Healing the Body Economic
What do we mean by “the body economic”? It is, of course, a response to the term “the body politic.” Here is the standard definition of body politic: “a group of persons organized under a single government authority; a people considered as a collective unit.” We adapt that format for body economic: “a group of persons organized under a common set of economic policies; the people whose lives are collectively affected by these policies.”
The body economic signifies not just the financial systems of which we are all a part, but the health effects of economic policies. As epidemiologists, we study the patterns, causes, and effects of disease. When we think of the body economic, we seek to understand how government budgets and economic choices affect life and death, resilience and risk, for entire populations around the world.