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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What's More Important? Good Health or a Good Job?

Apparently, having a great job doesn't mean so much if it comes at the price of your health.

Earlier today, we posted a review of Chinese pollution, which is probably 20% higher than the official numbers. Coincidentally, Gallup released the results of a poll of Chinese. The results are just what you would expect. The number one issue for the average Chinese citizen is the environment. Gallup Poll: 57 Percent Of Chinese Believe Environmental Protection Should Be Their Country’s Top Priority reports:

Gallup has just released new poll results showing that a majority of Chinese citizens care more about cleaning up the environment than they do about growing the economy. Among Chinese adults Gallup surveyed last year, 57 percent believe that protecting the environment should be their country's priority, even if improving environmental standards slows the pace of economic growth. Only 21 percent believe that economic growth is more important than environmental protection.

These poll results reflect a growing trend in Chinese society. As China climbs up the economic ladder, its citizens are increasingly deciding that economic growth is not enough. Being able to buy bigger houses and higher-end consumer goods is nice, but quality of life is about more than purchasing power. Real quality of life also requires good public health. In China, public health is suffering due to rampant pollution, and the citizens are desperate to change that.

Here in the United States, some anti-regulatory politicians like to claim that removing or weakening our environmental standards would make the United States a more prosperous country.

In reality, however, it doesn't pay to be rich if you can't be healthy too. No one knows that more than the Chinese. Ask the Chinese citizens living in cancer villages if losing their friends and relatives to cancer is a worthwhile price to pay for the dirty factory that provides jobs but poisons their villages with lead, cadmium, and other carcinogens.