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Privatising Capital

The Commodification of Poland’s Welfare State

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Gavin Rae

Privatising Capital examines the historical development of Poland’s public sector and its welfare state. Their infrastructure, services and employees add up to a form of public capital, upon which the vast majority of society is dependent. The book describes the ongoing attempts to financialise and commodify this public capital and examines how this occurs in the areas of health, education and pensions. It also analyses the impact of public capital on the ideas and opinions of the population and how it affects contemporary ideologies and politics in Poland.
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The Health Care Field

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Equal access to health care services, financed from public funds, shall be ensured by public authorities to citizens, irrespective of their material situation. (Article 68, Constitution of the Republic of Poland)

Importance of the Field

Health care is both essential for the physical maintenance of a population and for the stabilisation and reproduction of social systems. One of the great successes of industrialisation and urbanisation has been the increasing of life expectancy, made possible by general improvements in living standards and nutrition, as well as through the provision of health care. As health care has been provided in a decommodified form in many societies over the past few decades, so the commodification of this essential service remains extremely controversial. It is perhaps contemporary society’s most fictitious of commodities.

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