What’s the Latest Development?
A pair of British authors is set to release a new book next month detailing the adverse health consequences of economic austerity on the citizens of nations who implement such programs. In The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills, political economist David Stuckler and the physician-epidemiologist Sanjay Basucite examples from recent history and longer ago of where government reaction to economic shocks has had a positive and negative impact on health. To demonstrate that governments’ austerity measures are costing lives, the authors point to soaring suicide rates, rising HIV infections and even a malaria outbreak.
What’s the Big Idea?
The authors of the new work argue that ill-health is by no means a necessary consequence of an economic recession, even a slump as big as the world has experienced for more than five years. “Ultimately, what we show is that worsening health is not an inevitable consequence of economic recessions; it’s a political choice. Austerity is bad for your health. But there is another way. In this book, we show how a new New Deal could work to improve economies and our nations’ health.” In Sweden, where suicide rates fell during the recession, the authors credit strong labor-market programs.
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