07 May 2012

The Health of Nations: Towards a New Political Economy

Why, despite vast resources being expended on health and health care, is there still so much ill health and premature death? Why do massive inequalities in health - both within and between countries - remain? In this devastating critique, internationally renowned health economist Gavin Mooney places the responsibility for these problems firmly at the door of neoliberalism

Zed Books | 25 April 2012

The Health of Nations: Towards a New Political Economy by Gavin Mooney

ISBN: 9781780320595
224 pages

'The Health of Nations' analyses how power is exercised both in health-care systems and in society more generally. In doing so, it reveals how too many vested interests hinder efficient and equitable policies to promote healthy populations, while too little is done to address the social determinants of health. Instead, Mooney argues, health services and health policy more generally should be returned to the communities they serve.

Taking in a broad range of international case studies - from the UK to the US, South Africa to Cuba - this provocative book places issues of power and politics in health care systems centre stage, making a compelling case for the need to re-evaluate how we approach health care globally.


'Inequality, whether of wealth or power, undermines our best efforts to provide effective support to communities in their quest for better health. Mooney challenges neoliberal assumptions and through elegant case studies demonstrates how we can improve what we do through real community involvement in making decisions about health according to the values that matter.'

Prof. Stephen Leeder, Director, The Menzies Centre for Health Policy, Director, Research Network, Western Sydney LHD, The University of Sydney

'In this most original and highly readable book, Gavin Mooney makes a compelling case that we can do far more to improve people's health in both developed and developing countries. He ably documents current shortcomings, concluding that most of the problems lie in 'neoliberal' policies - that is, those that sacrifice public decision-making to that of the marketplace, which in turn is controlled by corporate interests. Rather than just posing the problem, he comes up with thought-provoking solutions, showing, for example, that local citizenry are fully capable of coming up with sophisticated organizational and distributional policy aimed at improving the health of the community. This book aims high and achieves.' Thomas Rice, Distinguished Professor, UCLA School of Public Health

'This is a biting and insightful book on what is wrong with the political economy of the world today that so much goes wrong with our health systems. Sharply written and informative in the best Zed tradition!' Prof. Gita Sen, Centre for Public Policy, Indian Institute of Management

'This is Mooney at his 'no-holds-barred' best, laying bare the power relationships affecting health. Unless health economists start paying attention to the political economy of health, progress in solving the health challenges facing us will be painfully slow. This book is setting us on that path.' Prof. Di McIntyre, Health Economics Unit, University of Cape Town

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Why has the economics of health care policy gone wrong?
    3. Why have broader policies affecting health been inadequate ?
    4. The malaise of neoliberalism in health, health care and health economics
    5. Neoliberalism, the global institutions and health
    6. The US: the fear of ‘socialised’ health care
    7. The UK NHS and the market
    8. South Africa, neoliberalism and HIV/AIDS
    9. Australia and victim blaming
    10. A local community versus a corporation
    11. The pharmaceutical industry
    12. Neoliberalism and global warming
    13. The solutions in theory: communitarian claims
    14. The solutions in health care
    15. The solutions on society more generally
    16. Kerala: community participation
    17. Cuba: health care and social determinants of
    18. Venezuela: power to the community
    19. Conclusion

About the Author

Gavin Mooney is based in Perth in Western Australia. He has worked as a health economist for 40 years and held academic positions in Scotland, Scandinavia, South Africa and Australia. In 2009 he was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Cape Town as 'one of the founding fathers of health economics'. He has published widely with over 20 books to his name. Gavin has also acted as a consultant to WHO and to the OECD. Equity is a key research focus. In recent years he has become particularly interested in the impact of poverty and inequality on health and in turn of neo liberalism on power structures in society and in healthcare systems. Much of this is reflected in his Challenging Health Economics for OUP in 2009. He is also an advocate for using community values through citizens' juries in health care (see www.gavinmooney.com).

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