Young Economics.


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This article makes me queasy (link).  Written by Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, and Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, the story goes that the world is all in it together while tackling viruses and pandemics, highlighted by the recent ascent of the H1N1 virus.  They use this to jump into their argument for the continued support of investment into global health issues, which goes something like this:

Continuing to invest in global health makes sense both in terms of lives and dollars saved. Healthy people are more productive. They take fewer days off work. They live longer, go further in school, and tend to bear fewer and more prosperous children as they invest more in the children they do have. Studies have shown that investments in health care can yield a six-fold economic return. To offer but one example: the global impact of maternal and newborn deaths has been estimated at US$15 billion a year in lost productivity.

And yet, when hard times hit, spending on health is often among the first things to be cut. During past recessions, especially in developing economies, the best care has tended to go to the wealthy; the poor, too often, have been left to fend for themselves. But the social and economic health of any society depends on the physical health of all its members. When governments cut back on primary health care for their poorer citizens, the entire society ultimately pays a high price. Today, large parts of Africa, Latin America, and Asia have still not recovered from mistakes made during previous economic downturns.

It’s not the subject matter that makes me queasy, but how Moon and Chan have decided to intice  response.  They don’t plead towards our sense of compassion, morality or virtue, but instead stroke our lust for dollars and cents.  Now, I certainly don’t intend to imply they’ve taken the wrong approach to generate action.  It just makes me blue that this is probably the right way to make global society care.


Written by jk

June 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Posted in Ideas/Opinions

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. well put…


    August 31, 2009 at 6:46 pm

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