Large slum, poor living conditions.

Quando a desigualdade mata

NOVA IORQUE – Esta semana, Angus Deaton receberá o Prémio Nobel da Economia “pela sua análise do consumo, pobreza, e desenvolvimento”. Merecidamente. Na verdade, pouco depois do prémio ter sido anunciado em Outubro, Deaton publicou um trabalho impressionante com Ann Case nos Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – uma investigação que é, pelo menos, tão digna de nota como a cerimónia do Nobel.

Ao analisarem uma grande quantidade de dados relativos a saúde e mortes entre os Americanos, Case e Deaton mostraram que a esperança de vida e a saúde estavam a piorar para os Americanos brancos de meia-idade, especialmente para aqueles com instrução secundária ou inferior. Entre as causas estavam o suicídio, as drogas, e o alcoolismo.

A América orgulha-se de ser um dos países mais prósperos do mundo, e pode gabar-se de, em todos os anos recentes excepto num (2009), o PIB per capita ter aumentado. E a boa saúde e a longevidade são supostamente um sinal de prosperidade. Mas, embora os EUA gastem mais dinheiro per capita em cuidados médicos do que quase qualquer outro país (e mais como percentagem do PIB), estão longe de liderar o mundo na esperança de vida. A França, por exemplo, gasta menos de 12% do seu PIB em cuidados médicos, comparando com os 17% dos EUA. Contudo, os Americanos têm uma expectativa de vida inferior, em três anos completos, à dos Franceses.

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