Welfare, neo-liberalism, and the tough business of being a consumer
In this article we are primarily concerned with the disparity between the ‘mentalhealth consumer’ label which carries implications of consumer power and consumerrights, and the reality underlying consumerist societies which presupposes a level of choice and spending power. The consumer label, while attempting to free the patient/client from an unequal relationship to her or his doctor or health care worker,has merely traded one inequity for another. For persons with a chronic mental illnesswho are either unemployed and/or welfare dependent, the consumer label haspotentially negative consequences. Not only does it fail to address the sometimes involuntary nature of mental healthcare, but within the current political climate, the neo-liberalist user-pays philosophy is imposed onto a group whose spending power and freedom of choice is already heavily compromised.
Post-print of: Holdsworth, L, Sweeney, D & Pollard, D 2004, 'Welfare, neo-liberalism, and the tough business of being a consumer', Australasian Journal of Business and Social Inquiry, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 18-28.