Born in Vienna in , Ivan Illich grew up in Europe. He studied theology, philosophy, history, and natural science. During the s he founded centers for cross-cultural communication, first in Puerto Rico and then in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Since the late s, he has divided his time among Mexico, the United States, and Germany. Illich's radical anarchist views first became widely known through a set of four books published during the early sDeschooling Society , Tools for Conviviality , Energy and Equity , and Medical Nemesis Tools is the most general statement of Illich's principles; the other three expand on examples sketched in Today in order to critique what he calls "radical monopolies" in the technologies of education, energy consumption, and medical treatment.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Limits to Medicine by Ivan Illich. In Limits to Medicine Ivan Illich has enlarged on this theme of disabling social services, schools, and transport, which have become, through over-industrialization, harmful to man.
In this radical contribution to soc "The medical establishment has become a major threat to health. In this radical contribution to social thinking Illich decimates the myth of the magic of the medical profession. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title.
Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Limits to Medicine , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Mar 19, Marilyn McEntyre rated it really liked it. Ilych can easily be dismissed as a radical, a curmudgeon, or a blowhard by people who don't want to hear his sharp and penetrating critiques of two core social institutions--medicine and education.
But his work is deeply thoughtful, drives to the theoretical and ideological heart of what ails medical practice and schooling, and surprises a willing reader as I was into questioning assumptions--an important thing to keep doing.
In this book he challenges the deepest assumptions behind capitalist Ilych can easily be dismissed as a radical, a curmudgeon, or a blowhard by people who don't want to hear his sharp and penetrating critiques of two core social institutions--medicine and education. In this book he challenges the deepest assumptions behind capitalistic medicine, or medicine practiced in a culture where virtually everything, including care, is commodified and done for profit. The profit motive becomes so pervasive that even when it's done not for profit, it's hard to retrieve the ground-level conviction that communities of people need to care for themselves and each other, that that care giving is not something to be consigned to impersonal professionals, and that a good bit of what passes for standard care is defined by pharmaceutical and insuance companies.
View 2 comments. Mar 09, Chris rated it it was amazing Shelves: favourite , health , society. Important book everyone should read. The medical system has failed, is economically unsustainable, and it mostly serves to promote sickness.
It really needs drastic change, but we need more people to educate themselves and take back responsibility over their own health. Having worked in the health industry in public and private settings, I couldn't help but see the glaring problems in the system. The horrific amount of waste of time and resources.
The bullshit marketing to lure in more 'health co Important book everyone should read. The bullshit marketing to lure in more 'health consumption' that people don't need - until we tell them they do.
The harmful way we remove autonomy of healing - only the expert can be trusted to facilitate read:intervene your bodies natural processes. We've created a cotton wool society where no one trusts their innate ability to regulate their own health.
We buy our health like our food - fast, fake and unfulfilling. This book has been largely confirming of my ideas and hunches, but it has been even more eye opening.
Illich presents a powerful case to show the wider context and grander scale of the problem. Though the book was written in the 70s so a lot of the research is dated, much of the book still rings true - its the same shit just with more forward momentum. It doesnt take much to see - worldwide illness and disease soaring that are EASILY preventable - obviously something is not right.
He gives us a look at the iatrogenesis harm caused by medical intervention at a clinical, social and cultural level. We get a fascinating look at the history of our concept of life, death, healing and the doctor and our cultural myths through time. We're now in a myth of consumption from industrial progress, and blinded by it, we know no limitations. There is no doubt that self care is the best care and the medical institution robs us of that.
Illich argues the solution is a "political program aimed at the limitation of professional management of health It is not the resilt of instinct, but of an autonomous yet culturally shaped reaction to socially created reality. It designates the ability to adapt to changing environments, to growing up and to aging, to healing when damaged, to suffering and to peaceful expectation of death. Health embraces the future as well, and therefore includes anguish and the inner resources to live with it"..
Success in this personal task is in large part the result of the self-awareness, self-discipline, and inner resources by which each person regulates his own daily rhythm and actions".
