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Comparing Standards of Living

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Introduction

Comparing Standards of Living a) How would you compare the standard of living in the UK with that in the Soviet Union and Ethiopia? To really answer this question you have to understand what the standard of living means. I think it means a way of measuring the quality of life, usually in monetary terms. The problem with this is that some things are very hard to value in this way as it is hard to actually put a monetary value on the item. E.g. The value of having a father in a family, the value of education of a person and the value of having two married parents. The way to compare all these things is to get the figures for each country like divorce rate, number of single parents, GNP, average air quality, the number of people per doctor, etc, etc. To do this properly then you will have to decide how important each item is to the quality of life of a person. An example of this would be Gross National Product per capita. This is probably one of the most important as if people earn more they can buy more goods with the money and this will help them enjoy life a bit more. Then you can find the Gross National Product per Capita but if you are comparing two countries together the currencies will be different. ...read more.

Middle

Wildlife- animals and creatures that are around and if they can be enjoyed. National parks are a way of preserving wildlife and countryside of humans to enjoy. Land use- the best land to use to develop houses and building on is a brown field site as they have already been developed on and this will mean that countryside doesn't have to be destroyed. Waste- The amount of waste of a nation can help see how good the quality of life is. When a value for all these has been calculated it then has to be analysed and an overall value for the country can be made. This will allow two countries to be compared. b) What problems would you encounter in this task? In completing this task I would come against many problems. First of all if I was trying a calculate Gross Domestic Product of a country as there are 3 methods, expenditure, income and output. In theory they will all give the same results but in practice they don't, as it is very hard to get accurate figures for the three methods. The black economy is one that doesn't show all its income, as it wants to avoid tax. Because of this sort of thing the figures will never be 100% accurate. To get round this I would measure Gross Domestic Product with all the different ways and find an average of the three. ...read more.

Conclusion

The idea that quality of life can be judged is not really possible. These figures give an indication only of how well on average each person lives. The problem with averages is that they can be seriously affected by an extreme value. For example the average Gross Domestic Product per Capita might be seriously affected by a few really rich people that have most of the money in the country. They might have a reasonable Gross Domestic Product but if you look at the average man in the street he might be very poor. This is the same for just about any measure of quality of life. Air pollution might be really good over most of the country but one industrialised bit might have really awful air pollution brings down the average. In conclusion what I am trying to do here is impossible as the quality of life is really how happy someone is and the number of birds flying around or the education of an individual can't measure this. They only give an idea of what it is like in this other country. There might be a boy who is not getting paid anything, with no education and not transport apart from walking that is very happy and feels he doesn't want to aspire to have a large income, a degree and a brand new car. It is impossible to measure happiness so we will just have to stick with indicators of happiness such as the 13 quality of life indicators. ...read more.

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