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Lecture 3

Why billionaires are bad for your health- reading week 3.docx

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Health Sciences
Health Sciences 1002A/B
Jessica Polzer

Why billionaires are bad for your health? - In the Spirit Level: “ all problems which are more common at the bottom end of the social ladder are more common in more unequal societies” o That’s why rich countries with high material living standards often have significant social problems o Countries with high inequality- high level of social problems at all levels of income  But highest at botom end (gradually weaker with each step up financial ladder) - P.83…overall richness of country doesn’t indicate level of social problems Whitehall Study - Studied impact of status level on health- those lower down on status scale were dying more than those in higher status (more stress, heart conditions etc. ) - Whitehall 2 confirmed the above trend (earlier deaths at low status levels) - Why? o Behavioural risks can be taken into account (smoking, bad diet, no exercise etc.) but there is still a clear gradient that suggests more profound causes o HEALTH CARE FOR ALL DOESN’T ELIMINATE THE SIGNIFICANTLY POORER HEALTH OUTCOMES AT LOWER LEVELS IN THE SOCIAL HIERARCHY o According to Raphael, health is determined by income, employment and housing situation… o The connection between status considerations and actual physical health outcomes = stress and the body’s response to it o High status people (CEO, actors) may have stress but with it comes power, prestige and control over their situations o Low status people face the “worst stress” when feeling humiliated, or low in status compared to others; lack of control/autonomy is key trigger o Ppl in positions that are not valued or viewed as significant contributors to organization - Income translates into social standing high paying jobs allow for more freedom and power - As one descends pay scale, desirable features associated with work (status, control, pride,
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