Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How are we doing?

If the latest OECD report is any indicator, not so well. As Bernard Chazelle notes:

Here are the US rankings out of the 30 OECD countries (1 is best; 30 is worst -- worst as in Somalia-like). The names of the countries even more Somalian than the US appear in parens.

Infant Deaths: 28 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey).

Life Expectancy: 24 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Czech & Slovak Republics).

Health Expenditures: 1 out of 30.

Poverty Rates: 28 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey).

Child Poverty: 27 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Poland).

Income Inequality: 27 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Portugal).

Obesity: 30 out of 30.

Incarceration: 30 out of 30.

Work Hours (ranked in ascending order): 30 out of 30.

Height (women): 25 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Korea, Portugal, Japan).

Height (men): 24 out of 30 (Italy, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Korea, Japan).


OECD countries: Turkey, Mexico, Poland, USA, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Greece, Luxemburg, Australia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Korea, Czech Republic, UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, Iceland, France, Austria, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.

Of course, as Bernard mentions, those darned French folks sleep more, are taller (this will come to haunt us before too long in Olympic basketball competitions), work fewer hours, and are still skinnier on average than US residents. It couldn't possibly have anything to do the combination of high stress, those overly long work hours, and poor diet endemic to the US.

Seriously, note the disconnect between health expenditures (where we really are #1) and measures of quality of life such as infant mortality rate, life expectancy. Get the feeling that our "privatize or perish" approach to practically all social concerns should be renamed "privatize and perish"?

Thank goodness we don't live in a third-world plutocracy. Oh wait - never mind...

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