Accepted paper:

Austerity and neoliberalism in Greece: a "sickening" combination for public health


Angeliki Kerasidou (The Ethox Centre)
Patricia Kingori (The Ethox Centre, University of Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the effects of austerity and neoliberal policies on the healthcare system of Greece and the health profile of its population. It argues that austerity and neoliberalism adversely impact on the health and wellbeing of the Greek population.

Paper long abstract:

The financial crisis that began in 2008 has created a myriad of challenges for Europe. Greece tackled the crisis with the adoption of severe austerity measures and neoliberal policies that led to huge increases in unemployment, decreases in incomes, and rapid shrinkage in State welfare. Greece's public health profile was also affected, with increases in: mental health problems, suicides, incidences of infectious diseases, such as HIV and malaria; and infant mortality. The causes of the 2008 global financial crisis remain debatable. Some argue that State intervention in the US housing market was the primary reason; while others name the deregulation of the banking system. Proponents of the latter theory argue for stronger state control over markets, whereas those in favour of the former argument advocate for less State intervention and neoliberialism. Such neoliberal ideals are not new in Europe. However, the recent fiscal crisis coupled with austerity measures have been catalytic in moves towards a neoliberal agenda aimed at shrinking the State and liberating Greek market. This paper will: (i) look at how austerity and neoliberalism has changed the Greek healthcare system; (ii) compare the public health profile of the Greek population before and after the crisis, and; (iii) discuss the effects of neoliberalism on the health profile of populations. We will argue that severe austerity, neoliberal economic models in healthcare, the withdrawal of public spending and the privatisation of public health have adversely affected the health and wellbeing of the Greek population.

panel P49
Commercialization, experimentation and health in low-resource countries: pharmaceuticals, collaborations and global philanthropy