September 21, 2009
2008 human development index
I'm not really going anywhere with this, but I thought it was interesting that the United States is ranked 15th by the UN's Human Development Index (the aim of the Index is to report a broader range of factors than GDP, the most common method of comparing the relative development of countries, using "normalized measures of life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment, and GDP per capita" -- more detail here), after (in order) Iceland, Norway, Canada, Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Luxembourg, Switzerland, France, Denmark and Austria.
Posted by eatingbark at September 21, 2009 4:56 PM
Bet that would go down even more if we added abortions to the life expectancy figures. .. :)
Dad was pointing out that the whole concept of life expectancy improvements, particularly on a macro scale through history, has much more to do with infant mortality rates than anything else.
Unfortunately you're certainly right... one of (if not the) worst consequences of our American taste for extreme autonomy, I'm afraid, is our peculiar ability (not quite the right word) to combine much more strident opposition to abortion with much more liberal abortion laws than most of the rest of the developed world.
Re: infant mortality, I've heard that as well and its always seemed reasonable to me, at least intuitively.