The Passionate Economist

How Brian Abel-Smith Shaped Global Health and Social Welfare

Sally Sheard

Sally Sheard

Distributed for Policy Press at the University of Bristol

576 pages | 40 halftones | 6 x 9
Cloth $55.00 ISBN: 9781447314844 Published February 2014 For sale in North and South America only
Brian Abel-Smith was one of the most influential figures in the shaping of social welfare in the twentieth century. A modern day Thomas Paine, the British economist and expert advisor was driven to improve the lives of the poor, working with groups like the World Health Organization, International Labour Organization, and the World Bank to help bring health and social welfare services to millions across the globe. The Passionate Economist is the first biography to chronicle his life and the many programs he helped create.
Sally Sheard details Abel-Smith’s work as an economist and advocate, setting it against the backdrop of the larger history of health and social welfare development since the 1950s. She analyzes these developments and the effects that long-running welfare debates have had on both poverty and state responses to it. She compares welfare implementation in different developing countries and examines how it was administered by the agencies for which Abel-Smith worked. The result is an accessible book on a leading humanitarian and, through him, a history of exactly how we have cared for each other in the globalized era.
Anne Mills, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
“This fascinating book brought Brian Abel-Smith alive again for me. I knew him only in the later stages of his career, but the text made me recall his warmth, personal support, and incisive mind.” 
Lord David Owen
“As the dismantling of the National Health Service as we have known it proceeds apace, this biography brings alive a pivotal figure in its development since the 1950s. It reminds us of the strengths of the health and social welfare systems, which we have taken too much for granted. Hopefully it will help inspire their reinstatement.” 
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