Large slum, poor living conditions.

Wenn Ungleichheit tötet

NEW YORK – In dieser Woche wird Angus Deaton „für seine Analyse des Konsums, der Armut und des Gemeinwohls“ den Nobelpreis für Ökonomie erhalten. Und zwar verdientermaßen. Tatsächlich hat Deaton kurz nach Ankündigung der Preisvergabe im Oktober gemeinsam mit Ann Case in den Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences eine alarmierende Arbeit veröffentlicht – Forschungsergebnisse, die mindestens so beachtenswert sind wie die Preisverleihung selbst.

Nach Analyse enormer Mengen an Kranken- und Sterbedaten von Amerikanern wiesen Case und Deaton einen Rückgang der Lebenserwartung und der Gesundheit weißer Amerikaner mittleren Alters nach, insbesondere solcher, die nur einen Highschool-Abschluss oder weniger vorweisen können. Zu den Ursachen zählen Selbstmorde, Drogenkonsum und Alkoholismus.

Amerika ist stolz darauf, eines der wohlhabendsten Länder der Welt zu sein, und kann damit prahlen, dass in jedem Jahr seiner jüngeren Vergangenheit bis auf eines (2009) das BIP pro Kopf gestiegen ist. Und ein Zeichen von Wohlstand sollen eigentlich ein guter Gesundheitszustand und ein langes Leben sein. Doch während die USA mehr Geld pro Kopf für die medizinische Versorgung ausgeben als nahezu jedes andere Land auf der Welt (und einen größeren Anteil vom BIP), sind sie bei der Lebenserwartung alles andere als Weltspitze. Frankreich etwa gibt weniger als 12% seines BIP für die medizinische Versorgung aus, verglichen mit 17% in den USA. Trotzdem haben Amerikaner eine Lebenserwartung, die drei volle Jahre unter der der Franzosen liegt.

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