Tag Archives: wealth

Deaths That Don’t Have to Happen: The Relationship Between Knowledge and Health

Editor’s note: As part of  a writing class I took this summer, I had to do a group project addressing a social issue within our society.

Part of that assignment was writing an essay that promotes activism to address the issue.The research inspired me, so I decided to share that essay with you. Hope you enjoy! 


Knowledge, and the desire to use it to better our own lives, as well as the lives of everyone else. This is what has made our species so great.

Fire, the wheel, internal plumbing, electricity, refrigeration. All of these creations were the result of intelligent people with an insatiable drive to solve major problems that affected everyone within their communities.

As the world progressed into the modern era, more and more of these advancements came from the realm of medicine. For thousands of years, smallpox was a scourge that regularly plagued populations all over the world.

A close-up of the smallpox virus. Click to enlarge. Magnification: x28,500

In the 19th century, the disease was killing 400,000 Europeans every year. In the 20th century, it accounted for an estimated 300 million deaths worldwide.

Now, consider this: the vaccine for smallpox was discovered, by a man named William Jenner, in 1796. However, it took more than 160 years for the World Health Assembly to pass a worldwide resolution to eradicate the disease in 1959, and another 20 years for the disease to be completely eradicated.

There hasn’t been a single documented death from smallpox since 1980, but it took nearly 200 years to make that happen.

Click to enlarge

Our modern world is no different. Every year, 3 million people die from vaccine-preventable diseases, half of that being children 5 years old or younger.

Other preventable diseases, like diarrhea and pneumonia, claim the lives of another 2 million children who are simply too poor to afford things like clean water and basic treatment.

If you’re keeping track, that’s 3.5 million children dying every year from basic problems that we solved ages ago. Another way to think of it: imagine every kid enrolled in public school in New York City, Los Angeles and Houston dying this year. Imagine, just for a second, all the human potential that we are losing along with these children.

I know you may be thinking that it’s somewhat inevitable that developing countries lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to new vaccines, treatments or procedures, so chew on this for a second: out of a list of 18 developed countries, the United States was at the very bottom when it came to deaths from preventable causes.

For people under the age of 75, these preventable causes account for 23% of total deaths for men and 32% of total deaths for women.

Preventable disease per 100,000 citizens. Click to enlarge

How many more people are we going to let die simply because they lack access to resources that are so plentiful that they are taken for granted by the rest of us?

We have to always remember that the position of privilege we find ourselves in only exists because someone at some point in history fought for our right to good healthcare.

So now, it is our responsibility, our duty, to use this position of privilege to extend this same basic human right to health to the countless people still living without it, not only in our country but across the globe.

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Everyone in Norway is a Millionaire!!! (…Well Kinda…)

Despite the economic depression that much of the world is struggling with, Norway has maintained and prospered in the last few decades and now according to Reuter’s Alister Doyle-

Everyone in Norway became a theoretical crown millionaire on Wednesday in a milestone for the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund that has ballooned thanks to high oil and gas prices.”

The fund known as the Government Pension Fund Global was set up in 1990 and now owns about 1 percent of all the world’s stocks, as well as real estate and bonds from London to Boston.

A recent estimate of the fund’s value from its managing party said that the fund is worth slightly over 825 Billion Dollars. Norway’s current population is estimated to be just over 5 Million individuals, therefore the fund is worth fractionally more than a million times Norway’s most recent official population estimate.

Government Pension Fund Global Graph

The fund has proven to be a tremendous success and represents Norway’s powerful and progressing economy. Although the fund is ridiculously high and many of the citizens would love to cash in their “share” of it, that isn’t exactly how it works. The fund will remain untouched and serve for the future of Norway and the coming generations.

Check Out the Full Story Here at Yahoo!News.

The Most Typical Person in the World (Video)

Ever wonder what the average human is like? This great National Geographic video breaks down the most common traits of humans in our world as a whole, as well comparing the different “typicals” of different countries.

If There Were Only 10,000 People in the Country, How Would the Money Be Split?

If There Were Only 10,000 People in the Country, How Would the Money Be Split?
Click to enlarge

A great chart that illustrates the economic inequality in the United States. Note how the “Share of Income Reported to the IRS” (ie. taxed income) for each bracket actually falls as average income rises.

Also interesting to note: although the Recession of 2008 hit the top 1% hardest, their recovery was almost immediate, while the other 99% are slowly having to crawl back to economic stability. Here’s an excerpt from “Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States” {Emmanuel Saez, UC Berkeley}

“From 2009 to 2012, average real income per family grew modestly by 6.0%. Most of the gains happened in the last year when average incomes grew by 4.6% from 2011 to 2012.

However, the gains were very uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by 31.4% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.4% from 2009 to 2012. Hence, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery.”

If you’re interested, the full report is here: http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/saez-UStopincomes-2012.pdf