Criterion of economic growth and health to compare the welfare of Grupo Milenio countries

Good Morning America published an article about a “fashionable baby gift for a colleague”: donate part of the paid vacation to a pregnant colleague, so you can spend a little more time with your newborn before getting back to work.

this is not an isolated case. About a quarter of US companies have a “Paid Vacation Donation Program.” American Society of Employers.

In the United States (US) no maternity and sick leave with the right to remuneration at the national level. It is difficult to say to what extent this distinguishes it from rich countries. Average in countries OECD mothers are entitled to almost 19 weeks of paid leave.

I think about these differences every time I hear Europeans worry about your continent lags behind the US in terms of economic power. It’s not that GDP doesn’t matter, but is it really the only yardstick against which countries should measure their progress?

For decades it has been argued that GDP is an insufficient measure of national wealth or standard of living, but attempts to come up with something better often end in blandness.

In my opinion, life expectancy is the most important additional indicator of the situation in the country. It is a reliable metric based on mortality rates, and little is more important than life and death. It can be argued that “healthy life expectancy” a measure of the years people live in good health would be even better but the available data are too subjective.

Certainly, politicians are worried about life expectancy. But what would the world be like if politicians compared these statistics with the same obsession and anxiety with which they compare GDP growth trends?

To this extent, US it would have nothing to envy the rest of the rich countries. Even when your economy is growing, the life expectancy of its population lags behind that of the same indicator. In 1980, life expectancy in the US was about the same as in Italy and France, and higher than in the UK and Germany. In the 1990s he sank to the bottom of that group, And Now it is outpaced by much poorer countries in terms of GDP per capita.

This does not mean that GDP does not matter. It represents the size of the cake, which helps determine what a country can do in the world, as well as the type of life it can provide for its population. Therefore, it is not surprising that GDP and life expectancy are usually more or less correlated, but there are exceptions from which lessons can be learned.

People who care about health and want to influence politicians often try to highlight the impact it has on the economy. “Poor health reduces global GDP by 15 percent every year”It says McKinsey. “Endemic ill health in disadvantaged areas of England is costing the country nearly $38 billion a year as people are often too sick to work,” another report says. But it’s just the opposite. We do not want a long and healthy life to generate GDP, we want GDP to live a long and healthy life.


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