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How Politics Makes Us Sick


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Politics and Health 2. Obesity: How Politics Makes Us Fat 3. Insecurity: How Politics Gets Under Our Skin 4. Austerity: How Politics Has Pulled Away Our Safety Net 5. Inequality: How Politics Divides and Rules Us 6. Conclusion: Their Scarcity and Our Political Cure

Promotional Information

"It's official: austerity and neoliberalism is bad for your health. This impeccably researched book illustrates how the reigning dogma of our time is bad for people - and spurs us on to find an alternative." Owen Jones, Author and Columnist for The Guardian "The political tradition of recent years has been to blame the victims for their ailments. Today you so often hear that people should 'take responsibility for themselves' as if each of us could individually transform the obesogenic environments created in the search for ever greater profits, as if we could individually alter our parental history, and our childhood circumstances, the pollution in the air we breathe and the thoughts fed through the media of the nation-state we live in, and as if we were each an island and there were no such thing as society. How Politics Makes Us Sick debunks these myths and replaces them with explanations based on evidence." - Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, University of Oxford, UK "This important expose charts how neoliberal ideology has undermined the lives of ordinary people, not least by damaging public health. The authors offer compelling evidence that privatisation, deregulation and austerity are bad for us, leading to worse health outcomes and growing health inequalities. The section on how growing insecurity at work is sending stress levels soaring will be of particular interest to trade unionists. Clearly structured and convincingly argued, this book is a worthy addition to the growing body of literature highlighting the pernicious effects of unfettered markets. It shows that the need for an antidote to neo-liberalism is greater than ever - and that a cure is possible." - Frances O'Grady, General Secretary, Trades Union Congress "Over the last few years we have heard much about the corrosive effects of inequality in our societies and how it is hurting us socially, economically and politically. Schrecker and Bambra provide a compelling argument that inequality's most malignant effect is in undermining our health and welfare systems. They have shown that it is very much a man-made crisis, and importantly not only do they chart why ideological decisions have undermined public health and increased inequality, but they point towards the brave political decisions needed to halt the corrosion. Their searing critique of neoliberal policies and the way in which they hurt the most vulnerable in society should be compulsory reading for anyone planning to stand for elected office." - Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for North East England and member of the European Parliament Committee on International Trade "A compelling narrative of the ill-health effects of neoliberalism and its by-products of social inequality and market and social insecurity. Rich in up-to-date empirical data, it introduces the general reader to a political economy approach to understanding health and its unequal distribution. Demonstrating the political and thus non-inevitable character of many worrying trends such as rising obesity and stress rates, it points to real alternatives to policies that are typically justified by claiming 'there is no alternative'." - Elke Heins, Times Higher Education website

About the Author

Ted Schrecker is Professor of Global Health Policy at Durham University, UK. He previously taught environmental studies, political science and population health, and worked as a legislative researcher and consultant for many years.

Clare Bambra is Professor of Public Health Geography and Director of the Centre for Health and Inequalities Research, Durham University, UK. Her research focuses on the effects of labour markets, health and welfare systems on health inequalities.


"This book makes a valuable contribution to politicising the inequality in its various forms and the effects of inequality on health. It is a powerful antidote to the dominance of the lifestyle discourse that focuses on the individual. ... The book will be of interest to public health policy makers and practitioners; public health advocacy groups; and students of social and public health policy." (Professor Karen Willis, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Vol. 41 (2), April, 2017)"Schrecker and Bambra marshal solid, cross-national evidence and clear arguments to make a compelling and incriminatory case against neoliberalism and the epidemics it has engendered. ... the authors call for revitalising solidarity-oriented social democratic welfare states to reverse the neoliberal clawbacks of the past decades." (Anne-Emanuelle Birn, The Lancet, Vol. 388, July, 2016)"Public Health scholars Schrecker and Bambra (both, Durham Univ., UK) analyze the impacts of three decades of neoliberal economic policies on the health of the British and American people. ... This book is suited for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars in public health, social welfare, and domestic policies in the US, UK, and wealthy democracies. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above." (D. B. Robertson, Choice, Vol. 53 (6), February, 2016)

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