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Limits to medicine. Medical nemesis: the expropriation of health Articles from Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health are provided here courtesy of. PDF | An abbreviated version of this review has been published in the BMJ *. The closest I ever came to a religious experience was listening to Ivan Illich. Buy Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis – The Expropriation of Health (Open Forum S.) New edition by Ivan Illich (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book.

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Limits to Medicine–Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Liimts Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Limitx — Limits od Medicine by Ivan Illich. The Expropriation of Health by Ivan Illich. In Limits to Medicine Ivan Illich has enlarged on this theme of disabling social services, schools, and transport, which have become, through over-industrialization, harmful to man. In this radical contribution to soc “The medical establishment has become a major threat to health.

In this radical contribution to social thinking Illich decimates the myth of the magic of the medical profession. Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Limits to Medicineplease sign up.

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Mar 19, Marilyn McEntyre rated it really liked it. Ilych can easily be dismissed ehalth a radical, a curmudgeon, or a blowhard by people who meducal want to hear his sharp and penetrating critiques of two core social institutions–medicine and education.

But his work is deeply thoughtful, drives to the theoretical and ideological heart of what ails medical practice and schooling, and surprises a willing reader as I was into questioning assumptions–an important thing to keep doing. In this book he challenges the deepest assumptions behind capitalist Ilych can easily be dismissed as a radical, a curmudgeon, or a blowhard by people who don’t want to hear his sharp and penetrating critiques of two core social institutions–medicine and education.

Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health

In this book he challenges the deepest assumptions behind capitalistic medicine, or medicine practiced in a culture where virtually everything, including care, is commodified and done for profit. The profit motive becomes so pervasive that even when it’s done not for profit, it’s hard to retrieve the ground-level conviction that communities of people need medjcal care for themselves and each other, that that care giving is not something to be consigned to impersonal professionals, and that a good bit of what passes for standard care is defined by pharmaceutical and insuance companies.

Apr 03, Tara rated it it was amazing Shelves: Modern discussion about politics, the future, culture, etc. Mass media and the internet facilitate the adoption of easy slogans. Healthcare is mediical ‘right’ and we should get as much of it as we want the second medicihe want it. But who defines what healthcare is, or what goal it should work towards?

Who draws up the balance sheet that includes the poisonous chemicals the medical complex produces, the waste, the populace unable to provide any degree of self-care, the elderly abandoned by their Modern tye about politics, the future, culture, etc. Who draws up the balance sheet that includes the poisonous chemicals the medical complex produces, the waste, the populace unable too provide any degree of self-care, the elderly abandoned by their families in old-age homes?

Who asks what is lost by forcing modern treatment upon third world people, while their own medicines are patented up and forbidden them? They protest, and we don’t listen – tje medical-industrial complex is a ‘right’ we will force upon them! I don’t think anyone needs to, or should, agree with every single statement in this book to realize that it’s a perspective desperately, badly missing at the table of our current debates.

Illich is the counterbalance we need if we’re to remember what words mean, what we want to be working towards, the kind of world we’d like to live in, and what makes up a good life.


That’s not something the corporate state wants us to think about. So, all nedical more reason I urge everyone to read this; it would be nice to have the whole story, rather than just parroting the fashions our bloggers and talking heads care about this minute. Oct 08, Megan rated it really liked it Shelves: There are a few dry, statistics-heavy sections in the nemesiw.

But I thought the end of the book, Part IV: The Politics of Health, is the clearest presentation I’ve read yet of Illich’s critique of industrial institutions. He argues for institutions that balance the possibilities for autonomous action with nemsis of managed dependence focused on industrial output. He clearly believes that most of our major systems today focus on the latter, to the detriment of what they are intended for.

So for the h There are a few dry, statistics-heavy sections in the li,its. So for the health care system, the focus on industrial output of new treatment creates a dependence on hospitals and medicines and insurance that prevent citizens from understanding their own power for self-care, so that in the end we end up dumping ever more resources into a system that in fact is now harming, rather than helping, health.

His term for this nemesia “specific counterproductivity,” and he presents a solid argument for how this does exist in our current health care system, medicne for how problematic it is.

Such a perspective is entirely lacking from current debates around health care, and I’d really encourage folks thinking about current health care issues to take a look at Medical Nemesis. And I think his analysis in Part IV is useful for anyone thinking about the balance of rights and liberty in society and how those are shaped, strengthened, exprolriation limited by major institutions.

