Health, education and economic growth / by kevin murray

America spends an inordinate amount of money on education and healthcare, but does not rank in the top ten of countries on an educational test score basis, nor does its rank in the top ten in lifespan longevity, nor in general healthiness.  In point of fact, despite all the millions and billions of dollars spent, America gets a rather poor grade for its overall educational scores as well as its health score, which is especially disappointing, considering that America is the richest nation in the world.


The reason that health and education is especially germane for the future prosperity of America, has a lot to do with not only having more participants carrying their own weight in being self sufficient and viable, but also because the health and prosperity of America, rests upon those that reside here, and if in aggregate, America is not able to keep pace with those healthier and more educated countries, than America will lose more and more of its competitiveness against other countries, which is part and parcel of why so many other countries have growth rates that are far higher than America is able to sustain at the present time.


Basically, citizens that are not in good health are not going to be able to be as productive as citizens that are in good health. So too, in this hi-tech world that demands state-of-the-art skills of its employees, those that are ill educated and irresponsible are going to be a drag against the economic growth of the nation, because those people are not very productive; so that, it would obviously be in the best interests of the United States, to do more to assure that its population is both in good health as well as being well educated.


One of the fundamental problems that America seems to have lost sense of, is that "a stitch in time, saves nine," so that, although America has incredibly innovative and state-of-the-art health facilities; if by the time, someone in poor health gets that care, they have previously developed ingrained poor dietary habits, poor exercise habits, and have seriously damaged their physical body, the health battle being faced is a lot more challenging than it would be, if these things were actually addressed at the beginning of life, by good dietary habits, good exercise habits, and the knowledge that each of us is gifted with just one physical body.  Additionally, while Americans are attending college at record rates, far too many of those attending college, are doing so, grossly unprepared, because of their lack of a good education in their primary and secondary schools.  Further, colleges need to impress more often upon their students that are often paying good money for their education that not all degrees are equal, so that more information needs to be disclosed and addressed about the practicalities of what each subject educational graduate degree actually represents in the real world.


In short, everyone that isn't as productive as they could be if they applied themselves, or isn't as healthy as they could be if they took proper care of themselves, places an additional burden upon all those that are actually productive and in good health.  The upshot, in a world that has gotten markedly smaller in recent years, is that America is in danger of being surpassed in innovation and productivity by other, more motivated nations, of which, America looks more and more as an empire on the fall, rather than one that is on the rise.