Stress, domination and basic income : considering a citizens’ entitlement response to a public health crisis

Johnson, Matthew Thomas and Johnson, Elliott (2019) Stress, domination and basic income : considering a citizens’ entitlement response to a public health crisis. Social Theory and Health, 17 (2). 253–271. ISSN 1477-8211

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In 2015/16, stress was found psychologically to be responsible for 37% of work-related illnesses and 45% of working days lost due to illness in Great Britain. Stress has also been linked to long-term chronic health conditions – including heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and depression – responsible for 70% of NHS England spend, 50% of GP appointments, 64% of outpatient appointments and 70% of inpatient bed days. It is apparent that medical responses to stress-related illness contribute to the NHS funding crisis without resolving underlying causes. It is necessary to address the social bases of this public health issue. We argue that one of the primary causes of stress stems from a basic assumption of modern economics: that hierarchies are essential to organizational success. We argue that the combination of hierarchy and possibility of destitution inflicts domination on individuals. We then consider the potential contribution of Universal Basic Income (UBI) to dealing causally with this public health problem. This marks a new development in both the public health and UBI literatures. We conclude that future trials and studies of UBI ought to measure physiological effects on stress as part of an holistic evaluation of the policy.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Social Theory and Health
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The final publication is available at Springer via
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? stressdominationuniversal basic incomepublic healthsociology and political sciencehealth(social science) ??
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Deposited On:
11 Jul 2018 13:30
Last Modified:
11 May 2024 02:04