Saturday, May 25, 2013

Everybody should read this book!

I posted a few days ago about an interview with the authors of The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills.

At the end of that post I mentioned that I was going to read it right away, and I now have. Tremendous book, and highly recommended for everyone. (The only topic I think could have been examined more relates to the “democracy option.” Stuckler and Basu advocate for democratic, science-based decisions about health policy. They don’t talk in enough depth, though, about the direct health implications of democratic participation vs. austerity. Austerity programs, as the book suggests at various points, involve not only cutbacks but punitive, scapegoating, authoritarian social relations, and these relations themselves have direct and detrimental effects on human well-being.)

It’s interesting, but not really surprising, that the skeptical movement, a significant component of which is ostensibly dedicated to science-based medicine, seems indifferent to these urgent questions. The misery and death caused by austerity plans around the world (in addition to their utter failure in terms of the economic achievements their proponents disingenuously claim for them) are extremely well documented, as are the clear benefits of investing in public health and social protection. The implications for policy are plain. So why aren’t the champions of science-based medicine taking up this cause?

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