Social Progress Derives Mostly from Economic Progress

Here we are in Summer 2020 in a coronavirus pandemic with an accompanying severe recession as well as nationwide protests about racism.  In other words, we are at a low point in terms of social cohesion and optimism for the future.


What we can do to return to a more normal trajectory of progress:

  • Reopen our economy as quickly as possible, with the governors in charge. Of course, the most vulnerable, those with underlying health conditions, need to be protected. But livelihoods are critically important for the average citizen, who will most likely recover if he or she gets sick.  The vulnerable simply need to wear a mask when they go out!


  • Racism still exists in the U.S. even though it is gradually decreasing. The best way to speed up racial progress is for minorities to develop a greater sense of personal agency.  In other words, stop blaming white cultural supremacy and instead take more personal responsibility for one’s own status in life.
  • Income and wealth inequality are an inevitable result of technological progress and globalization of commerce, both of which are beneficial to society as a whole. Address the victims of this progress through better education and training in order to create broader economic opportunity.
  • In general, adopt economic policies that maintain a low unemployment rate, ideally under 4%, as was the case as recently as February 2020, before the pandemic hit. This is highly effective in providing more job opportunities and higher pay for people with low incomes.

Conclusion.  Widespread economic prosperity, accompanied by individual freedom in a democratic society, is the American ideal and has made us the envy of the world.  Getting the economy back on track, after being hit hard by a pandemic, will restore the upward trajectory of social progress that we are used to enjoying.

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4 thoughts on “Social Progress Derives Mostly from Economic Progress

  1. The level of social capital within a community is most likely the result of how a community’s social networks evolve over extended periods of time, as in generational. Although improved social mobility, as in financial proficiency, contributes to improved levels of self-reported HEALTH, it is not sufficient to prevent, mitigate, and ameliorate the effects of emotional poverty. Improved social mobility may well have resolved self-reported HEALTH 150 years ago; but currently, healthcare for population HEALTH requires equitable availability and ethnographically accessible healthcare that is not financially feasible for 90% of our citizens. Additionally, most of the local community resources for mentoring caring relationships that are generational no longer exist for most citizens. I continue to view COVID-19 as having a mortality rate for Nebraskans that is 1/3 LESS than the national average. Can we attribute this to better healthcare? I propose that it is most likely related to each of our community’s level of social capital? For the future, we will need both economic and social capital growth as in SOCIAL COHESION.

    • You are pointing out the importance of accessible healthcare for social progress. I totally agree with you. However, considering both employer-provided health insurance for employees, as well as Medicare for retirees, both of which are generally high quality, I would say that it is more like 60% – 70% of citizens who have accessible healthcare. And Medicaid as well as Community Health Centers, such as Charles Drew and One-World in Omaha, are helping a good share of the remaining 30% or so.
      At any rate, this is another example of an economic benefit that contributes greatly to social welfare.

      • For urban, suburban, and rural communities the concept of equitable availability takes on different definitions. And for these same communities, the concept of ethnographically accessible primary health care is also different for the three levels of population density including its anticipatory out of pocket financial demands. For instance, a recently resettled, Islamic emigrant person who encounters a crowd of male medical students during her first prenatal visit would have a much different cultural experience if she encountered a female mid-wife for her first prenatal visit.

        I would argue that equitably available and ethnographically accessible Primary Healthcare should should be no further than a twenty-minute, automobile drive for an urban area of a major city.

  2. I don’t disagree with you, but this is an awfully high standard! Shouldn’t the primary goal just be quality healthcare for all, regardless of who is providing it? Just achieving this standard would represent great progress all by itself.

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