Drug fetish

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Search for more articles by this author. Just as myths already entail enlightenment, with every step enlightenment entangles itself more deeply with mythology. Its rapid growth in the last thirty years or so has relied on a far-reaching privatization of public goods, including the privatization and commercialization of medical science itself through a vastly expanded intellectual property regime.

Although publicly committed to the principles of free trade, it enjoys unusually high profit margins owing in large part to government-protected monopolies, while taking systematic advantage of increasing global inequalities in its search for labor, markets, and test subjects. In consequence, the recent scholarship on pharmaceuticals has yielded some of the richest insights into the nature and transformations of the economy of goods, knowledge, and subjectivity in the contemporary era.

Yet, as this study of late Habsburg Austria demonstrates, ours is not the first era in which drugs have provided a magnifying lens revealing the transformations of capitalism. In most countries of Europe, the proprietary drug industry emerged in the last third of the nineteenth century, its rise coinciding with that of mass-circulated newspapers in which ready-made drug fetish sold under brand names drug fetish advertised more widely than any other commodity. For the present study on Austria, represents a convenient starting point.

That year saw the creation of compulsory sickness insurance Krankenversicherung for workers and, a few months later, the creation of the Social Democratic Party in the western half of the Dual Monarchy. In charge of the welfare of workers and subjected to the imperatives of cost control, Austrian socialists were spurred to elucidate the mysteries of the pharmaceutical economy, making Habsburg Austria the unlikely site of a wide-ranging critique of pharmacy that prefigured many of the themes since rediscovered by analysts of modern medicine. Drugs struck Austrian socialists as commodities at once unusual and exemplary.

They were unusual for the sheer scale of their marketing. Drug manufacturers never drug fetish just drugs but always sprawling discourses about drugs as well. As a result, the prices—or exchange value—of drugs bore only the most tenuous relation to the actual costs of their material production.

Drug prices, it seemed, mirrored irrational beliefs in the power of substances rather than any objective property of their chemistry drug fetish economy. At the same time, these features singled out drugs as commodities that exhibited in uniquely transparent ways the shifting logics of the commodity form in an economy increasingly dominated by media of mass communication. In exploring how drugs were handled and covered within early sickness insurance, therefore, I seek to investigate how this shift was apprehended in its earliest stages, drug fetish before this new regime of capital accumulation in which so-called superstructures seemed to have acquired a life of their own became the central preoccupation of Marxist thought, beginning with Austro-Marxism in the aftermath of World War I.

The drug fetish of Social Democrats in government during the Republican period, first at the national and then at the municipal level, shaped the historiography on Austrian Marxism. Vienna in particular has offered historians a rare case study of a large metropolis ruled throughout the s by dedicated and creative Marxists outside the Soviet Union.

As a result, an extensive body of research exists on the collective social institutions Austrian socialists deed and built in the interwar period. This also requires a shift in method, for the authors of the critique explored here were not the famed Austro-Marxists who led the party in the aftermath of the war. Some were workers, others lawyers or physicians; all labored in relative anonymity. By and large their ideas about drugs were not expressed in the form of a fully fledged theory but remained folded into in the day-to-day struggle of keeping insurance funds afloat.

In charting some of the practical ground in which Austro-Marxism and its noted refusal to reduce the state to an instrument for the exploitation of the proletariat took root, I hope to suggest ways to grasp the concrete connections between the history of things and the history of ideas. To this end, the following study proceeds in five steps. The first section demonstrates how the mass press transformed proprietary drugs into one of the first genuine commodities of mass consumption in Europe and links the critical reception of drug advertising in Austria to certain peculiarities of the Viennese press at the turn of the twentieth century.

The second section describes the political context in which sickness insurance became compulsory for Austrian workers and the paradoxical position of Social Democrats within the new system of social insurance. The shift from craft to industry in the production of drugs in late nineteenth-century Europe was inextricably linked to contemporary transformations in the production of media.

Advertisements for various proprietary remedies had adorned the back s of news directories since the very beginnings of the periodical press in early modern Europe. The authoritarian regimes of post Europe secured a contained and conciliating press by imposing heavy financial burdens on newspaper publishers, including deposits to be paid to the government and taxes on newspapers and advertisements, as well as hefty prison terms for defiant owners or editors.

Such measures kept the price of newspapers artificially high long after the adoption of the rotary press and the expansion of telegraph and railroad networks began to bring down the costs of collecting, transmitting, and distributing the news. The restricted circulation of newspapers thus hampered the development of an industry for ready-made medicines that relied on the written press for their marketing. As successful as some of these became, proprietary drugs remained confined throughout the nineteenth century to the margins of a trade dominated by the artisanal compounding of drugs in pharmacies.

Seen from Austria, the birthplace of both the proprietary drug and the modern newspaper industries was France. An issue of the Petit Journal consisted of a single folded newspaper sheet. It was thus half the size of other newspapers and a mere four s in length. Copies cost a single sou, the smallest of French coins. Articles were shorter and written in a style infinitely more congenial to less-educated readers than was the case in the bourgeois political press. Just prior to its launch, the combined circulation of all Parisian dailies hardly exceededcopies.