It consists in making not only individuals but whole populations survive on inhumanly low levels of personal health. Medical nemesis is the negative feedback of a social organisation that set out to improve and equalise the opportunity for each man to cope in autonomy and ended up destroying it". Oct 08, Meg rated it really liked it Shelves: economy , history , non-fiction , cultural-studies-and-anthropology , science-and-science-studies.
There are a few dry, statistics-heavy sections in the book. He argues for institutions that balance the possibilities for autonomous action with that of managed dependence focused on industrial output. He clearly believes that most of our major systems today focus on the latter, to the detriment of what they are intended for. So for the h There are a few dry, statistics-heavy sections in the book. So for the health care system, the focus on industrial output of new treatment creates a dependence on hospitals and medicines and insurance that prevent citizens from understanding their own power for self-care, so that in the end we end up dumping ever more resources into a system that in fact is now harming, rather than helping, health.
His term for this is "specific counterproductivity," and he presents a solid argument for how this does exist in our current health care system, and for how problematic it is. Such a perspective is entirely lacking from current debates around health care, and I'd really encourage folks thinking about current health care issues to take a look at Medical Nemesis. And I think his analysis in Part IV is useful for anyone thinking about the balance of rights and liberty in society and how those are shaped, strengthened, or limited by major institutions.
Dec 11, Jurjen van der Helden rated it it was amazing. This book is truly prophetical and shattering. It shatters not only my belief in medicine as a clinical phenomenon, but also as social and cultural phenomena. Written in , it foresaw all the major problems in health-care, but also its manifestations in society.
But unllike Prometheus, we are This book is truly prophetical and shattering. But unllike Prometheus, we are all suffering from the ever-lasting punishment of our medical hubris. My world view has truly changed by this book. Though not optimistically, but positively. Everyone in health-care, medicine, or the likes should read this. Apr 03, Tara rated it it was amazing Shelves: how-we-live-now. Modern discussion about politics, the future, culture, etc.
Mass media and the internet facilitate the adoption of easy slogans. Healthcare is a 'right' and we should get as much of it as we want the second we want it. But who defines what healthcare is, or what goal it should work towards? Who draws up the balance sheet that includes the poisonous chemicals the medical complex produces, the waste, the populace unable to provide any degree of self-care, the elderly abandoned by their Modern discussion about politics, the future, culture, etc.
Who draws up the balance sheet that includes the poisonous chemicals the medical complex produces, the waste, the populace unable to provide any degree of self-care, the elderly abandoned by their families in old-age homes?
Who asks what is lost by forcing modern treatment upon third world people, while their own medicines are patented up and forbidden them? They protest, and we don't listen - the medical-industrial complex is a 'right' we will force upon them! I don't think anyone needs to, or should, agree with every single statement in this book to realize that it's a perspective desperately, badly missing at the table of our current debates.
Illich is the counterbalance we need if we're to remember what words mean, what we want to be working towards, the kind of world we'd like to live in, and what makes up a good life. That's not something the corporate state wants us to think about. So, all the more reason I urge everyone to read this; it would be nice to have the whole story, rather than just parroting the fashions our bloggers and talking heads care about this minute. Nov 20, Titik Musyarofah rated it it was amazing.
The medicine intitute just the other face of industrialization. We or our health growing better without the medicine institutes contribution. Sep 16, Chrisl rated it really liked it Shelves: s , deweys. Pushing 4 decades since I read this
Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health
Illich was a visionary in a proper sense, a man who dared to question some of our deepest-held beliefs, and to imagine a radically different way of living. When I signed up to do medicine at University, being a doctor seemed an entirely progressive and benevolent enterprise. What could anyone object to about making sick people better? I wanted to go abroad and spread the wonders of western medicine to the underdeveloped world.
Limits of Medicine
Let me be very clear at the outset: I am not against health care - the same way as I am not against smart phones! I do not disagree with the positive impact medicine, and more precisely, healthcare as a whole, has had on humanity so far. The services of vast majority doctors and other healthcare professionals are highly commendable; there is no doubt. These are valuable activities which most of the time will not and cannot be undertaken for money, but it can be devalued if too much money is around.