The quality of life of nation has always been the most important concern of any of the economic as well as the political theories. And there have been a number of parameters that are required to be looked upon so that quality of life of a nation can be explained on a broader scale. Technical financial terms like GDP per person are very much materialistic in characteristic and hence cannot be considered as a sufficient parameter to indicate the current status of the nations quality of life. Some of the literatures have made recognizable adjustments in GDP factor by quantifying other important facets that are left behind while considering GDP measure.
The other considerable non market activities are social ills, environmental pollution and many others. But this approach has its own difficulties because it requires the assignment of numerical or monetary values to the various factors that constitute of a wider measure of socio-economic wellbeing and hence a number of processes have been developed to figure out a conclusive remark related to the quality of life while depending on a number of factors that make way for the proposed conclusion. The main purpose of all the attempts has been to make out a list of variables that can be considered as a determinant of quality of life.
These measures have undergone a number of selection biases and there have been corresponding arbitrariness in those factors which have been chosen to access quality of life. The indicators that represent those factors have been assigned weights so that a single systematic measure could be achieved. The GDP has its own substantive purpose and despite all its shortcomings it has sufficiently been able to depict clear meaning to the prices that have objective weights for the goods and services that make it up.
The proposal suggests that the quality of life can be considered as an outcome depending on nine different factors. The factors and the indicators that are used to represent those factors are:
1. Material wellbeing: It depicts the average GDP of a nation i.e., GDP per person or per capita income. Indicator for this factor has been GDP per person, at PPP in $. It quantifies the very material or average prosperity of the nation. This material well-being is also very importance in enabling elderly people especially senior citizens to retain their independence in later life.
2. Health: This factor has its importance while quantifies the physical as well as mental health of the people. Indicators for this factor are life expectancy at birth and the average age of both male and female.
3. Political Stability and security: The overall development and policy of a nation is a multiple of this factor. The country is being provided ratings while depending on one of the nation as some base.
4. Family life: The condition of a family on an average is an indication of family life of the nation. The divorce rates are being given the status of indicator for quantifying this factor. The divorce rate per 1,000 populations is being converted into index of 1 to 5 with increasing number showing negative trend.
5. Community Life: A factor with value 0 or 1. The null value corresponds lower interest of common public in community life while 1 being assigned to those countries where community life often takes place in form public gathering either at church or trade meetings.
6. Climate and geography: This factor is being indicated through latitude values depicting warmer and colder climatic conditions of the nation.
7. Job Security: This factor is self explanatory and is being indicated through unemployment rate expressed in percentage.
8. Political Freedom: A mean to represent the condition of political and civil liberties with values ranging from 1 to 7 where 1 depicts completely free environment while 7 is provided to an excessively closed political condition .
9. Gender Equality: A very crucial social factor for the quantification of male and female social, economic and financial status with indicator being the ratio of average male and female earnings.
The above mentioned variables cover a very broad range of areas that can affect the quality of life of a nation. There a number of other variables that can also affect this quality of life like the education levels, the rate of real GDP growth and income inequality.
But in real sense this education level is little correlation between education and life satisfaction and this education level later decides income and finally health. But at the same time, this wellbeing has been found to get under negative influence in case of the job being poorly attuned to academic background of the person as well as its needs and aspirations. Hence this sophisticated tests being done over the above mentioned variables has strong correlation with simple measure of life satisfaction with considerations of both individual and behavioral measures.
Cause and effect Analysis
The Quality of life has been considered as the function with variables falling in almost six different domains. Under Material Wellbeing, the variables have been none other than the GDP and PPP. These factors are the very reason behind higher state of Material wellbeing. The value of GDP is actually aggregate marketed income of a country and at the same time depicts four different components that measure up to depict well being. The four components are effective per capita consumption flows, net societal accumulation of stocks of productive resources, income distribution poverty and inequality and finally economic insecurity.
Health is another domain. The variables that fall under this category are life expectancy at birth i.e., infant mortality and average age. It can be indexed as physical quality-of-life index thereby attempting to measure the quality of life or well being of a nation. The numeric value of the factors associated with it is derived from infant mortality, life expectancy and average age with values ranging from 0 to 100.
Family and community is a very important factor which relates the internal condition of a family as well its social participation as an indicator of condition at the level of smallest unit level. The indicators for the quantification of this factor are divorce rate, gender equality and social gathering. Divorce rate is measured per 1000 families while the values related to gender equality and social gathering are decided on arbitrary pattern after comparing the data with some standard nation.
Figure (Fishbone diagram for cause and effect analysis Quality of life)
Political Stability is another extra personal factor which has its own impact. The countrys political condition is a sharp reflection of what policies does the country takes for boosting social and political stability. The better the political condition the better will be the future direction. Every thing right from security, freedom, development as well as country and its peoples future direction in terms of financial gain and income depends on the political condition. The indicators for the political scenario of a nation are stability, security, freedom etc. which are assigned some value according to the some established norms or formula.