During the eventful days of the war with Prussia ten years later, the circulation of the Petit Journal alone exceeded half a million copies. By that date, two of these, the Petit Journal and the Petit Parisienhad circulations approximating one million. Le Journal reached daily sales ofby and Le Matin a million by On the eve of the war, there was a total of eighty Parisian dailies for a combined circulation of five and drug fetish half million—a near thirtyfold increase from half a century earlier. These late nineteenth-century mutations of what Benedict Anderson called print capitalism constituted the key factor in the rise of the proprietary drug industry.

Inno less than one-third of all advertisements inserted in the Petit Journal and its competitors were for drugs. Most, drug fetish, were simply the same sort of remedies as were found in national formularies and on the prescriptions of physicians but produced on a large scale by enterprising pharmacists who sought to have them sold in other pharmacies than their own.

None succeeded. The very existence of the Republic would be jeopardized. The Parisian press was imitated across the continent. In Austria, the Constitution of officially abolished censorship. The creation of the Neues Wiener Tagblatt inthe Oesterreichische Volkszeitung inand the Neues Wiener Journal in all represented attempts to reach beyond the traditional readership of newspapers.

When the Kaution deposit was suppressed inthe combined circulation of Viennese dailies totaled aboutThe first true penny paper in Vienna, the Illustrierte Kronenzeitungwas launched on January 1,the day after the tax stamp on newspapers was repealed. It cost one krone for a monthly subscription, a price comparable to that of Parisian popular dailies.

The paper employed a gifted draftsman who illustrated the news for those who lacked the desire or skill to read. It quickly won a loyal following among employees and workers—outselling within months of its launch the more austere and explicitly political Arbeiterzeitungthe organ of the Austrian socialist party. Several factors played a role in the comparatively low circulation of Viennese newspapers. One, of course, was linguistic pluralism. Moreover, the inhibiting influence of Habsburg rule on the press continued to be felt after The Kolportageverbotnot lifted untilprohibited the selling of newspapers on the street.

Newspapers remained overwhelmingly purchased by subscription and distributed by mail, which limited their circulation among low-income groups. In certain apartment buildings, they were passed from neighbor to neighbor. In Austria, too, in the few decades that separated the rise of the commercial mass press in the late nineteenth century from that of the radio in the interwar years, newspapers enjoyed an undisputed hegemony over the means of mass communication.

Still, limited circulation s affected the character of the Viennese press. Viennese titles, whose circulation was drug fetish lower, could not afford to charge advertisers the same fees as Parisian ones.

Around the turn of the twentieth century, Viennese newspapers often comprised sixteen to twenty s of text, followed by advertising sections that sometimes surpassed the length of the editorial section. The first issue of the Neues Wiener Tagblatt to appear after the suppression of the tax stamp in ran twenty-four s and contained seventy-seven commercial inserts in addition to dozens of classified. Garr estimated that fully two thirds of the revenue of the Neues Wiener Tagblatt depended on advertising. Owing to their financial vulnerability, Viennese papers were also more directly dependent on the support of moneyed interests.

The considerable inputs of capital needed to launch a new title usually had to come in part from wealthy donors who retained a say over what did or did not get published. The peculiarities of the Viennese press are in many ways reflected drug fetish the specificities of the history of drugs in Austria.

On the drug fetish hand, drugs never had quite the same presence in Austrian dailies as in French ones. In the first decade of the twentieth century, about 10 percent of advertisements in the Neues Wiener Tagblatt and the Kronenzeitung promoted drugs—30 percent including other medical goods and services; in the Neue Freie Pressethe proportions were 5 percent for drugs alone and 20 percent for drugs and other medical goods and services.

On the other hand, drugs likely remained the most advertised of all commodities in the Austrian press as well. And since the Viennese press relied so heavily on advertising monies for its revenues, the drug industry was every bit as important to the economy of the mass press in Austria as it was in France fig.

Illustrierte Kronen-ZeitungMarch 8, This is a typical from the advertising section of the Kronen-Zeitung. Out of eight advertisements on thisfive were for drugs or other medical goods and services: Pserhofer Pills, advertised as a purgative promoting healthy digestion; a book entitled Wie wird man gesund?

How does one become healthy? The fact that a majority of drug advertisements in the Austrian press were for drugs of foreign origin colored their reception. Pharmacists and physicians noted the growing demand for ready-made medicines beginning in the s, usually employing the same metaphors comparing their popularity to a swelling wave, or a flood that could not be dammed because, as Dr. Florian Kratschmer remarked at the International Congress for Hygiene and Demography held in Vienna init flowed with all the force of the modern mass press.

Beginning in the s, the Ministry of the Interior banned a of popular remedies. In Austria became one of the very first countries to require that all proprietary remedies be reviewed and approved by a state agency before being allowed onto the market. Thanks to the customs union between both halves of the Empire, Austrians were able to source all sorts of goods from Drug fetish, including Hungarian drugs as well as Western European drugs funneled through Hungary in order to bypass Austrian customs.

