To make someone better off without making someone else worse off

Dr. Baljit Singh 

One-half is a very large number. It means 50%. If a couple is in a relationship where the husband is unemployed, that’s a big number. If one of them doesn’t get treatment because of low income, that’s a big number. One of them died in the accident, which is a large number. One of them didn’t get justice, and that’s a big number.

The researchers asked the person what a reasonable number of road rage incidents should be in your town each year – 10, 50, 70 or more. The person said, may be 10. When the researchers told his family “I counted to 10,” the man changed the number to zero. 

Even a run short to meet the opponent’s score means defeat. The store owner also wants the exact amount for which the item was purchased.

How many families do you want to be pushed into poverty? When a family falls into poverty, the impact can be seen in terms of people being unable to afford necessities to luxuries. Private medicine doesn’t entertain you without a payoff to their service. Financial stress leads to insomnia, anxiety, homelessness, reduced consumption of milk and fruit, etc.

If a person’s personal income needs to be met to make rational choices, then a country also needs to have its resources met to satisfy needs and wants, lest it plunge anyone into financial disaster. It is sad to see homeless people in developed countries as well.

In many situations, you can make one person better off without making anyone else worse off. 

For example, a literacy rate of 68% indicates there is a greater need for education so that everyone can be literate. Other times, there is the overproduction (supply exceeds demand) of goods and services. For example, pollution, traffic congestion, crime, poverty, hunger, unemployment, low income, etc. If more resources (or income) go to certain people, then some parts of society will remain impoverished, and sectors of the economy may remain neglected. Likewise, people are at their best when they receive timely health care and get what they want.  

If there are 50 students and only 20 chairs, this situation is not optimal, as the welfare of the students standing in the room can be further improved by bringing 30 more chairs or going to other larger rooms. But if the lecture theatre is excessively big that accommodates 400 students and there are only 20 students, it will lead to wastage of resources due to more power consumption, or someone else may need a lecture hall that can accommodate more students. If there are 50 students and 50 chairs, it is a state of optimality named after Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923). Pareto was an Italian economist who proposed Pareto efficiency (or allocative efficiency of resources). 

If someone smokes, we can educate them to stop smoking. Traffic fines are levied to save lives. By enforcing general laws, minorities can be kept safe and the health toll of riots and genocide can be avoided. Even when developed countries rank high on the Global Peace Index, their rankings will drop even if some social chaos occurs.

If there was a vacancy and there were two candidates, who would you hire? Obviously, the one who is skilled, but it depends on the needs of the company. Not only are new jobs created, they need to be evenly distributed based on demand, skills, bank balances, etc. In developing countries, it is normal for husbands to go to work. More so, in developed countries, it may be considered shameful if the husband does not work. Other men and women might label the unemployed as the house-husband, which has impacts on his dignity and heath, children also might ask why don’t you go to work?

Also, when the economic pie becomes larger due to the full utilisation of resources, everyone gets a larger share through their own distribution process (equity).

If a GP is paid by the government to care for patients, then the patent can still be treated despite his low income. Delhi’s Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) provides free medical services to central government employees, but the out-of-pocket costs associated with rehabilitation programmes such as post-stroke physiotherapy are considerable. It is crucial for health workers to understand how ordinary people are coping.

The lockdown during COVID-19 had added challenges to those who were on low income, had little or no savings, were daily-wage earners, unemployed, etc. The journalist suggested that during the Coronavirus lockdown, a poor mother had not eaten for several days and was therefore unable to breastfeed her newborn baby. In countries like India, people walk back to their hometowns without food. It is essential to look at food policy within the state and the nation.

After the lockdown, no matter where we shop, companies will increase the prices of necessities. It is vital to stop spending on conspicuous items so that we can buy essentials. 

If a person stops drinking, smoking, or taking illicit drugs, he can improve not only his own health and well-being, but also that of his family. Therefore, the government needs to consider preventing people from falling into these bad habits so that their family members are not affected.

In a nutshell, improve the socio-economic, demographic and political structure, and overcome wars and riots through better domestic and foreign policies. Spend money on food, education, and health care, not cigarettes, alcohol, or gambling. The small family size means that parents can educate their children and provide better health. Unemployment can also be addressed by creating new jobs through retirement. Make informed decisions based on needs and circumstances. 

Reaching ordinary people by improving socioeconomic and health conditions means leveraging resources to make people’s lives happy rather than sad.

Views are personal