Environment is another factor which has a deciding importance in countrys quality of living. The climate and geography are the indicators which are assigned some value play as variable while determining the quality of life. If we look at the list of nations in between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn, the climatic condition over the region is almost the same and at the same time, almost all of the nations in this particular area are either developing or under developed. Hence the geography and climate has its own impact of quality of life. Apart from all the above mentioned factors, some auxiliary factors are also equally valuable. Job security and inflation are some of the few such indicators making an impact on quality of life.
Social Democracy, Capitalist Democracy & quality of life
Nations democratic condition is very much responsible in causing any effect on factors that make way for defining the quality of life. The material well which is indicated by the GDP and PPP is considered to perform strongly in a capital democracy if compared with social democracy. Now more money will get translated into better spending in health care and hence indicators like life expectancy and average life should be expected to be of higher order in case of capitalist democracy but the ground situation is very much different.
The worlds biggest capitalist democracy i.e., US has reformed its welfare programs in the year 1996 but the new provisions in the welfare act failed to provide both health and social benefits to under privileged. The health inequality is at its peak. Despite being one of the biggest spenders in health sector, its performance on health care index is much less than other OECD nations but the personal care policy that has been followed in social economy of United Kingdom and Ireland has helped in giving better results like prolonging life expectancy.
The two types of democracies have different philosophies on issues like political freedom, justice and social security. The idea for the development of next generation is to make way for equality of political and economic participation and at the same time basic chances of life for social justice expanded from legal and material preconditions for freedom and equal rights to equal dignity.
Political freedom has to be expanded from self determination of government to the taking charge of own life. Capitalist democracy has defined equal opportunity as providing uniformity in life but social democracy expands it to create space for developing personal predilections and talents. The different approaches for the factors in case of social and capital democracies have made way for separate behavior of the same indicators in determining the performance of the nations on quality of life index.
Subject for study
The purpose of the proposed paper is to figure out relationship between above mentioned indicators and the quality of life in two different environments with one being capital democracy while the other one being social democracy. The democratic condition of a nation defines the very state of its people and their way of living. The points which have to be figured out in the study of the subject is the effect of the two type of democracies on each of the indicators and then how these changes will cause the change in quality of life of the nation and its people.
Each of the indicators has to be given some numeric value. These values are assigned on specific formulas and techniques that will either be in accordance with those used by UN or if necessary new formulas will be developed. The quality of life is the output function with final value being proportional to the values of the indicators.
Data Collection Methods
The next step is that of data collection. The data which has to be used for analysis is more of secondary in nature with most of them being categorized into three basic types.
¢ Documentary with material in form written text or non written materials.
¢ Multiple Source area based sources which are basically local journals and country exploration.
¢ Survey public surveys while taking each and every class into account. It can be censuses or ad-hoc surveys
The above mentioned types of secondary information have to be extracted from books, journal articles, newspapers & magazines, conference papers, UN reports, archives, electronic database, internet, etc. The majority of the data will get utilized in figuring out a complete literature review with information gathered would give details of different indicators of quality of life, factors affecting those indicators and how are these going to behave in case of the two democracies that has been considered for discussion. In the present research we will generally lean on secondary data and the surveys will have to be done in two nations. For Capitalist democracy, United States of America has to be explored while for Social democracy, Ireland has been taken as case study. The details of a public survey can be taken from the surveys of United Nation and other reliable sources and the same could be used for the analysis in this case.
The data obtained through the various methods discussed above would be either quantitative or qualitative. Since the research requires interpretation of data that is likely to be enormous is quantity with proper statistical analysis. Quantitative analysis of the data is more likely to be secondary and exploratory in nature requiring proper summarising. The data that has been obtained through survey would mostly be categorical and will require proper scale based ranking.
Qualitative analysis of data is expected to be used more if it is being compared with quantitative analysis. It will require quantification up to certain degree but an overall non-quantifying method is more likely to be used through the data analysis and interpretation process and finally comparison of the final output. This would begin with categorisation according to possible unitisation, making out relations and then developing categories to facilitate it, and developing and testing hypotheses to reach conclusion.
The whole process has to be divided into a number of phases. The first phase is the analysis of the research problem according to the theoretical framework. The maximum required time for first phase analysis is one week. The outcome of this analysis will decide the type of data to be arranged or searched for full fledged analysis. The data search is mainly secondary in nature and the sources for the same are in the form of documentary, journals, research paper and surveys. The important thing is source reliability. There has to be at least two mid term analysis so that quality of the collected data that has been collected so far can be checked.
The schedule for the whole project is as follows:
Object Statement Analysis : 1 week
Data Search (First phase) : 3 weeks
Data Analysis (Mid term) : 1 week
Data Search (Second phase) : 3 weeks
Data Analysis (Mid term) : 1 week
Data Search (Third phase) : 3 weeks
Data Analysis (Final) : 3 weeks
Report & Documentation : 1 week
Total : 16 weeks
The main part of the total expenditure is in making this project will get utilized in data collection. Since the data collection is basically secondary in nature and most of them are freely available so the actual cost to be incurred in the same is in tune of $1000-$1500. So the maximum possible budgetary requirement is around $1500.
The final report project will have the following format:
2. Research Question
3. Literature Review
4. Research Methodology
5. Conceptual Framework
6. Primary Research
9. Conclusions & Recommendations
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