Thursday, May 29, 2008

Review: Pathologies of Power

Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor by Paul Farmer

I liked it best for introducing me to the concept of "structural violence" - essentially whenever the way an economy is set up guarantees that people at the bottom will be victims of violence - whether de jure (rape, murder) or de facto (preventable diseases, hunger). And also for introducing me to some excellent liberation theologians who reminded me that not all religious people are despicable hypocrites, and some top, top poets.

Farmer's perspective on countries full of structural violence like Haiti and "shock therapy" Russia is intensely personal, and his entire book comes from one who spends more time curing people than sitting in an office or library and writing. Not to say that is a good or bad thing, but that is the style in which the book is written.

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