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Unhealthy societies: the afflictions of inequality

Опубликовано на портале: 28-11-2006
London, New York: Routledge, 1996, 272 с.
Among the developed countries it is not the richest societies which have the best health, but those which have the smallest income differences between rich and poor. Inequality and relative poverty have absolute effects: they increase death rates. But why? How can smaller income differences raise average life expectancy? Using examples from the USA, Britain, Japan and Eastern Europe, and bringing together evidence from the social and medical sciences, Unhealthy Socities provides the explanation. Healthy, egalitarian societies are more socially cohesive. They have a stronger community life and suffer fewer of the corrosive effects of inequality. As well as inequality weakening the social fabric, damaging health and increasing crime rates, Unhealthy Societies shows that social cohesion is crucial to the quality of life. The contrast between the material success and social failure of modern societies marks an imbalance which needs attention. The relationship between health and equality suggests that important social needs will go unmet without a larger measure of social and distributive justice.

List of illustrations 

Preface 

Introduction: the social economy of health   

 

Part I The health of societies  

  • Health becomes a social science   
  • Rising life expectancy and the epidemiological transition   
  • Part II Health inequalities within societies  

  • The problem of health inequalities   
  • Income distribution and health   
  • Part III Social cohesion and social conflict    

  • A small town in the USA, wartime Britain, Eastern Europe and Japan   
  • An anthropology of social cohesion   
  • The symptoms of disintegration   
  • Part IV How society kills  

  • The psychosocial causes of illness   
  • Baboons, civil servants and children’s height 
  • Part V Redistribution, economic growth and the quality of life  

  • Social capital: putting Humpty together again   
  • Bibliography 

    Name index 

    Subject index