What happens when ten percent of your country’s richest is twenty times more than the lowest ten percent’s income? Income inequality is a problem experienced by most of the countries nowadays, only handful countries have low incidence of income inequality. In Philippines, the disparity is so great that the poor or even the middle class do not have the chance to compete with the rich. Even if there is a slow progression in the Philippines in terms of economic growth, a large 50% of the economy is still controlled by the top 5% of the population. [Read more...]
While people are so busy watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi and watching out for their champions, Venezuela is currently in a tumultuous situation. Students have been imprisoned, there are a number killed, streets are defiled, and even the social media has been shut down in order to stop the sending of information to outside sources. [Read more...]
Why Should You Be Concerned?
The latest trend in economic thinking has shifted the view of many towards a “for profit” model; this line of thinking has recently also started to spread into the health care sector. In the past, health care was relatively isolated from this type of thinking. Hospitals and medical clinics were largely run as charitable organizations that were built to serve the community.
During the last 20 years, the medical community has gone through a fundamental shift; the number of for-profit health care facilities has exploded at a rate that is growing quicker than the technology sector. This is great for business profits, but the quality of care that people receive has suffered.
The ethical implementations of privatized health care has caused many heated debates. Those that favor the trend believe that people are only entitled to the care that they pay for. Opponents feel that privatized health care is antithetical to the values central to the industry.
Studies have shown that for-profit health care facilities decrease the availability of health care options for people who are deemed unprofitable. Traditionally, these patients were subsidized by other patients who could afford to spend more on their health care. With the for-profit model, patients are turned away; they are told to go to the nearest non-profit facility.
When a for-profit facility does this, they end up increasing revenues, but they also overwhelm charitable organizations with an influx of patients. This results in a strain on the system, so non-profits have a difficult time taking care of patients.
Why Is This Bad For Society?
A for-profit industry leads to an environment where it is acceptable to offer low quality care for more money. One example of this is what has happened to victims who have filed transvaginal mesh lawsuits.
The media has been mostly quiet about these cases, and they’ve been mostly swept under the rug. Big donations from for-profit facilities have ensured that the media doesn’t report on these cases. It has gotten so little attention that most people are unaware that this is going on. When talking to someone, their first response is usually “What is transvaginal mesh?” (get answer).
For-profit facilities were accused of skimping on transvaginal mesh equipment; the facilities chose to buy inferior products knowing full well that they may have disastrous side-effects down the line. People who got this procedure are starting to have negative side-effects, and they are now trying to get fair compensation.
For-profit facilities are run like businesses, so they have teams of lawyers fighting to give patients as little as possible. They admit they were wrong, and they aren’t expressing any remorse. They feel that patients made the choice to use their facilities, and that it was their responsibility to look into the procedure more carefully.
This can set a scary precedent for future health care procedures. If facilities aren’t responsible for their actions, they can get away with offering sub-par services at inflated prices. If they are working only to make a profit, everyone suffers from lower quality care. In the long-run, this is horrible for an industry that used to pride itself on healing the sick.
Education is the poor’s ticket to vertical progress, however, until now it still remains inaccessible to the 72 million children who should be in primary school but are not. Added to this, there is a more than 700 million adults who were not able to study and gain basic literature that could help in the improvement of their living conditions. Despite the efforts of the government, international non-government organization and the United Nations, there is still a large part of the population that is illiterate. The Millennium Development Goals’ target should be achieved by 2015 and yet we are nowhere near our goal.
Marginalised and Excluded
One reason why children, especially those living in poverty, cannot go to school is marginalisation. There are still societies today that would prioritise children based on status, sex, and even cultural identity. An example is in Pakistan where societal class still matters, children who are born privileged are the ones who can only go to the good schools with proper educational materials and instructions. Those who are in the middle class can go to government schools, however, the appointment of their employees, i.e. teachers, administrators, are highly motivated by political connections. It provides no or little chance for movement in the societal ladder, moreover, after graduating there is low chance of getting hired because of the low standards of education. Only a meagre 6.3% of Pakistanis graduate and get a degree. This is true to most developing countries where children go to school but they are not equipped with the knowledge that they need to be able to compete with others.
Another reason is the complete disregard of some states to educating young minds. They allocate less of the government’s funds to education and more on war, national debt, etc. Lack of financial resources mean that teachers do not get the appropriate training needed to teach and the compensation is not enough making teachers less interested in their vocation or choosing to go to other countries to teach. Some classrooms are filled to the brim with students; some have more than a hundred in population thus proving it difficult for teachers to develop their potentials.
The most affected regions are the sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Eastern Asia and the Pacific. Some of the children only receive a maximum education of 4 years while there are those who receive only 2. In Arab States, there is also a disparity in terms of gender because only the males are given priority in terms of education since the women is expected to work at home.
But these statistics are not new to the concerned bodies; there have efforts to change policies and providing support to these countries. At this rate, we may not be able to achieve the MDG in 2015 but it will slowly lessen illiteracy worldwide.