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Capitalism Case

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Capitalism refers to a social and economic system in which the means of producing and distributing goods, e.g. the land, factories, etc. are privately owned and controlled by a small minority of people-the capitalist class. The work of production is performed by the majority of people-the working class, who earn their wages or services through selling their abilities to capitalists (The World Socialist Movement, 2006). Prices of goods or services are freely set by the market demand and market supply, profits are made if prices exceed the cost of production.

To accumulate capital, capitalists need to increase the surplus value of goods or services sold. The surplus value is the difference between the value of the product produced by labour and the actual price of labour as paid out in wages; it is available to be exploited by the capitalist class as a kind of profit, and is the basis of capital accumulation (Turnbull et al., 2010).

Capitalism is said to be an engine of economic growth as capitalist markets create incentives for risk-taking and innovations. Economic growth increases per capita gross domestic product (GDP), with higher per GDP people have higher standard of living, which in turn, enables better health. According to Engels, however, much of the injury and illness reported was caused by the capitalist organization of social life instead of biological states of individuals (Engels, 1845; 1969).

The following essay will be used to discuss how capitalism produces ill health in four aspects: health of the labour force, equality in health of the society, state intervention on the health system and medical practice. Finally, it will cover some nursing implications that deal with certain kinds of health issues in capitalist societies.



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