Fool's words endure 1

February 13, 2004

Mo Dodson's tirade against Paul Ormerod's review of Michael Albert's Parecon (Letters, January 30; Books, January 23) can't go unchallenged. Ormerod criticises Albert for his failure to provide evidence that "capitalist globalisation produces poverty, ill health and shortened life spans".

Dodson defends Albert by claiming that "certain indigenous groups who live without the aid of modern medicine and so on have some of the longest recorded and healthiest lives".

As a gerontologist, I am not aware of the existence of any such group, and even the most cursory study of demographic data backs Ormerod's view that life expectancy has steadily increased. In contrast, maximum human lifespan has remained constant as far as we are able to estimate.

Dodson is simply parroting a statement made once by a fool and repeated ever after by other fools whose ideological enthusiasm exceeds their academic rigour.

Richard Faragher
School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
Brighton University

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