The Care Crisis

The Care Crisis:What Caused It and How Can We End It?

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From self-care to healthcare; how austerity and financialisation decimated our care systems

Every one of us will need care at some point in life: social care, healthcare, childcare, eldercare. In the shadow of COVID-19, care has become the most urgent topic of our times. But our care systems are in crisis. Concern for the most vulnerable has been overtaken by an obsession with profits and productivity. How did we end up here?

In an era of economic turmoil, lower birth rates and increased life expectancy mean a larger proportion of the population than ever before is of retirement age. As a result, more people need care, and their numbers are rising. Yet, despite the demand, public services continue to be cut and sold off. Those most in need are left to fend for themselves.

In this groundbreaking book, Emma Dowling charts the multifaceted nature of the care crisis. Telling the stories of those on the frontlines through conversations with paid and unpaid carers, doctors, social workers, parents, and eldercare workers, she exposes the devastating impact of financialisation and austerity. The Care Crisis reveals a system that places profits before people and shows that privatisation has been key to producing a state of disarray.Dowling maps the new economy of abandonment, raising the unavoidable question: how do we end the crisis?

Reviews

  • Emma Dowling has written a book for our times: a meditation on care, its burdens and its possibilities. Dowling deftly weaves together theories of care with empirical interviews in order to understand how and why we care and the ways in which care can be the basis for radical politics in this time of crisis.

    Akwugo Emejulu
  • The Care Crisis is unique in threading together the many different sites across society where paid and unpaid caring takes place. The book demonstrates how a long-standing subjugation of caring bodies and feelings is entering a new phase. With a focus on the UK context and with relevance to debates beyond it, Emma Dowling offers a powerful analysis of the politics and economics of care, making evident the urgent need to transform the material conditions of our lives.

    Silvia Federici, author of Caliban and the Witch
  • A compelling tour de force of the ways our lives are underpinned by radical inequalities in care and caring: from care as wealth extraction to commodified cuddling. This is a highly readable book about how our whole economy is organised, how we are all drawn into fixing widespread system failure, yet only manage to displace problems even further.

    Beverley Skeggs, Distinguished Professor, Centre for Alternatives to Social Inequality