David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu’s new book The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills is a thorough examination of the toll that recessions take on people’s health. They show, convincingly, that there are many, many channels through which health outcomes can deteriorate when the economy goes into a deep recession. They also show that the manner in which the government reacts to an economic downturn is a critical factor in determining health outcomes. Deterioration in health in a recession, though common, is far from inevitable.
|By: Mark Thoma Saturday June 29, 2013 1:59 pm|
|By: Scarecrow Monday June 25, 2012 7:01 am|
A few weeks back, the respected Martin Wolf wrote an op-ed for the Financial Times in which he lamented the inability of Europe’s elites to stop an inexorable collapse of the Euro monetary union. This one was widely noted not only because it was Martin Wolf saying it, but because of how he said it.
|By: Mark Thoma Sunday December 18, 2011 1:59 pm|
Whenever the rewards for an action – profits, reproductive success, whatever – depend upon the relative performance of individuals within a group the problem of a divergence between the interests of individuals and the interest of the larger society is likely to be present. The book gives example after example of this “arms race” for positional goods, and details the waste of resources that this causes.
|By: Mark Thoma Saturday July 10, 2010 2:00 pm|
It’s possible to give two very different interpretations of the Obama presidency so far. The first is a relatively positive interpretation. Proponents of this view argue that even though Obama has faced a united GOP willing and able to use filibusters to thwart initiatives, and even though he has had opposition within his own party to progressive initiatives, he has still managed to rack up an impressive list of achievements. Take health care as an example. The health care legislation wasn’t all that progressives wanted, not by a long shot. But the legislation is an impressive start and, importantly, it leaves the door open to further change. Though people forget, programs such as Social Security or Medicare weren’t perfect at first, but were improved substantially over time.