What do we mean by our term “the body economic”? It is, of course, a response to the term “the body politic.”
Here is a standard dictionary definition of body politic: “a group of persons organized under a single governmental authority; a people considered as a collective unit.”1
We adapt that format for body economic: “a group of persons organized under a common set of economic policies; a people whose lives are collectively affected by these policies.”
The body economic signifies not just the financial systems of which we are all a part, but the health effects of economic policies. As epidemiologists, we study the patterns, causes, and effects of disease. When we think of the body economic, we seek to understand ...