Health as a Socioeconomic Category
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Publication date: 2011-08-31
GNPJE 2011;249(7-8):71-87
The article looks at the issue of public health understood as an important factor of production. The author also analyzes the impact of the population’s health on economic growth. Korporowicz discusses a variety of approaches to public health, with a particular emphasis on a socioeconomic approach. She highlights the economic aspect of health as a component of human capital that creates the basis for examining living conditions and socioeconomic development. Health also needs to be evaluated for the purposes of economic calculations in the area of health protection policies, the author says. Such evaluations are used to determine the costs of health insurance, for example in the case of car accidents. The author counters a popular belief that the level of human capital is exclusively associated with education and public spending on education. According to Korporowicz, the health status of the population influences the level of human capital, while healthcare needs to be treated as a major socioeconomic category. Health is a resource that is subject to wear and can be enhanced and partly replenished by adequate investment. It plays an increasingly important role in the structure of production. Without it, uninhibited economic growth is impossible, the author argues. Korporowicz sets out to prove that health and healthcare can be analyzed in terms of the theory of public goods. Health is an asset that can be used in a specific way, the author says, but its benefits cannot be directly accessed through the market; nor is health subject to competition because the more health there is among individuals, the more society benefits as a whole. This is what sets public goods apart from private goods, which means that the idea of analyzing health on the basis of the public goods theory is justified, the author argues. It needs to be assumed that economic growth is impossible without a healthy and efficiently functioning innovative and creative society, Korporowicz adds. In modern economies, economic efficiency strongly depends on the intellectual potential and health of the population, the author concludes.
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