Why Equal Societies are Healthier

This Power Point summarizes some highlights of Richard Wilkinson’s and Kate Pickett’s work on social and economic inequality, and health:
Slide #1:
“[In 1948, the creation of the UK National Health Service] initiated a metamorphosis of medical care from trade in human desperation, toward science-led and evidence based public service….[This social contract] offered the option of a public-service system operating as a gift economy, based on social solidarity and funded from progressive taxation….Adam Smith warned that without investment in this parallel economy, capitalism would at best reduce men and women to machines….At worst it would produce a demoralized population of wreckers….

By casting patients as consumers who are concerned only with their own gain, marketised health care fails to recognize the role of patients as responsible citizens….For health care (as for any other commodity), the market promotes individual demand irrespective of collective needs. Finally, it makes rational allocation of resources virtually impossible, marginalizes public-health skills, corrupts public service…and impairs trust at every level between staff and patients.”

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