Can Neoliberal Capitalism Affect Human Evolution?

Int J Health Serv. 2018 Jan;48(1):166-188. doi: 10.1177/0020731417742258.


The connection between genes and health outcomes is significantly moderated by social factors. Health inequalities result from the differential accumulation of exposures and resource access rooted in class-based circumstances. In the neoliberal era in the United States, changed physical and socioeconomic conditions facing the poorer members of society have been characterized as traumatogenic (capable of producing a wound or injury). This paper will argue that research that points to the transgenerational influence of environmental impacts on health suggests 2 important reconsiderations of the link between the economy and health. First, an understanding of the health of any society requires an understanding not only of current but also past environmental conditions and the economy that produces those conditions. Second, it suggests that the way in which economic policy is analyzed needs to be reconsidered to incorporate the transgenerational impacts of environmental conditions produced by those policies.

Keywords: economics; epigenetics; genetics; inequality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Capitalism*
  • Epigenomics*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Politics*
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • United States