How Austerity Is Literally Killing People
Austerity in the United States and Europe isn’t just placing an unnecessary drag on economic growth that has harmed the global economic recovery from the Great Recession. The rapid deficit reduction efforts are also making people less healthy, causing higher rates of suicide, depression, and infectious disease, according to research from Oxford University economist David Stuckler and Stanford University medical professor Sanjay Basu.
HIV rates have risen 200 percent in Greece as it has cut its HIV prevention budget, and the country also suffered its first malaria outbreak in decades after budget cuts to mosquito-related programs. Increased unemployment has led to higher rates of suicide and depression across the continent, and the United States is seeing the effects as well, Reuters reports:
And more than five million Americans have lost access to healthcare during the latest recession, they argue, while in Britain, some 10,000 families have been pushed into homelessness by the government’s austerity budget.
“Our politicians need to take into account the serious – and in some cases profound – health consequences of economic choices,” said David Stuckler, a senior researcher at Oxford University and co-author The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills
“The harms we have found include HIV and malaria outbreaks, shortages of essential medicines, lost healthcare access, and an avoidable epidemic of alcohol abuse, depression and suicide,” he said in a statement. “Austerity is having a devastating effect.“