the economic benefits of public health

The discussion about public funding and its history got me delving into the literature. I thought Boadicea, Zen, and the other participants might be interested in this.

Basically it says the perceived need for public health, and sanitation in particular, was driven by the economic benefits of having a healthy workforce

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/well/resources/Publications/Briefing%20Notes/BN%20Learning.htm

Author: julie_t

short story writer

15 thoughts on “the economic benefits of public health”

  1. I have corrected your link Julie 🙂

    The author of the 1834 Poor Laws, Chadwick, thought that the poor were so dependent on ‘parish pay’ that they made no effort to support themselves. His aim was to ensure that seeking help should be ‘a last resort’ and that ‘going on relief’ should be far worse than any way of living for the poorest worker. He was one of the most hated men in the UK!

    However, Chadwick realised that ‘sickness caused penury’ – and he became almost evangelical for sanitary reform and encouraged the building of infirmaries attached to the Workhouses, with isolation wards and fever wings. These soon began to serve all the poor not just Workhouse residents. Not satisfied with that, Chadwick spent several years producing his report on the ‘Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain’ of 1842.

    I always admire people who can change their strongly held opinions in the face of ‘facts’ – and Chadwick is one of my ‘heroes’ for that alone.

    It wasn’t just the benefits of having a healthy workforce, but also to ameliorate the effects of having a large unhealthy mob on relief!

  2. Julie, I try hard not to ‘blow my own trumpet’ – but you should, perhaps, be aware that I have a degree in History and a Ph.D in Economic History from the London School of Economics and Political Science. That rather biases me towards looking at history through an ‘economic’ lens. I have lots of ‘blank spots’, which I freely own, but I rarely state anything definitively unless I am sure of my ‘facts’.

    🙂

  3. I could see that you are well-equipped to talk about history, Boadicea.
    As the article points out, economics is a strong driving force for doing anything, and not just in relation to narrow specifics or the short term.

  4. I have always suspected that had cholera and typhoid only killed the poor, very little would have been done, after all, there seemed to be an inexhaustible supply! However, seeing that both the upper classes and the Royal Family succumbed also was quite a different matter!
    Amazing how such revisionist glosses are put on history subsequently. Try some original source documents.
    Bazalgette was not hired until after the Great Stink, previous to that there were insufficient ‘public funds’. I suspect Albert’s death was somewhat germane to encouraging the whole project.
    Once the rich are discommoded something gets done!

  5. J’tee, my formal History qualifications in no way match Boadicea’s, 2 A-levels of different periods, a Cert of Adv Ed in Modern History, and two years of Military History at Sandhurst. In addition, a lifelong fascination with Richard 111, his predecessos and successors.
    I am a ‘Kings and Things’ historian. Social History, not really my thing – sorry.

  6. christinaosborne :

    Once the rich are discommoded something gets done!

    Wealth has it privileges. Thats is why people strive to get rich. It is not immoral as one might infer from this and other discussions, it is nature at work.

  7. sipu, you should see spousal unit booting his congressman on occasion!
    Them that rise to the top of the heap in any sphere get to do a bit of booting if they should so wish. An inexorable fact of life forever since the beginning.
    Egalitarianism was always a big con to keep the masses deluded and universal suffrage a complete joke.

  8. Sipu, yes I did, just chipping in my last two bits worth!
    Off now to give a spinning lesson.
    Oh what splendid webs we weave when we practice to deceive! Or summat like that…
    Cheers for now.

  9. Juliet: I am more interested in social history, actually, that’s the only option given to us at my university. Politics and great figures are very important, but they’re not the only things. Though I do wish some people would pay more attention to that than get caught up in really unimportant details.

  10. christinaosborne :

    sipu, you should see spousal unit booting his congressman on occasion!
    Them that rise to the top of the heap in any sphere get to do a bit of booting if they should so wish. An inexorable fact of life forever since the beginning.
    Egalitarianism was always a big con to keep the masses deluded and universal suffrage a complete joke.

    Absolutely!

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