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Every one has a universal right to health care but because societies are limited by the resources that they have and the political interests that govern them, health care usually becomes the privilege of a fraction of society.

The result of this is that not everyone gets the health care that they need. Poor people usually can’t afford health insurance and they become unsure of their health in the future. Health care is a kind of social movement though, where people must act collectively to get the kind of health care that they want (Foss, 1986, p.10).

Relative deprivation occurs when a segment of society thinks that it is being deprived of resources that it is entitled to. The deprivation is said to be relative and not absolute because it depends on what the particular segment of society views as unfair, whether it be social, political, or economic conditions.

Some segments of society are relatively deprived of health care because they think that others are getting resources that they are entitled to. Poor people see health care as a universal need but because of their lack of wealth, they don’t have access to that need.

Relative deprivation often leads to discontent which may make some segments of society move to get their goal. Viewing society in terms of resource mobilization however, discontent is not enough to mobilize people into action.

According to resource mobilization theory, social movements must have enough resources to take action. In health care, social movement organizations or SMOs must have enough economic, political, and social resources to encourage people to move (Foss, 1986, p.10).

According to the Marxist concept of false consciousness, one reason why it’s not that easy to mobilize people to take action toward a better health care program is because conditions in society mislead the deprived class of the true state of affairs.

They end up succumbing to the status quo because they are not aware of the real relations of production, which make them view poor health care as normal or justified. The result is that they promote the interests of the class who rules them, which makes mobilization difficult.


Foss, D. A. and Larkin, R.W. (1986). Beyond Revolution: A New Theory of Social            Movements. Bergin ; Garvey.

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