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The Body Economic by Sanjay Basu, David Stuckler

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INTRODUCTION

Olivia remembers being on fire.

Eight years old, she was scared by the sound of dishes crashing onto the kitchen floor. Her parents were having another fight. She ran up the stairs to her bedroom and hid under a pillow. Exhausted from crying, she fell asleep.1

She woke up with a splintering pain on the right side of her face. The room was black with smoke. Her bedsheet had erupted in flames. Screaming, she ran out of her room and straight into the arms of a firefighter who had raced up the stairs. He wrapped her tightly in a blanket. As she would later hear the nurses in the hospital whisper, her father had set the house on fire in a drunken rage.

It was the spring of 2009, during the ongoing Great Recession. Olivia’s father, a construction ...

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