Strikes for Maximum Impact

Rail workers are striking in the UK. They want pay raises to compensate for rising consumer prices. Unfortunately, the UK government has forced prices higher by various means: restricting energy, trade war, lockdown (which caused a huge whiplash), and relentlessly increasing regulations. Not to mention sanctions on Russia. The government made everyone poorer, and the supply of consumer goods is reduced. When supply is reduced, then obviously there is no way that all working people can maintain the same level of consumption.

However, politically powerful groups can try to get paid more (which ultimately comes at the expense of other workers without such political pull). The quintessential way for a group of workers to obtain political pull is to form a union.

Unions can design their strikes to have “maximum impact” on their employers, the entire country, and everyone living, working, or even visiting on holiday. That is, they can try to inflict as much harm on others as possible, while shielding their members from the consequences.

I am not opposed to the worker’s right to quit a job, or refuse to work under terms that a worker finds unacceptable. I am also not opposed to the employer’s right to hire anyone, including a replacement worker. Let free people decide such things in a free market.

I am opposed to laws that prevent employers from firing workers who refuse to work, or which prevent employers from hiring replacements.

Unfortunately, the UK does have such laws. So of course, rail unions wage industrial action. And, thanks to laws that restrict the transportation industry, travelers have little alternative to rail.

This is bad enough, but let’s now turn to the National Health Service. Health workers are considering their own strike. Why should they forego a pay raise, while the rail workers get one?

Socialized medicine makes all healthcare workers, including doctors, into government employees. For similar reasons to rail workers, their pay is determined by a political process. Therefore, they are forced to band together, to form their own class. This class can fight against the other classes for more resources.

Socialism creates the very class conflict that it professes to fix.

The issue becomes clearer with health service than rail service. A rail strike only impacts travelers. But a healthcare strike impacts patients.

Socialized medicine gives us a false alternative. Should healthcare workers be forced to work for conditions they don’t accept? Or else should they be empowered to strike to cause “maximum impact”—i.e. death—to patients?

What kind of doctor would want to be in this awful position? How could he provide good care? Why would voters choose to put them into this awful position? Who would want to be a patient, knowing that his life depends on doctors not pursuing their own financial interest?

God help the patients.

Whatever one thinks of socialized medicine, surely we can all agree that the best way to determine doctors’ pay is not industrial action that seeks to maximize the impact on patients.

So the next time someone utters the phrase “universal healthcare”, realize what is supposed to be universalized: politicization and conflict. The process of determining the fates of doctors and patients is politicized. And it creates a conflict of doctors vs. hospital administrators, doctors vs. patients, doctors vs. taxpayers, and patients vs. taxpayers.

Marxian class struggle is universalized. Nobody is free from it, and nobody wins.

1 thought on “Strikes for Maximum Impact

  1. Pierre

    “Healthcare” is a misnomer. It is “Medical” care you are referring to. Healthcare starts at your local grocery store, heart trail at the local park and a good night sleep. I will also add eliminating your vices and addictions. “Healthcare” gives the patient a false sense of security.
    When you come to see me (usually unexpectedly) expect medical care.


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