Medicine and Education - Service or Function of State?

When it comes to such basic goods as free education, medicine and housing, the carriers of the bourgeois consciousness do their best to deny or downplay the significance of these achievements of socialism, socialist society. It seems that everyone has heard phrases that have long become stereotyped that “free cheese is only in a mousetrap” and the like. People whose bourgeois consciousness is expressed in a more radical form are generally inclined to say: “If everything is free, then people will not work”. When comparing life in the USSR and in today’s bourgeois Latvia, one can hear ignorant petty-bourgeois reasoning, they say, ““The USSR is the past, there is nothing to poke around in it”, “we have already gone through this”, “socialism is outdated” and others myths and patterns of bourgeois propaganda.

This position is a defensive reaction of people drugged by bourgeois propaganda and afraid to admit the fact that the restoration of capitalism in Latvia is a movement backwards, not forwards, that even 30 years ago people were deprived of free education, medicine and housing, despite the rapid development technologies and the constant increase in labor productivity in the world. This is an attempt to present the current state of affairs as uncontested, and therefore fair. Such a position is not only ignorant, it is harmful and destructive, because it prevents people from collectively fighting for decent living conditions. Often behind such “deep” knowledge of reality is a banal illiteracy in matters of political economy.

In order to once again ascertain the exceptional importance and necessity of the above social achievements, it is necessary to understand the issues of value creation and its distribution, as well as the question of the role of the state in the distribution of social benefits. It is well known that only human labor (purposeful activity to change matter) creates value, and it is the constantly renewing production process that maintains the ability of society to reproduce itself and develop.

Under capitalism, the worker during the working day creates value embodied in a commodity. One part of the working time is spent on the reproduction of labor power, which is determined by the costs of maintaining the life of the worker and his family, on his education, health, etc. The second part of the working time is spent on creating surplus value, which is alienated by the capitalist free of charge and distributed under various pretexts. between other operators. Part of it is used to expand production and to satisfy the personal consumption of the capitalist. Thus, the salary is not a payment for labor – not all labor is paid. Salary is the price of labor and not labor! Labor under capitalism is never fully paid. In turn, the cost of labor power can and must (lest the working class degenerate) be paid in full, although this often does not happen. Instead of a salary that would ensure the existence of the worker and his family members, the worker receives a meager handout, which is barely enough to not die of hunger, to maintain a partial working capacity, but nothing more. There is simply nowhere to reduce such a meager salary further, and it is necessary to fight for raising it to the cost of labor, and together, and not alone.

How much money is required to receive high-quality treatment of severe, chronic, occupational diseases? How much money is needed to study, buy or rent a house? It would not be an exaggeration to say that in most cases the lion’s share of the salary goes only to these basic, universal needs. Let’s not forget that the bourgeois state, as an aggregate capitalist, also takes a significant part of the salary in the form of taxes. But what about leisure, recreation, self-development and creativity? A small part of the funds remains for this, or none at all. At the same time, the total capitalist profit increases during crises even faster than during normal times! Such is the state of affairs in capitalist society.

Under socialism, production is arranged in such a way that no one appropriates the labor of others, and therefore it is directed directly to ensuring the full well-being and free all-round development of all members of society: it goes to free education, medicine, accessible culture. Thus, the workers create all material goods with their labor and receive them. Such a system is modern, logical and fair.

The state, as an instrument of the ruling class, accumulates large funds for the implementation of tasks in the interests of the ruling class. But who actually owns the Latvian state? Why, in the conditions of technological progress, have we lost those basic benefits that we had by default 30 years ago? Why, after 100 years, are we still forced to work 8 or more hours to feed ourselves, if the average worker earns his wages in one hour of working time? Why does the state shift its social functions to us?

As the well-known Soviet physicist, Nobel Prize winner and, concurrently, politician Zhores Alferov said:

“If a citizen is forced to pay for education and medical care, to accumulate a pension from his own funds, to pay for housing and utilities in full, at a market price, then why do I need such a state?! Why on earth should I still pay taxes and maintain an insane army of officials? I have always said at all levels that healthcare, education and science should be provided from the budget. If the state dumps this concern on us, let it disappear, it will be much easier for us!”

What are the conclusions from the above? Free education, medicine and housing are a just demand of the people, in keeping with the spirit of the times and proceeding from objective economic conditions. Those who try to discredit or belittle the significance of these demands are apologists for bourgeois ideology, enemies of progress, and, in fact, ignoramuses. Pay no attention to those who pull you into the swamp.