Last year I wrote a piece about why Occupying Wall Street can make the US Healthier. In honour of the Movement's one year anniversary I offer a condensed version of that post here.
What does the Occupy Movement have to do with Public Health?
One of the movement’s fundamental concerns, excessive levels of income inequality, is a major determinant of health.
- In 2007, the top 1% of U.S. earners owned 34.6% of the wealth.
- In 2009, CEOs of major U.S. corporations took home 263 times the average compensation of American workers.
- It is now well established (see here, here, and here) that in places where income inequality is greater, population health is worse. It has recently been reported that the combined impact of poverty and income inequality was responsible for 291,000 US deaths in the year 2000 alone.
- States with the highest income inequality are also less likely to invest in human capital and provide far less generous social safety nets. This is because income inequality also undermines civil society, erodes political participation and in turn, determines the type of policies government chooses to (and not to) pursue—all with important implications for the opportunities people have to lead a healthy life.
There are many reasons why the Occupy Wall Street movement should be supported. For those concerned with the public's health the call to action should be answered without hesitation.