Prof. Daniel Greenwood Writes ‘Policy Does Matter’

In response to columnist David Brooks’ article, “The Limits of Policy,” Professor Daniel JH Greenwood writes, “Policy Does Matter.”

Policy Does Matter
Daniel JH Greenwood
Dissent Magazine
May 5, 2010


In yesterday’s New York Times, David Brooks wrote that policy doesn’t matter, because Swedes in Sweden have a longer life expectancy than Americans and so do Americans of Swedish descent, and because Native Americans in South Dakota have shockingly low life expectancy. Actually, the implication is the opposite. It isn’t fate that makes our results so appalling.

As Marmot (Status Syndrome) and Wilkinson (Mind The Gap; Spirit Level) have demonstrated, we have powerful evidence that among the rich countries, egalitarian societies such as Sweden have better health than inegalitarian ones such as the United States (and in the inegalitarian ones, the bottom does dramatically worse than the top). Our results are not in spite of our policies; they are the predictable consequences of them.

Read the full article at dissentmagazine.org.