Navarro Vicente, Editor

The Political Economy of Social Inequalities: Consequences for Health and Quality of Life

Baywood Publishing Co, 2001

About the Book

In the last two decades of the 20th century, we witnessed a dramatic growth in social inequalities within and among countries. This has had a most negative impact on the health and quality of life of large sectors of the populations in the developed and underdeveloped world. This volume analyzes the reasons for this increase in inequalities and its consequences for the well being of populations. Scholars from a variety of disciplines and countries analyze the different dimensions of this topic.

Part I of this volume reviews the historical evolution of the political context in which scientific studies on social inequalities have evolved. Part II examines the causes for the growing inequalities, questioning economic determinist explanations (such as attributing the growth to economic globalization) and technological determinist explanations (such as attributing the growth to the requirements of the New Economy). These chapters show, instead, how the growth of inequalities is rooted in power relations within and among countries and their reproduction through the state. The enormous economic and political power of the financial and entrepreneurial establishments and their related social classes is responsible for neoliberal public policies characterized by increased transfer of funds from labor to capital, further deregulation of labor markets, and declining redistribution through the welfare state. Part III then analyzes how the World Bank, IMF, WHO, and other international agencies are reproducing these neoliberal policies. Part IV addresses how privatization of the welfare state and resulting inequalities are negatively affecting the quality of life of populations. Part V presents one of today’s major debates (the Wilkinson-Muntaner debate) in the scientific literature on the relationship between inequalities and health, contrasting different conceptions (one based on Weber, the other on Marx) of the pathways between inequalities and health. In Part VI, the contributors critically analyze some proposed solutions for reducing inequalities and provide alternative proposals rooted in the need to broaden the meaning of politics, democracy, and quality of life, and to intervene actively in political life on the side of those who question power relations within and among countries.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Vicente Navarro

Part I: Review of the Research

A Historical Review (1965-1997) of Studies on Class, Health, and Quality of Life: A Personal Account, Vicente Navarro

Part II: Causes for the growth of Inequalities and their Impact on Health and Quality of life

Neoliberalism, �Globalization,� Unemployment, Inequalities, and the Welfare State, Vicente Navarro
Health and Equity in the World in the Era of �Globalization,� Vicente Navarro

The Political Economy of the Welfare State in Developed Capitalist Countries, Vicente Navarro

Part III: Critique of International Agencies: WHO, PAHO, WORLD BANK, IMF, UNICEF, AND UNDP

Ravaging the Poor: The International Monetary Fund Indicted by Its Own Data, Gabriel Kolko
World Bank Education Policy: Market Liberalism Meets Ideological Conservatism, Adriana Puiggrós
Market Commodities and Poor Relief: The World Bank Proposal for Health, Asa Cristina Laurell and Oliva López Arellano

Neoliberalism Revised? A Critical Account of World Bank Conceptions of Good Governance and Market Friendly Intervention, Ray Kiely

In Pursuit of �Growth with Equity�: The Limits of Chile�s Free-Market Social Reforms, Pilar Vergara
A Fundamental Shift in the Approach to International Health by WHO, UNICEF, and the World Bank: Instances of the Practice of �Intellectual Fascism� and Totalitarianism in Some Asian Countries, Debabar Banerji

Part IV: Neoliberialism and Social and Health Policy

The Mexican Social Security Counterreform: Pensions for Profit, Asa Cristina Laurell
Remaking Medicare: The Voucher Myth, Jonathan Oberlander

A Slippery Slope: Economists and Social Insurance in the United States, Richard B. Du Boff

Part V: Debate on Pathways of Social Inequalities and Health

Income Inequality, Social Cohesion, and Class Relations: A Critique of Wilkinson�s Neo-Durkheimian Research Program, Carles Muntaner and John Lynch

Income Inequality, Social Cohesion, and Health: Clarifying the Theory�A Reply to Muntaner and Lynch, Richard G. Wilkinson

The Social Class Determinants of Income Inequality and Social Cohesion, Carles Muntaner, John Lynch, and Gary L. Oates

Part VI: Analysis of Proposed Solutions: The Importance of the Political Context

The Political Context of Social Inequalities and Health, Vicente Navarro and Leiyu Shi

Is There a Third Way? A Response to Giddens�s The Third Way, Vicente Navarro

Toward an Ecosocial View of Health, Richard Levins and Cynthia Lopez

Development and Quality of Life: A Critique of Amartya Sen�s Development As Freedom, Vicente Navarro

Are Pro-Welfare State and Full-Employment Policies Possible in the Era of Globalization? Vicente Navarro

CONTRIBUTORS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INDEX

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