We need to be shocked into action about why wealth still dictates life expectancy | Comment is free | The Guardian

Labour law concerns the inequality of bargaini...

Labour law concerns the inequality of bargaining power between employers and workers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this op-ed in the Guardian, Paul MMason writes that there is a vast and growing health inequality between the poor and the well-off, arguing that it’s a reflection of the tilted playing field of life

Source: We need to be shocked into action about why wealth still dictates life expectancy | Comment is free | The Guardian

I respect the evidence that Mason is citing. However, his article is biassed by his own politics which strongly favor socialism and a bigger state to solve the problems.

With more conservative politics, I see things differently. For me, government policy must help people to help themselves. Of course, I agree with proper safety nets for the truly needy.

There are enormous challenges, including education, skills, diet, personal healthcare, work and leisure.

The context of increasing junk-food availability needs addressing too.

The economic outlook is for fewer traditional jobs on the back of increasing technology. So governments need policies to keep people active, healthy and as net contributors to society.


Opinion – UK – Chartbook of Economic Inequality

Oxford researcher, Max Roser, presents stunningly clear graphical data on trends in inequality. Today, I’m focusing on the UK where the charts present powerful evidence of increasing UK inequality.

Source: UK – Chartbook of Economic Inequality

The main highlights include:

  1. Top decile of earnings has increased from 165 per cent of median in 1978 to 197 per cent in 2013.
  2. Gini coefficient for equivalised disposable income is now around 10 percentage points higher than in 1980, but most of the increase took place in the 1980s.
  3. Overall inequality fell for a sustained period during Second World War and in late-1960s and 1970s.
  4. Relative poverty rate in 1990 was twice that in 1977.  However, overall the poverty rate has been falling since the 1990s.
  5. Top gross income shares fell from 1914 to the 1970s; since 1979 it has more than doubled.
  6. Compared to income, downward trend in top wealth shares from 1923 to end of 1980s; now levelled off.

The data for above website have been compiled by Anthony B Atkinson and Salvatore Morelli and are published as Atkinson and Morelli (2014). The online version of the Chartbook and the online data visualisations have been designed and constructed by Max Roser. The authors acknowledge support from the following institutions: Programme for Economic Modelling · Institute for New Economic Thinking – Oxford · Oxford Martin School

The authors explain their measures of income inequality.

It is interesting to reflect on the implications. Most people would cite the loss of traditional jobs, with man’s output increasingly being replaced by machines and jobs being offshored to low cost countries. BUT this needs to be considered against recent research from the IMF that better educational attainment and greater investment in R&D is significant in US states achieving higher Total Factor Productivity.