CHALLENGES TO GLOBAL PROSPERITY

In recent decades there have been significant economic gains for many people in the global economy. Challenges to a more generalized global prosperity remain. Major challenges include the growing income gap between richer and poorer peoples, the marginalization of people in the informal sector of economies, and the financial burdens imposed by high external debt. These challenges are especially persistent in the world's poorest and most vulnerable LDCs.

Low Quality of Life

Quality of life refers to the overall conditions under which people live. Quality of life is concerned with people's level of consumption and other factors related to economic wellbeing. It also deals with the quality of people's social, political, and cultural environment. It is difficult to measure quality of life and to make cross-border quality of life comparisons. Instead, government leaders, development economists, and others tend to examine a broad range of economic, social, and political indicators of human development. These measurable indicators show that people in high-income countries have a higher quality of life than people in middle-income and low-income countries. Improving the quality of life for

Education enhances human development by expanding people

Education enhances human development by expanding people's opportunities, nurturing talents, and developing human capital. (Samrat)

Table 13.7 Human Development: Selected Quality of Life Indicators, 2012

Indicators

Low Human Develop

Middle Human Develop

High Human Develop

Very High Human Develop

Income

GNI per capita (ave.)

$1,633

$5,428

$11,501

$33,391

Health

Life expectancy (years)

59.1

69.9

73.4

80.1

Under-5 mortality (per 1,000 births)

110

42

18

6

Population

Population (millions)

1,281

3,521

1,039

1,134

Urban population

33.6%

43.7%

74.1%

81.2%

Pop. growth rate

2.2%

1.0%

0.8%

0.5%

Fertility rate

4.2%

2.1%

1.9%

1.8%

Education

Schooling (ave. years)

4.2

6.3

8.8

11.5

Source: United Nations Development Program (UNDP), “Table 1,” “Table 7,” “Table 14,” Human Development Report: 2013, 144–147, 166–169, 194–197.

people in the world's poorer regions is a crucial component in achieving sustainable economic development.

Many quality of life issues fall within the purview of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The overarching MDG is to “eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.” Quality of life indicators such as gross national income (GNI) per capita and access to food and clean water are used to assess progress toward poverty reduction. Quality of life indicators also consider educational opportunities, occupational training, employment, and gender equality; the adequacy of public services in health care, transportation, and personal security; and governance issues related to citizen participation as well as respect for civil and human rights.

Major multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank the United Nations, collect and publish data about people's quality of life. In its annual Human Development Report, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) offers comprehensive data on quality of life indicators. The UNDP ranks countries by level of human development using a Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI considers quality of life indicators such as life expectancy, adult literacy, educational attainment, and gross national income (GNI) per capita. The HDI ranking in 2012 identified 47 very high human development countries, 47 high human development countries, 47 medium human development countries, and 46 low human development countries. Table 13.7 compares and contrasts selected quality of life indicators for these categories of countries.[1] Significant inequalities in income and wealth between countries and within countries complicate analyses of people's overall quality of life.

  • [1] United Nations Development Program (UNDP), “Table 1: Human Development Index and Its Components,” “Table 7: Health,” “Table 14: Population Trends,” Human Development Report 2013, 144–147, 166–169, 194–197.
 
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