Public Health’s Response to Decline: Loyalty to the 1%
by Dan Bednarz
Posted May 17, 2018
American institutions are in decline and rife with corruption brought on by a combination of hitting the limits to growth while under the control of neoliberal capitalism. To the extent one deviates from the appearance and demeanor of staid white middle or upper class norms, an encounter with the police in many localities can be dangerous to ones person and pocket. The government’s reaction to the “the most destructive epidemics of elite financial frauds in history” has been to further enrich –rather than jail- financiers, and protection of the banks continues to harm and ruin the lives of millions of citizens. Higher education is embroiled in several scandals, from encouraging students to take out usurious loans few will able to retire, to the exploitation of adjunct professors, to covering up campus rape cabals. Many Americans are trapped in debt with virtually no possibility of paying it off; trust in government and corporations is at all time lows; and in fashions too lugubrious to list the federal government –and the two major political parties- do not promote the public interest, preferring instead to serve political/economic elites.
In the obscure yet critical institution of public health organizational leadership and academic researchers either blithely ignore or erroneously frame these indicators of cultural decline and corruption as the unfortunate fallout from “The Great Recession.” I suggest these leaders are trapped in a tightening contradiction between the field’s mission, protecting the health of the entire public, and acquiescence to social policies that serve the private interests of the 1%. More…