World Health & Population

World Health & Population July 2003 .doi:10.12927/whp.2003.17627

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

Claudio Schuftan

Abstract

Although Dr Paul Farmer's latest book does not really talk about a 'new' war on the poor, but rather an ancient one, the author has the full moral authority to write this book. In vivid case studies from both the North and the South, Farmer shares with us his experiences with the violation of human rights. The case studies may be depressive, but overall, they convey a message of optimism. The book not only searches for, analyzes and explains the social causes of structural violence and extreme suffering, but it also explores and deplores our collective tolerance of the social aberrations and abuses it describes. The book centers around a well documented critique of the liberal views on human rights, which have rarely served the interests of the poor.

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