Nov 20, Titik Musyarofah rated it it was amazing. The medicine intitute just the other face of industrialization. We or our health growing better without the medicine institutes contribution. Mar 09, Chris rated it it was amazing Shelves: Important book everyone should read. The medical oof has failed, is economically unsustainable, and it mostly serves to promote sickness. It really needs drastic change, but we need more people to educate themselves and take back responsibility over their own health.

Having worked in the health industry in public and private settings, I couldn’t help but ov the glaring problems in the system. The horrific amount of waste of time and resources. The bullshit marketing to lure in more ‘health co Important book everyone should read. The bullshit marketing to lure in expropriatjon ‘health consumption’ that people don’t need – until we tell them they do.

The harmful way we remove autonomy of nedicine – only the expert can be trusted to facilitate read: We’ve created a cotton wool society where no one trusts their innate ability to regulate their own health. Thw buy our health like our food – fast, fake and unfulfilling. This book has been largely confirming of my ideas and hunches, but it has been even more eye opening.

Illich presents a uealth case to show the wider context and grander scale of the problem. Though the book was written in the 70s so a lot of the research is dated, much of the book still rings true – its the same shit just with more forward momentum.

It doesnt take much to see – worldwide illness and disease soaring that are EASILY preventable – msdicine something is not right. He gives us a look at the iatrogenesis harm caused by medical intervention at a clinical, social and cultural level. We get a fascinating look at the history of our mefical of life, death, healing and the doctor and our cultural myths through time. We’re now in a myth of consumption from industrial progress, and blinded by it, we know no limitations.

There is no doubt that self care is the best care and the medical institution robs us of that. Illich argues the solution is a “political program aimed at the limitation of professional management of health It is not the medixine of instinct, but of an autonomous yet culturally shaped reaction to socially created reality. It designates the ability to adapt to changing environments, to growing up nemwsis to aging, to healing when damaged, to suffering and to peaceful expectation of death.


Health embraces the future as well, and therefore includes anguish and the inner resources to live with it”. Success in this personal task is in large part the result of the self-awareness, self-discipline, and inner resources by which each person regulates his own daily rhythm and actions”.

It consists in making not only individuals but whole populations survive on inhumanly low levels of personal health.

Limits to Medicine. Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health, by Ivan Illich

Medical nemesis is the negative feedback of a social organisation that set out to improve and equalise the opportunity for each man to cope in autonomy and ended up destroying it”.

Sep 16, Chrisl rated it really liked it Shelves: Pushing 4 decades since I read this Would liked to have spent time with Illich in Mexico. Oct 12, Jonathan Hockey rated it it was amazing. This is one of the most concise and clear books I have read illustrating the dangers and pitfalls of our industrial model of life in secular societies and our unhealthy dependence on centralised state systems. Here at the beginning he lays out the criticism of our health-care system: We have already seen, since this book, a lot of backlash to it.

But we yet also do still see ourselves heavily burdened with overgrown welfare states, and dangerously low birth rates.

Indicating our continued dependence on medicine and our lack of independent thriving and autonomy in our lives. There is so much in this book that gets right to the heart of the problem we face. I don’t agree with some of his suggested solutions, such as his claim that our only alternative is to create conditions in society for equitable autonomy.

As much as this would be a nice thing, I don’t see it as realistic in the light of human nature that tends to prefer hierarchies to equity. So I think you would have to enforce that equity unnaturally, which would rely on a kind of state dependence he is trying to warn us away from. The common theme though of the book is the absolute critical importance of retaining human dignity into our future society, and the hubris of reliance on technologies and ideologies to save us from basic human realities of life.

These latter things always create a nemesis as an unintentional consequence, and so we must learn to get back to understanding and promoting basic human dignity in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.

Here is how he concludes things: The ability to cope with this trio autonomously is fundamental to his health. As he becomes dependent on the management of his intimacy, he renounces his autonomy and his health must decline. It consists not only of making individuals but whole populations survive on inhumanly low levels of personal health.

That health should decline with increasing health service delivery is unforeseen only by the health managers, precisely because their strategies are the result of their blindness to the inalienability of life.

Not just for our own, but in our responsibility to the health of our families and the community around us. In this setting we function a million times more efficiently because we have natural capabilities in our brain for sensing illness and problems in our lives. These need to be nourished, educated and developed once more, so we can move into a future of less reliance on experts healrh professionals who cannot know what is best for us when times get tough, but only in an unsustainable situation of healtth economic growth and expansion.

We no longer can rely on this latter.