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The world of work: life expectancy December 6, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Fintan O’Toole has a not unuseful piece in the IT how earning levels, jobs – if you will, lead to different outcomes in terms of lifespan. Using earnings:

An Irish man in the top [earning] bracket can now expect to live for 84.4 years. His fellow citizen in the bottom bracket can expect to die at 79.4 years old. For women, the gap is slightly narrower: 4½ years. But for both genders, the relationship between wealth and time moves rigidly in lockstep: the better off you are, the more years you get. At the most extreme end of the spectrum, mortality rates among Traveller males are 3.7 times higher than among the general male population


You can cut this any way you like, using any of the common sense measures of privilege and deprivation. If you want to look at it through jobs, professional people in Ireland have an annual death rate of 494 per 100,000. Unskilled workers die at a rate of 796 per 100,000. Or we can use education as the marker: the mortality rate for those of us with a third level education is 619 per 100,000. It’s 818 per 100,000 if you have just a secondary education and 1,195 if you didn’t get beyond primary level. Or we can see it through the prism of geography. In the least deprived areas of our towns and cities, the death rate is 510 per 100,000, compared to 815 in the most deprived. It even maps on to home ownership. The mortality rate for people who own their own homes is 494 per 100,000. It’s 786 for those who rent their homes from local authorities or voluntary associations. 

And he quotes Dr. David Ansell, of Rush University Medical Centre, Chicago saying:

“Not behaviours. Not biology. Not culture. Not bad luck. But deliberate public and economic policies that have allowed inequality to flourish at the cost of life itself. That is not to reject individual responsibility and accountability for health outcomes. Or to deny that diseases have biological manifestations. But individual behaviours, biology and culture are insufficient explanations for the neighbourhood-to-neighbourhood gaps in illness and life expectancy. And they deflect attention from the social, political, and economic faultlines that create survival gaps.”

The daily grind of life is that much more difficult for those with lower incomes, less access to resources, limited services, and so on. Small wonder this is reflected in health outcomes as well as others such as education, etc.

I’ve noted before a small example. Those with greater disposable income can spend less on goods like magazines by buying annual or longer term subscriptions. Those who have few if any savings will pay the cover price up front. And that is merely one almost trivial example of how the system functions to limit those with less as against those with more. I think one can also factor in a lack of autonomy in lives where others give orders and those orders have to be followed. That is wearing in itself.

Two observations. You might think in some sense these are remarkably uncontentious, even obvious, pieces of information. Not to some of those BTL in the IT, some of who question it, try to make out its not due to worse living conditions, lifestyles, healthcare, etc. Or worst of all ‘Impulse control’, or lack of same, supposedly on the part of those who are worse off.

And one of the more recent anti-immigrant commenters to (dis)grace the comments section btl on the IT tellingly drops all the previously expressed crocodile tears for workers due to supposed immigration pressures in their response to this piece arguing that class distinctions and consequent outcomes are due to ‘Mother Nature’. Well well well.


1. Pangurbán - December 7, 2019

Read George Orwell on inside the whale, when tempted to use ‘ not un. .’
Type several times ‘ the not unquick not unbrown fox jumped over the not unlazy dog’

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