The persistence of a thriving market for forbidden drugs fifteen years drug fetish the first efforts to check their spread was a clear indication of the power of the desire for drugs that newspapers had awoken. The irony of a situation in which authorities lamented their inability to track down the sale of prohibited drugs in sealed envelopes, even as they let the same forbidden products be advertised openly and with complete impunity, was not lost on Karl Kraus.

Yet as he laid bare the process whereby newspapers became not only the first genuine commodity of mass consumption but also one with a unique power to commodify other domains of life, drugs represented more than just one example among others.

Across Europe the mass press breathed life into the market for ready-made medicines, allowing them to spread on a new scale and to transform popular forms of medical consumption. In Austria, though, an early system of state-mandated health insurance, which drug fetish the provision of medicines at no cost to the insured, also created an incentive to bring order to that sprawling market.

Nonetheless, social reform in Austria followed a path of its own drug fetish by a complex constellation of antiliberal forces on the rise in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. This section outlines how this distinctive trajectory set the stage for the politics of medical insurance in late Habsburg Austria.

Historians have identified two main sources for the genesis of social insurance in the western half of the Dual Monarchy. In the early s, more thanworkers belonged to some form of mutual aid organization in Vienna and Lower Austria alone. Voluntary self-help societies were diverse in character, ranging from the genuinely self-governed associations of the skilled labor aristocracy to rather paternalistic factory funds set up and run solely by employers. The Arbeiterbildung movement, the cradle of Austrian socialism, shared with classical liberalism a belief in self-improvement through education, yet envisioned the education of workers in the broadest sense as the forging of neue Menschen new men and women through the cultivation of both mind and body.

Gymnastics and singing classes, therefore, were as integral to their activities as lectures and conferences on topics of scientific or professional interest. As part of their efforts to raise defenses around the besieged body of the modern industrial worker, education societies oversaw the creation of independent mutual aid funds for drug fetish or disabled members. Membership in these funds was not tied to employment in a particular firm or industrial branch. All workers were encouraged toincluding those who already belonged to a company fund but felt shortchanged by their paltry benefits or authoritarian management.

The other main source was conservative social reform. Its political ideal was a romanticized version of medieval society held together by common beliefs and natural hierarchies, one in which figures of authority were obeyed because they upheld their duties toward those placed under their tutelage.

A system of state-mandated and state-managed insurances offered perhaps the clearest instance of the kind of arrangement that, while subverting traditional forms of Christian charity, might help restore in the context of industrial capitalism the web of reciprocal solidarities that once bound Christian artisans in their guilds.

The economic downturn following the crash of had exposed the shortcomings of voluntary self-help as it existed in Austria. The governance of the future system was another subject of contention. In imitation of the vocational guild system, Catholic reformers wanted to give each professional or industrial branch control over its own welfare institutions. But Taaffe and his cabinet held out instead for a system organized along territorial lines in which funds would enlist workers employed in a given administrative district rather than in a given occupation. Territorial funds could be placed under the oversight of local government officials, which gave the imperial bureaucracy wider prerogatives in the administration of the system in Austria than it ever had in Germany.

Of the various issues confronting the architects of the new system, however, the most delicate was that of how to deal with the existing network of mutual aid institutions. The costs and political risks involved in taking over organizations that served tens of thousands of members forced compromise on this point as well. Besides the district funds created by the law, company funds were allowed to remain in place as long as they met a of basic requirements under the law. So too were the trade association funds for aides and apprentices in artisanal crafts, as well as the independent welfare funds overseen by the Arbeiterbildungsvereine.

Comprising about 3, different funds scattered across the monarchy, it was extraordinarily fragmented and diverse. No group experienced its contradictions as directly as Social Democrats. Socialists were bound to resent the intentions and limitations of a program that its deers presented explicitly as a means of forestalling labor militancy. At the same time, the newly founded Social Democratic party remained invested in preserving the independence of working-class organizations as they were integrated into the new legal regime of insurance.

As Austrian workers remained without the right to vote untilthe campaigns to win seats on the governing boards of insurance funds—a kind of election in which workers were the main protagonists—and the work of administering them became a training ground for scores of new party activists and cadres. While nationally the independent funds Vereinskrankenkassen and trade funds Genossenschaftskrankenkassen governed by socialists enrolled just under 30 percent of the insured inthey attracted majorities of workers in many urbanized and industrialized areas in the west.

In Vienna, as many as two out of every three insured workers subscribed to them. In the end, the political meaning of social insurance in Habsburg Austria proved far more ambivalent than its origins in conservative politics might have suggested. The different political forces involved in building the system all viewed welfare funds as laboratories of sorts to experiment with other modes of collective organization than those prevailing in a liberal-capitalist society, yet their visions diverged sharply.

Catholic reformers embraced them as modern avatars of the medieval guilds.

Drug fetish

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The Drug Fetish: Capitalism, the Mass Press, and the Body of the Worker in Austrian Socialism, –