Category Archives: Book review

Book Review: The Spirit Level. Why greater equality makes societies stronger

The book: RIchard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, 2010. The Spirit Level: Why greater equality makes societies stronger. Bloomsbury Press. Foreword by Robert B. Reich.

I knew already that absolute poverty leads to higher health care and policing/justice system costs. What I didn’t know is that relative poverty also does this. This book sets out a strong case for income inequality being bad for society and for everyone in it, not just the poorer members. Continue reading

Book Review: The Body Economic: Why austerity kills

The body economic: Why austerity kills. Recessions, budget battles, and the politics of life and death. David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, 2013. Basic Books.

The authors are public health experts who study how social and economic policies affect our health. I first read this book in 2013 when it came out, and was blown away, mostly because I was not aware of the effects of austerity vs government spending.

It’s unethical for researchers to conduct austerity experiments on populations to see what happens, but there are plenty of austerity experiments out there already, enacted by governments, that researchers can study to see what the effects are. This book is a plain language translation of their scientific research.

According to the authors, economic policy affects who lives and dies more than medical care does; in the US, zip code is a top predictor of life expectancy. Continue reading