Standard Of Living vs Quality Of Life
Standard of living and quality of life are often confused and misunderstood concepts. There are many who take these concepts to be synonymous as they equate material success in life with a high quality of life. However, being rich and owning valuable assets is no guaranty of a happy and content life which is what is closer to the concept of quality of life. Egyptian royalties were mummified and laid to rest with their bounty and possessions in the hope they get to enjoy these valuables in the next life, but we must understand that we have got only one life to live, and that quality of life we live is counted by who we are rather than what we have. There are many differences between standard of living and quality of life that will be highlighted in this article.
Standard of Living
In these materialistic times, it is hard to find a person who has time to care about people in his surroundings and does not seem preoccupied with worldly possessions and gadgets. It is a fact that we are all involved in a mad race, to get to the top of our careers to achieve all the comfort and happiness that money can buy for us and our families. We equate standard of living with wealth and material goods along with all the necessities of life. Standard of living in a country is measured in terms of its GDP or number of cars or computers per hundred people. This is a tool used by governments, to assess the status of their citizens. Standard of living is based upon material and tangible objects that money can buy. However, there is no universally accepted standard of living as what is a good standard of living in a country may fail the test in another country.
However, it is a generally accepted fact that good housing, good employment conditions, availability of potable water and electricity are some of the basic necessities that are counted when measuring the standard of living of a people in a country or area. In developed countries, a high standard of living is indicated by the use of several credit cards, a new and expensive car, a large house full of amenities and use of latest electronic gadgets and designer clothes. This is a very subjective way of looking at standard of living but nevertheless reflects the spirit and essence of the concept.
Quality of Life
The feelings of well being and happiness form the basis of quality of life. This means that it is not just wealth and material products that get counted when looking at quality of life but also the health and mental health of the people of a country. The level of education, means of recreation, and how people spend their leisure time are some of the factors that are taken into account when deciding upon the quality of life of the citizens of a country. There are many other indicators that reflect the quality of life such as liberty, freedom, happiness, and human rights.
It is clear that many of the indicators that decide the quality of life are of such a nature that they cannot be measured quantitatively and hence not easy to compare. For example, there may be people having a very high standard of life in an area yet may be having a poor quality of life as they are not happy or content with their life.
What is the difference between Standard Of Living and Quality Of Life?
• Increase in income may bring material comfort, but it certainly does not make one happy in life. This means that a high standard of living is no guaranty of a high quality of life.
• Standard of living is measurable as it is composed of indicators that are tangible and quantifiable. On the other hand, there are factors such as happiness, freedom and liberty in quality of life that are subjective and hard to evaluate.
• Because of the obvious deficiencies in the concept of standard of living, it is the Human Development Index (HDI) that is taken as the true indicator of the development of the people or a country.