Howard Waitzkin’s Medicine and Public Health at the End of Empire

Matthew Anderson


I first heard Howard Waitzkin’s thesis that “US capitalism as we have known it has ended, and em-pire in its previous form has ended” at the Interna-tional Association of Health Policy in Europe (IAPHE) conference in Ankara, Turkey on Sunday, October 2, 2011. I must admit I was skeptical of these ideas. Certainly, only the previous year the Obama administration had stepped in to massively subsidize the US financial sector and take over two major US automobile manufacturers; this clearly had nothing to do with the declared rules of a capitalist economy. However, public subsidization of private enterprises has been common throughout US history. True, there was evidence that the US empire has been weakened, yet were we not still involved in a massive war on terror that seemed to have no discernible end? Was it really time to speak of an end of capitalism and empire?

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