I got referred to a lovely video on the links between health and wealth recently. This isn’t the same thing as saying wealth buys happiness, or even that health is equal to happiness – even if wealth helps with health it doesn’t necessarily mean that health causes happiness, since people who suffer awful ill-health can be perfectly happy and many who commit suicide are perfectly healthy.
But there is clearly a link of some sort, as I’ve mentioned in the comments about the book “The blue zones” that is in the values and symbols section of the resources page.
If you watch the video, you might like to think about the answers to the three questions I’d like to pose to Hans Rosling (who presents it).
- What does it look like if you take away mortality in the first 5 years – since the data I’ve seen indicate that in the UK life expectancy at age 5 was rising up to the mid 19th Century, fell as a consequence of the industrial revolution and the change in diet and sanitation consequent on city living and has only recently got back to a similar point it was over 130 years ago – the rise in most countries in life expectancy at birth is a direct consequence of reduced infant mortality, so what does it look like if you take that out?
- Do the “wealth” figures include inflation, and if so relative to what – a loaf of bread, a house, a bar of gold?
- Are the individual disparities that he identifies in health and wealth within countries correlated by direction – in other words have they trended in the same direction although at different speeds, or are they moving in different directions?