The Body Economic: Eight experiments in economic recovery, from Iceland to Greece

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9780141976020: The Body Economic: Eight experiments in economic recovery, from Iceland to Greece

An agenda-shaping look at the human costs of financial crisis—the culmination of ten years’ work by two pioneering researchers

Politicians have talked endlessly about the seismic economic and social impact of the Great Recession, 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 citizens 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 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 across history to show how government policy becomes a matter of life and death during financial crises. Through a series of case studies stretching from the United States in the 1930s to Russia and Indonesia in the 1990s and present-day Greece, Britain, Spain, Canada and America, Stuckler and Basu reveal that political mismanagement of financial crises has resulted in a grim array of human tragedies, including suicides, HIV infections, West Nile Virus and tuberculosis epidemics. Yet people can and do stay healthy, and even get healthier, during downturns. During the Great Depression, U.S. death rates actually plummeted, and today, people in Iceland, Norway and Japan are happier and healthier than ever.

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.

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About the Author:

DAVID STUCKLER, M.P.H., Ph.D., is a Senior Research Leader at the University of Oxford and Honorary Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He lives in Oxford, England.

SANJAY BASU, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and an epidemiologist at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. A former Rhodes Scholar, he lives in San Francisco.



DAVID STUCKLER, M.P.H., Ph.D., is a Senior Research Leader at the University of Oxford and Honorary Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He lives in Oxford, England.

SANJAY BASU, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and an epidemiologist at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. A former Rhodes Scholar, he lives in San Francisco.

Review:

Boston Globe
Meticulously researched and richly annotated, The Body Economic is nonetheless a very accessible and engaging book. The authors succeed admirably in making the case that downsizing (or dismantling) the social safety nets that exist to protect those in need directly leads to increased sickness and death within the general population.... The lessons contained within The Body Economic should be carefully considered by both policy makers and constituents.”

Financial Times
Austerity kills and on a grand scale. So argue David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu in The Body Economic, a powerful attack on efforts to curb public spending since the financial crisis, which holds belt-tightening politicians responsible for a health catastrophe.... By telling the stories of individual victims of austerity as well as analyzing 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.”

Choice
This book is timely, very readable, well written, and informative, and should be read by those interested in the health of the economy and citizens. Highly recommended.”

Financial Times
[Stuckler and Basu] gathered and analyzed huge sets of data on the effects that economic stringency has had on public health in recent history. They published their findings in their 2013 book The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills. If you think the book’s title is a tad dramatic, think again. Looking at cases such as European Union-backed budget cuts in Greece and the Great Recession in the United States, Basu and Stuckler conclude, as they wrote in a New York Times op-ed, that austerity severe, immediate, indiscriminate cuts to social and health spending is not only self-defeating, but fatal.’”

The New Republic
Stuckler and Basu provide a capable summary of the basic problems with austerity economics as economics, but their signal contribution in this book is to focus on the health effects of austerity.... They find that, the more austerity was practiced in a state or country, the more people got sick and the more people died. In short, Austerity Kills’ is more than just a slogan. Austerity doesn’t work as economics, and it kills people in the bargain.”

Foreign Affairs
Stuckler and Basu approach austerity policies from a medical perspective, producing an extensive array of evidence to show that austerity especially cuts to spending on public health increases illness and death. Most compelling is their finding that countries that have suffered through recessions have avoided deterioration in their citizens’ well-being by maintaining government spending on public health.”

Bookforum
[Stuckler and Basu] wear their expertise and statistical knowledge lightly, opting to deliver their research findings in a jazzy, casual tone.... The real power of the book lies in the epidemiological insight that it’s possible to think about medicine not in the exclusive terms of the individual patient’s life, but by tracking the conditions that affect health throughout society.”

The Guardian
[This] message...is explosive, backed by a decade of research, and based on reams of publicly available data.... In a powerful new book, The Body Economic, Stuckler and his colleague Sanjay Basu...show that austerity is now having a devastating effect’ on public health in Europe and North America.”

Times Higher Education
This book deserves to be widely read and widely influential. It brings crucial arguments, set out and tested in academic papers, to a larger audience. It lays bare the madness of the conventional wisdom that the answer to the current crisis is to cut public spending, and it explains clearly why the social policy response to economic events matters. It reminds us that politicians have a devastating tendency to listen to ideology rather than history and that the cost of this approach can be counted not just in lost economic output but in human lives.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers
Throughout the book, Stuckler and Basu rely on economic studies, most of them subjected to peer review, to underline a critical point: public health is economic health. Far from being the luxury’ the IMF categorizes it as, public health spending is in fact necessary to the economic recovery of a country in recession. The Body Economic makes the point in stark and accessible terms..... [A] thoroughly researched look into the effects of austerity policies on public health.”

Nature
What price a healthy stock market? In this stringent economic analysis, sociologist David Stuckler and epidemiologist Sanjay Basu argue that during a recession, austerity-based cuts to social spending erode public health.... A sobering call for democratic, informed choices in response to recession.”

Salon
Today’s politicians know very well that some of their policies kill people. But they go ahead and carry out those policies anyway. How they have done it recently is brilliantly documented in this book.... The authors make a powerful case that the austerity measures adopted in some countries and imposed on some others had a direct and fatal impact on those countries’ public health. ”

The Progressive
"An admirable work, eminently readable and yet without skimping on rigorous analysis.”

In These Times
Stuckler and Basu show distressingly consistent increases in such key public-health indicators as suicides, heart disease, alcoholism and HIV infection in societies embarking on steep reductions in social spending. Correspondingly, societies (such as Iceland, Sweden and Finland) that have refused to pare back their welfare states in hard times exhibit steady and, in some cases, increasing signs of public health.”

