This paper examines how medical practice, like all other productive activities, has been subject to the transformative elements of the forces and the relations of production involving class struggle and intra-class conflict. It will explore changes in the relations of production of medical practice which have been catalyzed by powerful productive forces. The current period of medical production involves the transformation of simple commodity production into a transitional stage of capitalist production with the seemingly unbounded growth of the medical productive forces. This development was precipitated by the intervention of capital as a whole, to restrict the drain on their variable capital through the placement of units of financial capital into the management of medical production, using the leverage of access to patients. In response, physicians have consolidated and centralized their practices to create enterprises with market power to limit the extraction of surplus by financial capital, and by their own employment of productive labor to extract surplus from hired physician labor and other clinical workers. Rationalization of the production of medical service commodities, and the sharing of surplus generated from exploitation of an expanded labor force by managed care financial capital and their capitalist partners owning medical enterprises, constitutes the contemporary relations of production. The contradictions of this mode of medical production and the potential for its reproduction will be analyzed.
Joffe, J. (2007), "The Evolution of Capitalist Relations of Production in U.S. Medical Practice: An Outline", Zarembka, P. (Ed.) Transitions in Latin America and in Poland and Syria (Research in Political Economy, Vol. 24), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 203-237. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0161-7230(07)24006-4Download as .RIS
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