Abstract

summary:

After briefly surveying the New History of Capitalism and its objectives, this article explores ways that the history of medicine and the history of capitalism can productively interact. The article argues that historians of medicine should adopt a broad definition of "capitalism" to accommodate the distinctive nature of medical and health care markets. Across millennia and diverse cultures, medical markets have demonstrated extensive commodification, with spiritual or religious goods and services composing a significant portion of commercial trade. Moreover, health care markets, at least since the ancient era, have been susceptible to third-party interventions by both the state and voluntary organizations. Accordingly, historians of medicine should look for pockets of capitalist exchange in otherwise noncapitalist economies and also assess how the logic of capitalism has influenced government programming and other types of third-party involvement in the health care market. To illustrate that insights from the history of capitalism can be applied to many topics within the history of medicine, this article presents three case studies. It examines medical markets in ancient Egypt; in Medieval Europe as managed by the Catholic Church; and in Germany, England, and the United States at the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3176
Print ISSN
0007-5140
Pages
pp. 319-367
Launched on MUSE
2020-12-18
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.