Monday, March 22, 2010

Inequality and illness. . .

Every once in a while I run across an exceptional website or blog. happens to be one of those. 

Don't know how I missed it for so long. 

You can check out the home page here. 

What follows was "Post of the Week" for March 6-12, 2010. 

Inequality Makes Me Sick (Literally)

GOOD Blog > Andrew Price on March 6, 2010 at 5:39 am PST

Given that income inequality in the United States is pretty bad (see map), this interview with the epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson is especially interesting. Wilkinson has found that high levels of income inequality correspond to all sorts of social problems. In other words, it isn't having more, but sharing more, that makes a community healthier.

"...we looked at life expectancy, mental illness, teen birthrates, violence, the percent of populations in prison, and drug use. They were all not just a little bit worse, but much worse, in more unequal countries. ... Epidemiologists and people working in public health have been doing this work for some time, not only controlling for relative poverty, but for all the income levels within, for instance, an American state. So once you know the relationship between income and death rates, for example, you should be able to predict what a state's death rate will be. Actually, though, that doesn't produce a good prediction; what matters aren't the incomes themselves but how unequal they are. If you're a more unequal state, the same level of income produces a higher death rate."

Wilkinson's explanation? In countries with more income inequality there is fiercer competition for status, and that leads to higher stress, more crime, less trust, and a host of other socially corrosive phenomena.

To check out this site click here.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

Larry, below is the url for an Editorial in today's NYT regarding healthcare reform. The premise is that the reform passed yesterday is the beginning, not the end. I agree. I am just unsure what it is that we are beginning. Believe it or not, I support many aspects of the bill: no lifetime limits (and I hope no annual limits is include, but I am not sure), no denial due to pre-existing conditions, accessibility to many, many more people (although this does not come online until 2019), as well as other provisions. However, I truly believe that most of the costs of this reform are hidden and will be revealed over time, and the projected costs are way, way low. Further, I believe that many deceptive "games" were played in calculating costs; for example, the costs of the first 10 years assumes 10 years of new taxation but only 6 years of new programs to arrive at the $900 B costs; and there are other examples. I will pray that the good in the Bill will outweigh the bad--that is, the costs. I will pray, and pray alot because history is not a good indication of what the final outcome will be. Here is the url line for the Editorial:
God bless you and your work, and see you on April 6.