Whilst being rich does not of itself guarantee a long or happy life and many people with little by way of monetary wealth live a long and happy life wealth and health are linked.
As nations become wealthier the overall standard of health rises. We have seen over the course of the twentieth century that as nations industrialize, standards of living improve and so does health. This is not due particularly to medical science and owes very little to high technology medicine.
It comes about through people having clean water, better overall hygiene and sanitation, better protection from the elements and of course access to enough healthy food. The last one can go the other way as we see with problems of too much of the wrong sorts of food being consumed leading to a whole different set of health problems.
The other aspect that is important in health and is pillar eight of DIY Health is fun and purpose. As humans we need to be doing something that we feel matters and that we enjoy. As nations become richer the diversity of opportunities increases exponentially. Once we are free from having to spend much of our time looking for food or defending our territory we can focus on other things.
This may be a job, running a business, creating works of art travelling or a myriad of other things. The key things from a health perspective is that we enjoy what we are doing, that it has some challenge and that we feel there is a purpose. These three components are what the University of Pennsylvania has described as constituting authentic happiness.
Equally, we all need a certain amount of money to live. I am not talking about living in a palace or flying first class but enough to be comfortable and do most of the things we would like to do. People who are successful usually become wealthy because other people are attracted to the value they create. This can be in business or in the arts or any field of human endeavor.
When people have made an effort and created value it is fair and proper that they be rewarded for it. Furthermore, often these people create wealth for other people too either in the form of paid jobs or investment opportunities. Once again this is right across the board with regards human activity. Many who are successful increasingly put back into their community in a variety of ways.
The current debate about the mining tax in Australia highlights the passions aroused when those who create wealth and opportunity for themselves an others find themselves subject to arbitrary government rule changes. Governments by their nature can never create wealth or add value. This can only be achieved by individuals, acting alone or with others, in some form of business.
Different countries have prospered because of different industries. All countries, which have prospered, have done so because individuals and businesses were prepared to take risks in the hope of reward. To attack the reward after the risk has been taken will naturally arouse anger. I am not aware of any other country, which deliberately set out to weaken the business sector, which had been its most successful. Australia’s most successful industry is mining.
Governments argue that the taxation money can be spent in the community. Sadly governments of all persuasions have a bad record of efficient use of funds. Suffice to say the current one is true to this pattern. Excessive taxes and government interference in the economy leads to increased unemployment.
The best way to strengthen the community and for people to prosper is for people to have purpose, like a job or business, and the opportunity to invest their monies. Diminish this and you diminish the community and the nation.
When the wealth of the nation is collectively affected, the health of the nation will also be affected. It is little wonder passions are running so high and across so many levels of Australian society.