The Body Economic by David Stuckler
Why Austerity Kills

78%

5 Critic Reviews

...by telling the stories of individual victims of austerity as well as analysing its impact at the population level, Stuckler and Basu provide a wealth of evidence that it is bad for our health. That is a valuable contribution to the current debate.
-Financial Times

Synopsis

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 book, 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.
 

About David Stuckler

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Dr. David Stuckler is a Senior Research Leader at Oxford University and Honorary Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He lives in Oxford, England. Dr. Sanjay Basu is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and an epidemiologist at the Prevention Research Center of Stanford University. A former Rhodes Scholar, he lives in San Francisco.
 
Published May 21, 2013 by Basic Books. 242 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Body Economic
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Jon Henley on May 15 2013

What its authors hope is that politicians will take the message they have uncovered in the data seriously, and start basing policy on evidence rather than ideology.

Read Full Review of The Body Economic: Why Auster... | See more reviews from Guardian

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 17 2013

Filled with graphs and charts, the book shows how government's investment in social welfare improves the public's health, due to the creation of unemployment programs, pensions, and housing support.

Read Full Review of The Body Economic: Why Auster... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Kirkus

Good
on Apr 08 2013

A dramatic study emphasizing some of the combined consequences of ideological obsessions and bureaucratic thoughtlessness.

Read Full Review of The Body Economic: Why Auster... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Clive Cookson on May 17 2013

...by telling the stories of individual victims of austerity as well as analysing its impact at the population level, Stuckler and Basu provide a wealth of evidence that it is bad for our health. That is a valuable contribution to the current debate.

Read Full Review of The Body Economic: Why Auster... | See more reviews from Financial Times

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Steve Collins on Jun 10 2013

As their title might suggest, they take a dim view of the feed-a-bank-starve-a-hospital solutions of austerity, which they argue don’t even succeed on their own terms, increasing unemployment, slowing consumer spending...

Read Full Review of The Body Economic: Why Auster... | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Reader Rating for The Body Economic
92%

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