Economic disparity is on the rise. Quick googling will reveal that over last 10-15 years, the wealth of rich in US has soared while that for middle class and below has largely been flat. The story in other developed and most developing countries is no different.

Are there aspects of life which are not much affected by this disparity. Let’s take health and ageing.

I agree that there are many other things in life where money does make huge difference, but this blog is only about health and ageing.

Money can’t buy everything – at least not much of health.

Today, anyone, who can afford even mediocre living (say a person having a full time day job in US or a person of middle class in India) has access and reasonable opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle. This includes –

– Access to reasonable medical care.

– Affordability of healthy and nutritious food. (Not necessary expensive cuisine).

– Maintaining low stress levels and staying calm, centered and focused using yoga, meditation and other techniques.

– Regular exercise involving walking, jogging, working out at home with some simple weights and other equipment.

– Maintaining healthy relationships and ties with family and friends.

– Reasonable affordability of modern entertainment.

The above list covers practically everything one needs for healthy living and there is nothing which is too expensive. I didn’t even include gym membership, affording expensive restaurants and so on.

Pour unlimited money and one gets in addition, access to chef prepared most nutritious food, the most advanced gym with personalized trainer, may be holistic mansion for doing meditation, the best medical care available in the world and anything and everything available today. But does it guarantee longer and healthier life, probably not by much.

There is no study which suggests that average health of very rich is far better than that of other health conscious individuals who are not rich. Also it is a plain fact that at present the medical science only has limited (in fact very limited) understanding and control over our body.

The story on the aging front is even more interesting. In some cases the very rich, by virtue of latest treatments and care, may buy some extra years but only a very small percentage ends up needing these to begin with and their success rate is questionable. Again, there is no study that shows the average age of very rich being much higher than that of other health conscious individuals.

So one could be philosophical and say ‘There is some parity after all’.

Alas, how about future! Will this ‘parity’ stay or will exponential growth in science and technology tear apart even this somewhat equalizer and open doors for exponential and unimaginable growth in disparity too. What will that disparity look like? What will be its implications of that level of disparity to our social structure. These will be the topics of upcoming blogs.

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