The Observer, UK
Global austerity has a rarely discussed death toll, and David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu’s The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills breaks the silence.”

Publishers Weekly
Oxford Senior Research leader Stuckler and Stanford epidemiologist Basu offer insight into the economic crisis including the Great Recession and its effect on public health, arguing that countries attempt to fix recessions by balancing budgets, but have failed to protect public well-being.”

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

Booklist
This informative book will add important perspective to the ongoing debate on the consequences of economic policies.”

Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, Kolokotrones University Professor, Harvard Medical School, and Founding Director, Partners in Health
The Body Economic is a bold synthesis of quantitative data, historical cases, personal narratives, and sociological and clinically informed analyses about the effects of investing, or failing to invest, in public health safety nets. In investigating the causes of adverse health outcomes in populations from the United States to the Soviet Union to Greece, Iceland, and the UK, David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu expose many of the myths and mystifications that prop up the regnant ideologies of fiscal austerity. Stuckler and Basu revive the great, progressive tradition of social medicine. Their work is important not just for all those who deliver health care services, but also for anyone who might, just might, one day be a patient.”

Ha-Joon Chang, PhD, Faculty of Economics, Cambridge University, and author of 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism
A powerful and important contribution to our future. Stuckler and Basu use statistics not to dehumanize people, but to bring them to life.”

Richard Parker, Lecturer in Public Policy and Senior Fellow, Shorenstein Center at Harvard Kennedy School, and author of John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics
The Great Recession’s visible costs bankruptcies, foreclosures, unemployment, government deficits and their still-lingering effects are chillingly well-known. Less understood are the health consequences the suicides, epidemics, and soaring mortality rates that represent the most intimate human effects not just of our global financial collapse but also of the mistaken austerity programs that have followed. The Body Economic is required reading for anyone who wants to see how bad politics and worse policies have worsened suffering around the world when, by any democratic measure, our common obligation is to end suffering.”

Darrell J. Bricker, CEO, Ipsos Public Affairs, and author of The Big Shift: The Seismic Change in Canadian Politics, Business, and Culture and What It Means for Our Future
The Body Economic is must reading for anyone who wants to understand the real life consequences of governments making the wrong policy decisions in response to the worst economic disruption since the Great Depression. In a debate too often dominated by ideology, Stuckler and Basu bring a refreshing, evidence-based perspective to the table. And, they present their case that an obsession with austerity hurts both economies and people in an accessible, personal way. This isn’t a story about spreadsheets and algorithms it’s about the ordinary people who pay the ultimate price for their government’s cavalier ideological obsessions.”

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Body Economic is the first, agenda-shaping, look at the human costs of financial crisis - the culmination of ten years work by two pioneering researchers - Sanjay Basu and David StucklerThe global financial crisis has had a seismic impact upon the wealth of nations. But we have little sense of how it affects one of the most fundamental issues of all: our physical and mental health.The Body Economic puts forward a radical proposition. Austerity, it argues, is seriously bad for your health. We can prevent financial crises from becoming epidemics, but to do so, we must acknowledge what the hard data tells us: that, throughout history, there is a causal link between the strength of a community s health and its social protection systems. Even amid the worst economic disasters, negative public health effects are not inevitable: it s how communities respond to challenges of debt and market turmoil that counts. Now and for generations to come, our commitment to the building of fairer, more equal societies will determine the health of our body economic. Explosive . powerful. Backed by a decade of research, and based on reams of publicly available data Guardian A powerful indictment of the unnecessary suffering and rising mortality rates associated with austerity policies unsoftened by remedial social programmes Financial TimesDavid Stuckler is a Senior Research Leader at Oxford University. He has published over one-hundred peer-reviewed scientific articles in major journals on the subjects of economics and global health, and his work has featured on the cover of The New York Times and The Economist, as well as on BBC, NPR, and CNN, among others. Sanjay Basu is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and an epidemiologist at Stanford University. He has worked with Oxfam International and is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. His work has featured in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal and he has written over 80 peer-reviewed articles. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780141976020

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Body Economic is the first, agenda-shaping, look at the human costs of financial crisis - the culmination of ten years work by two pioneering researchers - Sanjay Basu and David StucklerThe global financial crisis has had a seismic impact upon the wealth of nations. But we have little sense of how it affects one of the most fundamental issues of all: our physical and mental health.The Body Economic puts forward a radical proposition. Austerity, it argues, is seriously bad for your health. We can prevent financial crises from becoming epidemics, but to do so, we must acknowledge what the hard data tells us: that, throughout history, there is a causal link between the strength of a community s health and its social protection systems. Even amid the worst economic disasters, negative public health effects are not inevitable: it s how communities respond to challenges of debt and market turmoil that counts. Now and for generations to come, our commitment to the building of fairer, more equal societies will determine the health of our body economic. Explosive . powerful. Backed by a decade of research, and based on reams of publicly available data Guardian A powerful indictment of the unnecessary suffering and rising mortality rates associated with austerity policies unsoftened by remedial social programmes Financial TimesDavid Stuckler is a Senior Research Leader at Oxford University. He has published over one-hundred peer-reviewed scientific articles in major journals on the subjects of economics and global health, and his work has featured on the cover of The New York Times and The Economist, as well as on BBC, NPR, and CNN, among others. Sanjay Basu is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and an epidemiologist at Stanford University. He has worked with Oxfam International and is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. His work has featured in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal and he has written over 80 peer-reviewed articles. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780141976020

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