The Global Spread of AIDS and HIV
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Reprinted from the Journal of Economic Issues by special permission of the copyright holder, the Association for Evolutionary Economics.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) emerged on the global scene in the early 1980s, and since then has become one of the critical factors affecting human well-being. Globally it kills over 3 million people annually. It is especially prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where it kills 2. 4 million people per year, and its incidence is expanding dangerously in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe (UNAIDS/WHO 2005). The question raised in this paper is: what does heterodox political economy have to say about AIDS-HIV? A scholarly field of inquiry can reasonably be assessed according to how well it scrutinizes the world's major problems. This paper assesses political economy on this basis. Political economy posits a number of principles and theoretical concepts for guiding research in the social sciences. These principles do differ somewhat depending on the school and trend in question, but more recently, scholars have been writing on the convergence trends among and between at least some of the schools of political economy (especially along institutional-evolutionary lines). The current paper attempts to synthesize and apply some of these principles and concepts to the AIDS and HIV problem that has befallen the world over the past two-to-three decades (O'Hara 2007). It is believed that these principles are mostly grounded in empirical reality, and are likely to be of assistance in understanding the AIDS-HIV problem. This, indeed, is the principal hypothesis of this paper.
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