Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Neo-liberalism Killed Grandma

 It's time for our periodical corona-update. There is finally light at the end of the tunnel: since Wednesday next week, we will be allowed to visit "non-essential" stores again, by appointment (which in practice will mean that small stores will just open for everyone). And then, 1 week later, they promise us we'll be able to eat outside in a restaurant!

I already wrote myself down today for one store, others weren't so far with their planning yet. Let me tell you something, not everybody is happy! Some high-placed doctors were so free as to express their discontent with the government publicly. Which naturally leads to some heated discussions, where as usual killing grandma is still used as an argument. (WARNING: don't click on the link, it's very wicked, so there, I have warned you all:)

It's true that corona virus is especially dangerous for older people. However, apart from the ethical question whether it's fair to sacrifice the future of the (relatively) young to save 80+ers, there is something else to consider. Suppose Grandma died from corona, whose fault it really was? Was it because someone walked around without a mask, or spent too much time in the stores, or, Heaven forbid, ate in a restaurant? 

Or was it because the government cut the amount of IC beds more than in half (2300 in 2015 vs 1000 in 2020), there are problems with organising an efficient vaccination campaign and 60% of the hospital staff works part-time

By the way, it's not exclusively the fault of women, as the article implies. I have some 1950/60s pockets about "hospital romance" and an average doctor used to work 60 hours a week, and sometimes more (yes, they were nearly all male). Later, they discovered "work/life balance". It's now quite common to have married couples where both spouses are doctors/health care specialists and work 30 hours per week each. So we now need 2 specialists where previously 1 was enough.

Doctors used to be these noble heroes who would bravely sacrifice themselves for the public good, by entering a cholera barrack in a poor neighbourhood. They were supposed to take risks, just like soldiers do during the war. Yet, later, it just became another well-paid white collar job, while nurses changed from nuns/single women into married mothers who all want to work 2 days a week and have their vacations on time.

It's not exactly their fault, either, it's the way the powers that be have structured our society since at least mid-1970s. 

I dread to think what will happen in 20 more years, when boomers and early Gen-X massively retire, and the male-female balance in health care will shift even further, while more than 50% of the population will be over sixty. Enfin, may be these doctors from Syria we have been importing lately will save us.

On the other hand, with our technical advances, we are artificially keeping people alive who would be dead 60 years ago, after their second heart attack. There is something very wrong with a society where1/3 of the population is in the risk group, and while you can't help getting older, being overweight/obese is your personal choice. 

We also collectively decided that Grandma's place is in an institution, not at home; because taking care of the elderly generally interferes with fun activities, and nursing homes are exactly the places where the most outbreaks regularly take place. 

So to sum it up, who it was that killed Grandma? Was it anyone in particular or is it just the way our society functions nowadays? There is too much market fetishism on the right. Some things, like health care, should be about care and prevention of dangerous diseases, not about profits. So if you want to blame someone, blame neoliberalism. We have tried communism, we have tried capitalism, may be it's time for the third way/populism?


  1. Post-Modernism actually does kill people....chinese communist beliefs do the "face feature" "big brother" thing and then if "grandma" can't handle technology in PUBLIC.....grandma is attacked. Well the reality is that GENOCIDE is going on in that country. Wrong face features and beliefs = attack on pregnant women, exhaustion to the point of actual death with pregnancy.

  2. Well, I think we have enough problems to think about here in the West, without worrying about others. If the Chinese aren't happy, it's up to them to figure out what to do, imo.

  3. I ignored your warning and clicked the video...Wow.

  4. Well....You can't say I DIDN't warn you, lol!

  5. At least here in the US, most doctors want to become a specialist since that is 'where the money is' but there is also the issue of sue happy lawyers on the prowl for malpractice. So now your doctor can not even discuss freely with other colleagues without taking some liability. And besides, why work more overtime when the government swoops in to steal your income and pass it along the 47% who do mostly nothing and expect a handout. Who can blame a professional for wanting to work 30 hours a week if they can? And the government exercises so much control where an honest doctor can't do true medicine without the valuable regulations and rules of both government and the insurance industry.

    I do agree that being overweight is a choice, but the government does little in this area since it promotes carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods. You have to do something with all that extra corn and soy you know.

  6. Obviously, I can't really judge about the situation in other countries since I don't live there. However, things you are complaining about are connected to the government policy, so it again has to do with the way the society is structured, not so much with an individual choice, and that was exactly my point.