Why Earn if You Can’t Spend? A debate between socialism and consumerism

The American and Israeli cultures have vast differences. As an American who moved to Israel, I often find myself at odds with the ideals that make up the Israeli culture. Since starting my studies in Social Work, these differences have become more pronounced. In some courses, many arguments have been brought against private institutions, both by students and by lecturers. The private sector is often thought of as a money-hungry machine that only serves a certain population, therefore, it does not fit within our socialistic culture. An argument that is brought against private establishments, is that one needs to have money in order to be able to afford their services. That means that the people in a lower socio-economic bracket are not able to enjoy the same benefits as the wealthier citizens.  While I will not argue that that is incorrect, I do feel that the middle and upper classes should not have their spending power limited because the lower class cannot afford the same luxuries that they can. The government is responsible for making sure that the underprivileged population is cared for. In the meantime, those with a more secure financial status, should be able to access any extras they desire and can afford.

One example of such a service is the Private Medical Service that one can receive through Hadassah Medical Center and other hospitals, otherwise known as SHARAP. This is an organization that has caused mixed reactions throughout the years. While there are those who dismiss the positive aspects of such an organization, stating that it goes against the basic principle of equality, I have reason to be very thankful for it. My mother had been sick for a while, she went to a specialist provided by her health maintenance organization, who told her that she had non-infectious hepatitis and that all she needed was rest. After several months with no signs of improvement a friend suggested that she go private. She received a recommendation for a Gastroenterologist through SHARAP. After glancing at her lab results, the doctor was almost positive that what she had was an autoimmune liver disease. She was then sent to do a liver biopsy, which confirmed his diagnosis. From the results of the biopsy, it was determined that her liver was failing and she had to begin immediate treatment. Had my mother not gone private, she would have continued resting, and the result would have been fatal.

There must be another option for those who feel that their needs are not being met by that which is provided by the government. Citizens have the right to pay for services that they need, without the condemnation of others. After all, why earn if you can’t spend?

About the Author
Tehila Scholar moved from America to Israel in her pre-teens. She is currently a Social Work student at Bar Ilan University.