Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies


The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.


Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

A new way to heal hearts without surgery

Monsanto Just Got Access to the World’s Most Powerful Gene-Editing Tool

How fear of nuclear power is hurting the environment

Eurosymposium on Healthy Aging

Pushing Humans off the Loop: Automation and the Unsustainability Problem

Want to Be a Physicist? Develop an Affinity for the Weird


ieet books

Philosophical Ethics: Theory and Practice
Author
John G Messerly


comments

instamatic on 'Decadent Europe’s Islamist Dystopia' (Sep 29, 2016)

rms on 'Born Poor, Stay Poor: The Silent Caste System of America' (Sep 29, 2016)

rms on 'Here's Why The IoT Is Already Bigger Than You Realize' (Sep 28, 2016)

instamatic on 'Born Poor, Stay Poor: The Silent Caste System of America' (Sep 26, 2016)

Joseph Ratliff on 'Born Poor, Stay Poor: The Silent Caste System of America' (Sep 24, 2016)

rsbakker on 'Competitive Cognitive Artifacts and the Demise of Humanity: A Philosophical Analysis' (Sep 24, 2016)

Nicholsp03 on 'The dark side of the Simulation Argument' (Sep 24, 2016)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
Sep 1, 2016
(4504) Hits
(0) Comments

Here’s Why The IoT Is Already Bigger Than You Realize
Sep 26, 2016
(4310) Hits
(1) Comments

A Free Education for all the World’s People: Why is this Not yet a Thing?
Sep 20, 2016
(4214) Hits
(2) Comments

Defining the Blockchain Economy: What is Decentralized Finance?
Sep 17, 2016
(3566) Hits
(0) Comments



IEET > Rights > Economic > Life > Access > Health > Vision > Bioculture > Affiliate Scholar > Richard Eskow

Print Email permalink (0) Comments (2375) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


The Penalty for Poverty Should Not Be Death


Richard Eskow
By Richard Eskow
OurFuture.org

Posted: Mar 26, 2016

The Brookings Institution recently issued a report showing that poor Americans die at a much earlier age than rich Americans, and that this life expectancy gap between rich and poor is growing rapidly. A professor of public health at Yale University told the New York Times, “It’s embarrassing.”

Yes, it is.

It’s also a tragedy. Forty-six million Americans live in poverty, including more than one child in five. These adults and children are experiencing a difficult life. They’re also more likely to face a premature death.

Despite advances in the health sciences, the situation is getting worse. According to the Brookings study, men in the bottom 10 percent of income born in 1920 were expected to live six years less than men in the top 10 percent. But for men born 30 years later, in 1950, that difference had risen to 14 years. The poorest group of women born in 1950 can expect to live 13 years less than their wealthy counterparts, up from 4.7 years for those born 30 years earlier.

In other words: Over three decades, the life expectancy gap between the richest and poorest among us has more than doubled for both men and women.

Every year that is taken from these Americans is a loss, not just for them, but for the people who care about them. It is one more year of grief and emptiness – for husbands and wives, children and grandchildren, neighborhoods and communities.

In a related finding, the Social Security Administration found that the life expectancy gap between 60-year-old men in the top and bottom halves of the income ladder grew from 1.2 years in the early 1970s to 5.8 years by 2001.

Some people point to smoking as a possible cause for this growing gap, since wealthier people are more likely to give up the habit, but the numbers show that this only accounts for a fifth to a third of the difference. Nor is it explained by obesity, since obesity rates aren’t that much different for wealthier and poorer Americans (31 percent of the poor and 27 percent of the wealthy were obese in 2010).

African Americans have always fared worse than whites when it comes to longevity. And now an epidemic of so-called “deaths of despair” – including deaths from alcoholism, overdose and suicide – is shortening the life spans of economically struggling middle-aged white Americans with a high school education or less.

Overall life expectancy in the United States compares poorly to that of other wealthy countries, despite wealthy Americans’ long lifespans, because poor Americans fare so much worse than the average residents of other developed nations.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Canada is doing an excellent job of improving longevity in the very poorest urban neighborhoods, where a study showed that men experienced the biggest declines in deaths from heart disease between 1971 and 1996. And low-income residents of Toronto are more likely to survive cancer than low-income residents of Detroit.

The growing gap in life expectancy between rich and poor in the United States can be reversed, by doing what Canada and every other developed nation on earth has already done: providing health care to everyone as a basic human right. Among other things, that means addressing the political corruption that allows pharmaceutical companies to get away with charging $1,000 per pill for life-saving medication. Drug prices in the United States are higher than any other country on earth, which makes it difficult for many lower-income people to take needed medications.

We should also increase Social Security benefits, which are low in comparison to other advanced nations. Older and disabled Americans should not be forced to choose between an adequate diet, decent housing, or needed health care.

More broadly, a comprehensive economic program is needed to end the pervasive sense of hopelessness and dread that strikes individuals, families and communities when there are no jobs to be had at livable wages.

Until these steps are taken, it’s likely that this nation’s growing inequalities in wealth and income will continue to give rise to the most unjust inequality of all: an inequality in life itself.


Richard Eskow, an Affiliate Scholar of the IEET and Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America's Future, is CEO of Health Knowledge Systems (HKS) in Los Angeles.
Print Email permalink (0) Comments (2376) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Transhuman Debate 2.0 in SF East Bay

Previous entry: Google Hedonics

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

East Coast Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-428-1837

West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
425 Moraga Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
Email: hank @ ieet.org