Interview Health and economic crisis

Eloi Laurent: ‘Time for an alliance between social justice and ecological sustainability to take over’

The Covid-19 pandemic is a cruel reminder that ecosystem vitality and human health are closely linked. For Eloi Laurent, "the best economic policy is a good health policy and the best health policy is a good environmental policy. We see that there is no trade-off between economy and environment."

Published on 25 February 2021 at 08:30

Eloi Laurent is an economist and lecturer at Science Po, Ponts Paris Tech and Stanford University. He is the author of numerous books, including Sortir de la croissance (“Escaping growth”, LLL, 2019) and Nos mythologies économiques (“Our economic mythologies”, LLL, 2016). He has just published Et si la santé guidait le monde ? (“What if health guided the world?”, LLL, 2020).

Catherine André: What inspired your latest book, Et si la santé guidait le monde ? 

Eloi Laurent: In this book, I wanted to propose a new objective, a new narrative, for the somewhat arid subject of how to get past growth and GDP and the wellbeing "indicators". "Full health" could be both a compass and shield for human societies in our century of the environment – which for me began on 7 April 2020, when 4 billion humans had to sacrifice the core of their humanity (their social relations).

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“Full" health is both social and ecological. In my opinion it can get us out of the crisis in Europe, in two ways. The immediate crisis, that of desocialisation – whose ravages on mental health are now clearly visible – calls for a strategy of "social revitalisation". But there is also the deeper crisis, that of an ecologically unsustainable economic system, which requires us to take care of ecosystems for our own good.

Research on the health-environment link has been going on for decades. Why is it not sufficiently taken into account in public policy?


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