In this recent article by Direct Primary Care, Dr. Richard Gunderman writes about Karl Marx and the critical role he played in the development of the International Workingmen’s Association (IWA). He was given the task of drafting the early documents for the group.
The IWA and Karl Marx relate to the practice of medicine today for the reason that the percentage of physicians who actually own their business has dramatically decreased and continues to do so at a rapid rate.
This has led to an interesting thought within the physician community that they now fit into Marx’s definition of “the working class” because they are not able to own capitalist means of production. Grunderman states that "this topic provides a provocative perspective from which to survey the changing landscape of contemporary medicine."
According to the data presented by the American Medical Association, in 1993 76% of physicians were self-employed. Fast forward to 2012, and that numbered had fallen to 56%.
The article concludes with the possibility that physicians are becoming more like factory workers due to the fact that they no longer own their practices and work for hospitals or large medical groups. Once a physician sells or merges with a larger group or health system, they instantly lose autonomy many doctors are used to. Before long, they will see each other as competition and attempt not to professionally collaborate with each other.
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