Publishers Weekly Review
Can the economic crisis have an effect on our health? 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. They demonstrate how maintaining a healthy populace is intimately entwined with the health of the social environment. 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. Each chapter offers historical facts from the 1930s in United States, to Russia and Indonesia in the 1990s, to present-day Greece, Britain, Spain, and the U.S., revealing how the government's mismanagement of the economic crisis has resulted in the public's poor health and an epidemic of diseases. The authors argue that it is the politicians' job to ensure that people's health needs are met, rather than their ability to pay. Societies will prosper when they invest in people's health both in good times and in bad. The question remains: what steps need to be taken to prevent widespread suffering both now and in the future? (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
In The Body Economic, Stuckler (Oxford Univ. and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK) and Basu (Prevention, Research Center, Stanford Univ.) analyze data from around the world and throughout history to show the effects that government policy has on different populations during a financial crisis. The effects of major economic downturns are easily seen in the bankruptcies, foreclosures, and unemployment data that are highly visible. However, the effect of economic downturns on a person's health is not as easily seen. The authors analyze extensive quantitative data to determine how economic downturns, and the government policies used to address these problems, have major impacts on the health and well-being of society. 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. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections and readership levels. K. J. Buhr Penn State Harrisburg
Booklist Review
Stuckler and Basu, academics and public-health experts, examine how governmental budgets and economic choices affect life and death, as well as resilience and risk, for entire populations. With extensive study on the health effects of global economic policies during the December 2007 recession, they conclude that economies paid a deadly price for austerity in terms of ticks to growth rates, life lost, and avoidable deaths. Instead of austerity, the authors recommend evidence-based policies (stimulus) to protect health during hard times: If administered correctly, these programs don't bust the budget, but . . . boost economic growth and improve public health. Stuckler and Basu ultimately blame the failure of austerity on the economic ideology of those who support small government and free markets over state intervention; they contend that governments that have increased public-sector spending have seen faster economic recoveries, which in turn helps them to grow out of debt. This informative book will add important perspective to the ongoing debate on the consequences of economic policies.--Whaley, Mary Copyright 2010 Booklist