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Lecture 4

Week 4

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Health Studies
Toba Bryant

Week 4 Political Economy 1.) Staying Alive Chapter 3: Health and Health Care A Political Economy Perspective The unique point of view of political economy is that it focuses on the links between health and the economic, political and social life of different people, regions or societies. Many different political economies the approach in this chapter is materialist the sense of viewing ideas and institutions as emerging from how a society organizes production and uses such concepts as mode of production and class. Current dominant view of how the world works Neo-liberalism: o The concept arose in the developed world in the 1970s. o Asserts that free enterprise policies produce economic growth, which in turn is the basis for all human well-being o Free trade both within and among nations will improve human welfare Coburn states evidence indicates that high gross national product is not at all highly related to well- functioning societies and to human well-being the neoliberal paradigm is incorrect. o He also argues less capitalist (less neo-liberal) systems are better than pure neo-liberal ones Capitalism influences everything within a capitalist social formation from the beliefs people have, to what they consider desirable to prevalent ideas, to politics, to social life. Capitalism is characterized by the predominant power of those who own and control the means of production. o Ownership of the means of production confers power this power extends outside of work and the economy to an influence on the media, politics, the state etc. Democracy asserts power equality, capitalism produces inequality (capitalism preach democracy, but practice power) A good example of power inequalities is regarding the role of the state. o A neo-liberal or pluralist interest group political economy approach argues that many important decisions are not even within state purview- the state has inherent bias toward business because states must ensure a well-functioning economy to ensure success. Phases and Types of Capitalism and the rise of Neo-Liberalism Capitalism is a particular type of social formation dominated by a free-enterprise economy that shapes everything embedded within it. Capitalism of today is different from past ideologies, also have different forms around the world Nations have been categorized as displaying particular types of capitalism according to the way they organize the provision of care for their citizens the types of welfare-state regimes. Nations develop specific patterns of political and social institutions and policies Welfare regimes can be categorized according to the extent to which they decommodify citizens relationships to the market o Decommodification refers to the degree to which citizens have an alternative tto complete dependence on the labour market, in order to have an acceptable stand of living (i.e. welfare, unemployment insurance, pensions etc) Espring-Andersen notes three major types of welfare state: o Social democratic show the greatest decommodification and emphasis on citizenship rights (i.e. Sweden, Norway, Finland) o Liberal most market dependent and emphasizes means and income testing (i.e. USA, UK) o Conservative characterized by class and status-based insurance schemes and a heavy reliance on the family to provide support (i.e. Germany, France and Italy) Health Status within and among Nations
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