Modern, contemporary health care is inextricably bound up with the advancement of first the sciences and then, from the beginning of the nineteenth century, the life sciences including medicine, physiology and chemistry. At the same time as health care needs to be understood within the context of the scientific revolution and the gradual institutionalization of scientific procedures, modern health care is also the outcome of the democratization of health and the emergence of the welfare state. Health care work is not strictly determined by advancement of the life sciences but is also largely a matter of making informed political choices on what actions to take and what areas to target. Being part of the political economy of public health, health care organizations differ across nations and regions, but they share the elementary predicament of making use of limited resources to seemingly unlimited human needs. The later modern period has been referred to as an information society, an attention economy, a post-materialist society, and a wide scope of such defining labels have been proposed. It would also be fair to speak of contemporary, late modern society as a society governed by the possibilities of the life sciences and the possibilities for maintaining life, restoring biological functions and rejuvenating human bodies through various therapies and procedures.
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