The greatest wealth is health

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The greatest wealth is health

Citation Manager Abstract The correlation between health and wealth is arguably a very solidly established relationship. Yet that relationship may be reversing. Falling oil prices have raised average per capita incomes, worldwide. But from a long-run perspective they are a public health disaster.

The latter is easy to see: Their principal impact on incomes has been redistributional — Alberta and Russia lose, Ontario and Germany gain, etc. But the price has fallen because technical progress in extracting American shale oil has forced the Saudis' hand.

These efficiencies have The greatest wealth is health benefits for average incomes, but costs for long-run health. A compensating carbon tax is an obvious response. Wealthier Is Healthier, Mostly The correlation between health and wealth is arguably the most solidly established relationship we have in the study of the determinants of health.

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Countries with higher levels of gross domestic product GDP per capita tend to rank higher on various measures of health status, primarily life expectancy, but also when available morbidity and with some interesting anomalies self-reported health status. And within countries, people higher up on the socio-economic scale live longer, on average, and suffer less illness and disability while doing so.

All long known and extensively documented. Richer is not only better, but also healthier. Like all generalizations, this one is false-ish. Detailed examination yields all sorts of qualifications, exceptions and anomalies.

There are diminishing health returns to wealth; when we look across countries, the relationship flattens out among high-income countries. On the other hand, within societies the relationship seems to hold all the way up the socio-economic spectrum. It also makes a difference how the aggregate national income is distributed, and how it is used.

Recent US data, for example, show that over the long term there have been very large gains in life expectancy at the top end of the income distribution, but hardly any at the bottom.

The greatest wealth is health

Health improvements, or at least gains in life years, are thus following the trends in income growth — big at the top, minimal at the bottom. Again, richer is better, even if a rising tide does not lift all boats. In the US, at least, those on the bottom stay there.

But This Time Is Different, Unless … The details of the health—wealth relationship are endlessly fascinating and offer hours, years and even careers of harmless fun for health researchers. Yet very recently — indeed, in little more than a year — a remarkable concatenation of technological and political forces has emerged that threatens to reverse this relationship on a very large scale.

We are offered a significant short-term increase in average per capita world incomes, in return for an indeterminately large long-run reduction in health.

But This Time Is Different, Unless …

Fortunately, there are well understood and readily available policy levers that could permit us to avert or at least mitigate the threat to health while capturing the economic gains. Unfortunately, a combination of conflicting economic interests and deep ideological convictions may place the obvious policies out of reach.

At best, these forces are likely to delay implementation for a long time while health and other damages cumulate. The oil price plunge is unambiguously good news for the global economy.

It transfers trillions of dollars of wealth from oil-exporting countries to oil-consuming countries. Since there are a lot more of the latter, the net effect is positive — even if it causes enormous pain to the likes of Saudi Arabia, Russia, Nigeria and Venezuela.

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When fuel prices fall, consumers' buying power increases, especially in regions that are clogged with cars, such as Europe and North America; a cheaper fill-up is the equivalent of a tax cut Reguly a. Reguly has it right, of course, about the redistribution of wealth.

As the price falls, oil producers lose — Alberta, Newfoundland — and consumers gain — Ontario, Quebec. The massive transfer of wealth from west to east is the exact reverse of that which occurred after the OPEC "oil shocks" of and At the first shock, the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau introduced the much reviled National Energy Program NEP in a perfectly reasonable attempt to protect Eastern consumers against the rapacity of the oil companies and their Western provincial backers.

But the NEP was greeted by a storm of political protest and propaganda from corporate Canada. Even today the NEP is a dirty phrase in Western Canada, among the many who have no idea what it was all about.


But everybody knows that it was really bad. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

The greatest wealth is health

These interprovincial or inter-country swings of wealth when oil prices fluctuate simply rob Peter to pay Paul. How do they, on average, benefit or harm the world as a whole?Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, explains that the secret to wealth in America is a combination of two factors.

HealthAdore is a daily blog, featuring treatments, recipes, healthcare and nutrition news, weight loss and diet programs and tips. The history of the twentieth century can be summarized excessively briefly in five propositions: First, that the history of the twentieth century was overwhelmingly economic history.

Second, that the twentieth century saw the material wealth of humankind explode beyond all previous imagining. - Home Page - Health Wealth & Happiness -

Third. May (This essay was originally published in Hackers & Painters.) If you wanted to get rich, how would you do it? I think your best bet would be to start or join a startup. Asset & Wealth Management Group is a team of highly motivated individuals dedicated to the financial health and well-being of our clients.

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