The Ecologist July 1980: Our broken healthcare system

July-Aug-Sept 1980
Front cover of July-August-September 1980 issue
In the tenth anniversary edition of the Ecologist, Edward Goldsmith took aim at a misguided approach to healthcare in industrialised countries, arguing instead for an ecological approach to both our physical and social ills

Teddy Goldsmith’s thesis in 'The Ecology of Health' is bold and provocative. With expenditure on health services spiralling without significant improvements to our health to show for it, Goldsmith argues for radical rethink over how we should direct our resources.

At the heart of Goldsmith's approach is an appeal to our roots. Human beings are the product of a distinct evolutionary process in a particular historical environment, and it is movement away from this that lies behind many of our modern day healthcare issues, be they physical or social.

For Goldsmith, the solution is a shift to services that seek to bridge the gap between our current environment and the one from which we evolved, and his ideas continue to have implications for debates ranging from GM crops to the NHS:

‘The total impotence of modern medical science to reduce the incidence of the so-called ‘diseases of civilisation’: cancer, ischaemic heart disease, diabetes,…, is apparent to all. Their incidence, in spite of any efforts made by the medical profession, continues to rise with GNP.

‘The only realistic conclusion to be derived from all this is that medical science is on the wrong track, and that a new health policy is urgently required…’

To read the original article in our archive, click here.

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