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Historical and Economic Forces are the Key Determining Factors of Contemporary Debates Surrounding Health - Essay Example

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Historical and economic forces as the key determining factors of contemporary debates surrounding health from a Marxist perspective Introduction Economic development has helped industrialised nations to cross the border of poverty and related illnesses. Herein observations reveal that the traditional or older forms of infectious reasons for death are still prevalent as diseases of the poor in developing or underdeveloped nations, while degenerative diseases related to adulthood or old age form the main reason behind death in developed nations (Wilkinson, 2005, p.10)…
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Historical and Economic Forces are the Key Determining Factors of Contemporary Debates Surrounding Health
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Download file to see previous pages 1-16). Besides the strong health disparities that exist in the people between nations, there are evident disparities amongst citizens living within the social framework of single nation. This is evident in a recent health report that states that in terms of mortality rates, the mean difference between the upper and lower social classes, in terms of life expectancy vary anywhere between ten to four years (Siegrist and Marmot, 2006, p. 1). Considering the various technological innovations within the arena of medical sciences, and the persistently increasing amount of funds allocated for providing public healthcare services, especially in developed nations, it is difficult to comprehend class related disparities (arising from economic and historical factors) still exist within 21st century societies that create heath inequalities (Bartley, 2003, p. 5-8). Such class-based disparities or social stratification emulates a specific ‘social gradient’ as regards health, which takes into consideration the entire society. From the various reviews it is evident that a higher social status or a position higher up in the socioeconomic hierarchy, is inversely proportional to poverty related ill heath, mortality rates, morbidity, death frequencies, frequency of outbreak of diseases (Marmot, 2004, pp. 10-43). This implies that at an average count, higher social status allows an individual to lead a healthier life and a greater life span (Siegrist and Marmot 2006, pp. 4-5). Social stratification, which refers to structured inequality, is historically derived, starting with feudalism and its later transition to modern capitalism, is present within the society for many centuries. This has led to the formation of a hierarchy, based on many socially created inequality factors. From the theories of Marxism, we can derive that a society is generally distinguished by its mode of production, and the various relationships forged within a society on means of production form the basis of class division and subsequent class struggle. In such a scenario, social stratification that created hierarchical classes is composed of three multidimensional aspects, like “economic standing (wealth and income), prestige, and power” (Zanden, 1986, p. 156). Thus, one can assume that a minority group controlling the means of production, which has economic standing, power and wealth, would automatically be at the topmost level of this social stratification. Therefore, the study of social stratification is important, as it stands out to be an important factor in determining health and life style of an average person, residing within a state. While analysing social class it can be defined as “empirical investigation of the consequences and corollaries of the existence of a class structure defined ex-ante” (Breen & Rottman, 1995, p. 453). Even though the concept of social classes had always been present in UK, studies show that this issue was strongly highlighted in 1980, after publication of the Black Report, which showed that there were health inequalities within British society based on various historical and socio-economic factors. It highlighted ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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