Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Social engineering not working

More on life expectancies. Researchers have found a more than thirty-year difference in life expectancies amongst Americans;

At one end of the scale are Asian-American women living in New Jersey, who have an average life expectancy of 91 years, according to a Harvard University report.

At the other extreme are American Indians in South Dakota, whose average life expectancy is only 58 years.

The life spans of the healthiest Americans are more than 30 years longer than those of the least healthy, despite more than two decades of efforts to reduce the disparities.

"There are millions of Americans that have lifespans the same as in developing countries," Dr Murray said. "That alone is pretty remarkable, considering we spend $US5000 ($A6600) a year per person on health care."

The gaps between groups had if anything grown in the past two decades, he said.

"In simple terms, there has been a lot of discussion and effort, but no progress."

Since hearing Gareth Morgan describe the Indian reservations he recently travelled through I've been meaning to have a closer look at the subject. This article pretty well says it all.


Anonymous said...

It is important to remember that American Indians on Reservations are entirely wards of the State. They are reliant on the State and often can't even own property there without state permission. There funds come from the state and they are controlled by the state. There are islands of socialism in a sea of capitalism. See this:

Anonymous said...

How would socialism compre to life in a tribal society?

Lindsay Mitchell said...

If tribalism turns on force there's nothing between them. If people want to live collectively and communally by mutual consent that's not socialism.
The point of difference is voluntarism vs compulsion.

Anonymous said...

If we are talking about life expectancy among indigenous peoples, The Economist magazine this week describes life in Irkutsk, Siberia, where moonshine vodka, violence, smoking, heart disease, alcohol poisoning, pollution including radioactivity, and a grim and corrupt health system restricts males to just 53 years! Interestingly the deputy governor of Irkutsk blames the local gene pool derived largely from Soviet-era prisoners.

So don't think the "poor" American Indians have it particularly tough -- many have shares in gambling casinos!