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Economics is the enemy for pharmacy

IN Steve Keen’s book, Can we avoid another financial crisis?, he writes: “Over the last forty years, Neoliberal political philosophy, which arose from a belief in the Neoclassical vision of capitalism, encouraged governments to limit their spending.”

This led to the private debt crisis we currently have, which was at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis and will play a role in the next financial crisis. It also reframed how we see government expenditure. Government expenditure is now seen as something undesirable and this is pharmacy’s biggest problem.

Government expenditure is viewed negatively regardless of what the money is spent on. Government expenditure is solely viewed as a cost — a cost to be diminished. Money spent on health services such as pharmacy should be viewed positively. Health services should be viewed as adding value to society. Health services are a good thing. They should be invested in and expanded, but the opposite is happening.

Mainstream neoclassical economists are dogmatic about the fact that governments should be constantly trying to reduce the amount of money they spend. They never view public services as adding value, they only see them as incurring a cost. They see the provision of public services as negative rather than positive. Their zealot view of economics is the most destructive force attacking our profession and society.

Rather than one minister, or one political party destroying pharmacy, it is an outdated, unrealistic view of economics that has us constantly on the back foot, trying to justify our existence. We are constantly made to feel that we are a burden on the State undeserving of investment — it is absolute rubbish.

What we do is of benefit to society and thus the economy. How can you expect to have a flourishing economy and a striving society with a diminishing health service in crisis?

The Government should be side-lining the economic orthodoxy that failed us in 2008 and has continued to fail us ever since. They should be embracing the new wave of realistic economists such as Steve Keen and Kate Raworth’s doughnut economics and viewing pharmacy and health services as a positive.

Our services deserve to be invested in and expanded. What we do adds value to society. We don’t take away from the economic pie of the country as we are currently framed to do, we are an essential component in the creating of the economic pie and we need to fight the deluded mainstream economists to remind everyone that we add value.

They are our greatest enemy, they are the ones who did not see the 2008 financial crash coming. They are the ones that think starving a health service of investment to crisis point is a good idea — they are wrong. We deserve investment and respect.

Peter Kelly is a London-based pharmacist, he recently interviewed Professor Steve Keen for East London Radio

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