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June 14, 1976

Topias and Utopias in Health: Policy Studies

Author Affiliations

Michael Reese Medical Center Chicago

JAMA. 1976;235(24):2657. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260500061042

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Anyone who expects this collection of articles, presented at the Ninth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, to provide scientific information will be sorely disappointed. The book is explicitly and militantly Marxist. Every article is polemical in style and political in intent. The health care systems of socialist countries are praised as more "utopian" than Western models, partly because "the professional expert who tells others what to do is under attack through state intervention and widespread mobilization of popular energy and initiative."

Apart from its endless ideological diatribes, irrelevant to a scientific investigation, the book is so sloppy in terminology, so full of rhetoric, so one-sided in its bibliographies, that it defies any sense of objectivity. Yet on the dust jacket, Margaret Mead claims that this Congress has "brought together the most representative group of scientists and scholars that has ever met to advance our discipline." Assuming this statement