Politicians have talked endlessly about the seismic economic and social impacts of the recent financial crisis, but many continue to ignore its disastrous effects on human health - and have even exacerbated them, by adopting harsh austerity measures and cutting key social programs at a time when constituents need them most. The result, as pioneering public health experts David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu reveal in this provocative audiobook, is that many countries have turned their recessions into veritable epidemics, ruining or extinguishing thousands of lives in a misguided attempt to balance budgets and shore up financial markets. Yet, sound alternative policies could instead help improve economies and protect public health at the same time.
In The Body Economic, Stuckler and Basu mine data from around the globe and throughout history to show how government policy becomes a matter of life and death during financial crises. In a series of historical case studies stretching from 1930s America, to Russia and Indonesia in the 1990s, to present-day Greece, Britain, Spain, and the U.S., Stuckler and Basu reveal that governmental mismanagement of financial strife has resulted in a grim array of human tragedies, from suicides to HIV infections. Yet, people can and do stay healthy, and even get healthier, during downturns. During the Great Depression, U.S. deaths actually plummeted, and today Iceland, Norway, and Japan are happier and healthier than ever, proof that public wellbeing need not be sacrificed for fiscal health.
Full of shocking and counterintuitive revelations and bold policy recommendations, The Body Economic offers an alternative to austerity - one that will prevent widespread suffering, both now and in the future.
"A dramatic study emphasizing some of the combined consequences of ideological obsessions and bureaucratic thoughtlessness." (Kirkus Reviews)
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Powerful & Relevant facts on Austerity & Health...
The topic of how economic ideologies affect healthcare policies, and how that in turn affects you, me, our families and friends... well, it's an essential topic indeed.
Plenty of gems like this one to broaden one's understanding of Economics and how it actually works in the real world. It is critical to realize how much of establishment Economics is more ideology than actual science! Austerity is clearly a mechanism to funnel money to the top, no one can argue the atrocious short-term consequences and this book demonstrates the long-term consequences are not rosy either.
Other related non-fiction gems:
"Capital in the Twenty-First Century"
"A Fighting Chance" (Elizabeth Warren's memoir, easy read)
"Retirement Heist" (technical but very informative)
I've heard impressive reviews for the following:
"Wall Street: A History" (Geisst)
"All the Presidents' Bankers"
"The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires"
"Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism"
"The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use 'Plain English' to Rob You Blind"
Perfect narration: clear and easy-to-follow-along pace.
Asides overarching facts, this book provided personal cases to make the reader/listener realize that there are faces, lives, and loved ones behind each statistic.
The writers of this have their hearts in the right place, but keep in mind their background (healthcare policies) restricts them to frame questions in that arena... which does offer new perspectives, but clearly this topic needs to also be explored in the economic arena more deeply. There are many "but why?" moments to economic events that the story encounters but cannot address.
Should be Required Reading