14 May 2013

Do we care?

Is the answer to the question why – why do we have such health inequity – that we just don’t care enough?

In a paper on addiction and social compassion, Gavin Mooney wrote the following: 

“In a caring society being poor is not good for health but it is not as bad as being poor in an uncaring society.”

“In an increasingly neoliberal world where individualism, small government and low taxes are the order of the day, compassion can cease to be a public emotion.”

“We live in a competitive society. Competition means that some win and others lose. The question is what becomes of those who lose in the competition in school, on the labour market, on the housing market etc? ....what is required is ‘long term planning and resolute political and economic efforts to provide an opportunity for as many people as possible to feel that they are valuable members of society.”

“Public compassion matters...We need to care not simply because people are poor in income or have had their culture destroyed by colonisation, or are addicted to gambling or drugs, or have fled from some vile regime, but simply because they are badly off. The need is to embrace rather than push away ‘the other’...The embrace must be for the sake of building a decent society, a caring community....”

“In considering the badly off, if we as a community are to assist them, we need to listen to their voices, the voices of the poor, of addicts. Giving voice to the voiceless is the way to achieve a better distribution of power, to support our democractic institutions, to build social capital and to address not just inequalities in health and income but those that exist at a more structural level in our society. That is the road to a decent caring society.” 

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