1960s >> 1965 >> no-729-may-1965

Old People in America

It was reported in The Guardian (March 19th, 1965) that the recent Russian space success is going to spur America on in the race to be the first put a man on the moon. The cost of this project is estimated at between £7,000 millions and £14,000 millions.

A few days after this was announced, a film was shown by the BBC television of the plight of the aged people in America. Doctors run nursing homes as businesses, and some of them who were interviewed on television admitted that at present there was a boom in nursing homes. Elderly people who have no relatives to look after them go to these homes and have to hand over all their possessions—insurances, cash and (according to the commentator) their personal effects such as jewellery, wedding rings etc.

If they could afford it they had a room to themselves costing about £50 a week, but the majority had to share a room with as many others as could be packed in. Naturally they were fed inadequately, in the hope that they would not be too long dying. Medical attention was only obtainable if they could afford it, and doctors’ fees were so high that this was impossible for most of them. The elderly, according to this BBC report, were being pillaged mercilessly.

It is more important to capitalism to land a man on the moon than to look after the aged who have given their energies in a lifetime of exploitation. Now that they cannot work and continue to make profits for capitalism, they can go on to the human scrap heap. Who cares?

Horace Jarvis

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