What is it about?

The concept of “neoliberalism” values free market competition and advocates for market-oriented reforms with intentions to cut government spending via privatization. Following World War II and the Great Depression, this concept progressively seeped into major global economies. But in the healthcare sector, instead of providing an advantage, it appears to have worsened conditions considerably. This chapter from the book A COVID Charter, a Better World examines how this ideology has influenced healthcare in the United States, United Kingdom, and areas of Latin America, including Mexico and Colombia. It explored how marketization in healthcare, taken together with rising inequality, had set the stage in these countries for gross failure with respect to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Why is it important?

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite having benefited tremendously, given their top-notch research facilities and pharmaceutical dominance, world powers like the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union have accumulated some of the greatest numbers of cases and deaths worldwide. Partly owing to the economic dominance of these countries, other countries like Mexico and Columbia have also suffered similarly. If we are to prevent catastrophes such as this in the future, it is imperative that we understand what it is that caused the mishandling of the pandemic at this scale and how it can be changed. Economic structures take a large portion of the blame. KEY TAKEAWAY Inaccessible treatments and huge out-of-pocket expenses for the under-privileged reflect how miserably the capitalist-driven healthcare sector has failed. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid this bare unlike ever before and provided the world with an opportunity to pave the path to equality, in which the wealthy do not prosper at the expense of the poor.

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This page is a summary of: 1 Before the Crisis, May 2021, Rutgers University Press, DOI: 10.36019/9781978827493-002.
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