governments and parties that form the cartel party system to speak about these social programs being dependent on the balancing of income and outcome of taxation is to obscure the source of wealth available so as to serve other interests, notably that there are any number of pay-the-rich schemes funded by the Treasury. The people have a claim on the whole economy to serve the general interests of society to meet the needs of all for modern public services. This is the way forward that working people fight for. Their claims on society open a path to resolving the crisis in the health service, social care and other social programs.

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 33 - December 28, 2019

Article Link:
Matters of Serious Concern for Canadians: Who the Economy Should Serve


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