Large slum, poor living conditions.

Cuando la desigualdad mata

NUEVA YORK –  Esta semana, Angus Deaton recibirá el Premio Nobel de Economía “por su análisis del consumo, la pobreza y el bienestar”. Lo recibirá muy merecidamente. De hecho, poco después de que se anunció el premio en octubre, Deaton publicó, junto con Ann Caso, un trabajo que llama significativamente la atención en Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – esta investigación al menos merece tanta atención mediática como la que recibe la ceremonia de entrega del Premio Nobel.

Mediante el análisis de una gran cantidad de datos sobre salud y muertes entre estadounidenses, Case y Deaton mostraron que en el caso de los estadounidenses blancos de mediana edad existe una disminución de la esperanza de vida y de las condiciones de salud, especialmente entre aquellos con educación secundaria o un nivel menor. Entre las causas para ello listaron el suicidio, las drogas y el alcoholismo.

América se enorgullece de ser uno de los países más prósperos del mundo, y puede presumir de que durante todos los últimos años, con excepción de uno (el año 2009) el PIB per cápita ha aumentado. Y, se supone que una señal de prosperidad es la buena salud y la longevidad. Pero, si bien EE.UU. gasta más dinero per cápita en atención médica que casi cualquier otro país (e incluso más si se considera esas cifras como porcentaje del PIB), está lejos de encabezar la lista mundial de países con mayor esperanza de vida. Francia, por ejemplo, gasta menos del 12% de su PIB en asistencia médica, en comparación con el 17% que gasta EE.UU., pero sin embargo, los estadounidenses tienen una expectativa de vida que es tres años completos menos que la de los franceses.

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