This talk explores how the conditions of life under capitalism both produce some instances of mental illness while profoundly failing to meet the health care needs of the mentally ill. In order to discredit and pathologize protest, capitalism often attributes illness to people resisting racism, sexism, and exploitation. Capitalism blames and stigmatizes individuals for their illnesses, offers expensive medication as pharmaceutical shortcuts, and renders meaningful care inaccessible. It cannot support the utopian “neurodiversity” that some critics of our system advocate. We can only know what it means to be mentally and emotionally well in a different kind of society, a socialist society, designed to meet human needs. Until then, engaging in the struggle toward such a society can be a source of hope.
Capitalism, Socialism and Mental Illness