Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Privatising the Welfarist State:
Neo-liberalism and the Health Care Sector


Dr. Chan Chee Khoon

12 November 2004, Wednesday, 4:00 p.m.
Institute of Philippine Culture, Ateneo de Manila University
Social Development Complex, Loyola Heights, Quezon City

In its ceaseless search for opportunities for profitable deployment and redeployment, globally mobile capital has contributed to the undermining of the welfarist state through several modalities. In conjunction with neo-liberal trade policies, globally mobile capital has fostered a "race to the bottom" and has thereby reduced the fiscal capacity of states. At the same time, finance capital has exerted an overriding concern with inflation and balanced budgets in the countries where it circulates. Wary of activist Keynesianism, it imparts a deflationary bias to national economies, demanding fiscal discipline to reduce public spending and budget deficits through its threat of withdrawal and flight. One result has been the widening imbalance between accumulation and consumption, manifested as overcapacity and demand deficit.

Pressure has built up to extend the circuit of capital into new arenas for accumulation, encroaching into a hitherto non-commercial public sector domain, i.e. the privatization and dismembering the welfarist state, including health services. This presentation will describe and analyze the privatization (commodification) of Malaysian health care as an intersection of these broad global currents with local political and economic contingencies. It will attempt to draw generic lessons that may have relevance to the Philippines.

Dr. Chan is an Associate Professor of the School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia. He is currently an Asian Public Intellectual Fellow and an affiliate of the Institute of Philippine Culture.

For confirmation of your attendance, please call tel. nos. 426-6067/68, or 426-6001 loc. 4651. Please look for Faith Arce or Cecille Bartolome.

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