Solo i poveri muoiono giovani

ROTTERDAM – Chi si trova ad un livello inferiore della scala socioeconomica (in base al livello di istruzione, occupazione o reddito) ha, in media, una vita più breve e meno sana di chi è ad un livello più elevato. Ovviamente, le aspettative di vita alla nascita spesso variano di 5-10 anni a seconda del benessere sociale ed economico, ma tendenzialmente le persone più povere trascorrono 10-20 anni della loro vita soffrendo di un maggior numero di malattie o disabilità rispetto a chi gode di un maggior benessere.

Nel diciannovesimo secolo questo contesto non era affatto sorprendente visto che il reddito inferiore rappresentava la media, la povertà era ben più diffusa e non c’era alcuna forma di previdenza sociale. Ma questi stessi dati vengono oggi registrati nei paesi ad alto reddito, compresi quelli con un alto indice di prosperità economica e sviluppo umano e persino gli stati sociali altamente sviluppati dell’Europa occidentale.

Dopo la seconda guerra mondiale, i paesi dell’Europa occidentale hanno cercato di ridurre la disuguaglianza socioeconomica, o almeno cercato di compensarne le conseguenze, attraverso una forma di tassazione progressiva, con programmi di previdenza sociale ed un’ampia gamma di sussidi finanziati collettivamente come le case popolari, l’istruzione, la sanità e strutture culturali e per il tempo libero. Ma se da un lato queste politiche hanno ridotto la disuguaglianza in termini sociali ed economici, compreso il reddito, la qualità degli alloggi e l’accesso alla sanità, dall’altro non sono state sufficienti per eliminare le disuguaglianze in termini di sanità.

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