Academic journal article Health Sociology Review

The Health of Nations: Towards a New Political Economy

Academic journal article Health Sociology Review

The Health of Nations: Towards a New Political Economy

Article excerpt

The health of nations: Towards a new political economy

by Gavin Mooney

ISBN: 9781780320595; 2012; 244 pages;

Zed Books, London, England

Lucid and jargon-free, this book examines the political context of neoliberalism in (global) health and health care, documenting how current policies surrender public decision making to the marketplace, which in turn is controlled by cor- porate interests. Neoliberal capitalism reproduces inequality and individualism and hinders a sense of community and of compassion. Mooney pro- vides consequences and possible solutions in case studies as far afield as Cuba, South Africa, India, the US and Australia. A major theme is that the power in health care currently resides too much with vested interests such as the medical profes- sion and the pharmaceutical industry, and all too little with the citizens. This needs to change.

Part 1 explains how neoliberalism kills, focussing on how it perpetuates and fosters ill- health. Mooney describes the ugly situation where the poorer a nation, the more likely it is to have a smaller portion of its health care resources in the public sector. Yet, having to pay for health care increasingly dominates poor countries health care systems. This privatisation of health care in poor countries continues to be encouraged by the rich West and global institutions like the World Bank. With movement of labour internationally from poor to rich countries, those who move are those with skills. Thus, rich countries continue to steal doctors and nurses from sub-Saharan Africa, for example. The giving of aid to devel- oping countries is most often set along disease programme lines rather than building up the governance structure and relevant institutions to deliver good health care. The World Health Organisation and World Bank employ a 'burden of disease' approach, whilst the political economy analyses to ascertain why and how these might be changed are very seldom conducted. …

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