Fun point here

An 86-year-old woman in Japan has been arrested for collecting her dead parents’ pension for 50 years.

Mitsue Suzuki may have fraudulently claimed as much as 50million yen, the equivalent of £260,000, since the death of her parents in the 1960s.

The elderly woman was caught when a pension agency official wrote to the local authority where she lives in Ena, Gifu Prefecture, to check on the health of her mother and father who would be 110 and 112 if still alive.

Our statistics on lifespan come from the same sources as the ones that show who is getting a pension. Because, obviously, the pension won’t be paid if there’s a valid death certificate around but it’s death certificates we use to measure lifespan.

This problem has been noted in Japan before and I cannot for the life of me remember whether the researchers thought that this sort of lying was prevalent enough to sway average lifespans or not.

This also influences my view of things like Cuba’s “health care miracle”. The numbers are all compiled by the Cuban government before being handed on to WHO etc. And who is going to trust the numbers from a communist dictatorship on the success of their flagship policy? Myself, I think they’ve been lying through their teeth for decades but have no way of proving it nor even of testing it (believe me, my statistical chops are not good enough to be able to test the data for Benford’s Law and the like).

But I do think that we’ll see something interesting when communism finally collapses in Cuba. I think we’ll see a shortening of reported life spans. But it won’t be because lifespans shorten, but because they’ve been lying all these years.

22 comments on “Fun point here

  1. The reason she got away with it is that historically there was no connection between the local ward office where you register the death(s) (which she would have had to have done for the funeral(s) to take place) and the pension service – which would keep paying until notified separately.
    I guess, but don’t know, the data for longevity come from the ward office registrations not the pension service.

  2. For the same reasons as Argentina’s inflation rate isn’t quite what their government says it is.

    Cuba’s miraculous health service will turn out to be a quite a bit worse than we’ve been told as well.

    Funny how facts change once others get to look at them?

  3. Longest lifespans in Europe. The Greeks.

    It’s that mediterranean diet, of course.

  4. there’s some evidence of massive lying around Cuba’s much-vaunted “lower neonatal death rate than the US” – for example disabled or deformed foetuses are regularly aborted, or left to die and reported instead as still births which don’t count towards the stats.

  5. The French government pays pensions to 1.3 million living abroad. The average age of an overseas pensioner is 75, compared to just 73 for a domestic pensioner. Around a third of them live in Algeria, which also happens to have the highest average age. Is it just the weather keeping them in good health?

  6. Flatcap Army – “there’s some evidence of massive lying around Cuba’s much-vaunted “lower neonatal death rate than the US” – for example disabled or deformed foetuses are regularly aborted, or left to die and reported instead as still births which don’t count towards the stats.”

    Pretty much the whole mainland of Europe does this. Births are recorded as stillbirths or miscarriages if death occurs in the first few weeks. I think Germany goes for a full month.

  7. “And you know how the Guardian and the SJWs will spin that, don’t we?”

    I’ll take “capitalism kills” for £5, Tim.

  8. IIRC, one part of Cuba’s health system that probably does work quite well (for a given value of “work”) is that they put anyone with HIV into quarantine. Forever.

    Always worth mentioning when a lefty brings the subject up.

  9. My friend The Retired Epidemiologist is full of tales of what rubbish most health data are. Even when one set is not rubbish, it will not be comparable to another set because they will have been gathered using different criteria, and (usually) there is no good way of “correcting” them without assuming that which you are meant to be proving.

    One of his chums suspects, for example, that Developed World average lifespans are much of a muchness, with its being plausible that Japan outlives us Westerners by a bit, with the US lagging the Rest of the West by a smaller margin. And that’s only “suspects”. My friend doesn’t incline even to guess.

  10. And yet, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, Tim keeps citing Singaporean figures which are no less fantastical.

    As for Cuba, it’s not in the least bit implausible that a totalitarian state could enforce policies on their citizens which would increase lifespan and improve health. The chances are that they wouldn’t increase overall utility, of course, by enforcing an hour of communal jumping-jacks daily, but it would obviously provide a certain minimum level of fitness to all physically capable of exercise.

  11. SMFS is correct re European birth stats. In the US, however, a birth is recorded as soon as the baby’s head crowns – hence the US practice of ‘partial birth abortion’, which is designed to stop the crowning. Hence also the claimed superior life spans of Europeans v Americans.

  12. Dave: So this post is to express your approval of tyranny is it? In order to impose an exercise regime on a population. When several comments above testify to the largely inaccurate and indeed bogus nature of most health stats.

    Why not just admit that you like to see people bossed around –and possibly would enjoy bossing them–rather than maintain the tired old “its for their own good” excuse so beloved of the arrogant and tyrannical left.

  13. they still manage to send more health workers to disaster areas.

    wiki

    Cuba provides more medical personnel to the developing world than all the G8 countries combined, although this comparison does not take into account G8 development aid spent on developing world healthcare. The Cuban missions have had substantial positive local impact on the populations served

    not sure about the trains running on time

  14. Cuba does send a lot of doctors.

    Cuba trains a lot of doctors – there’s little else for intelligent people to train for. Not many basic pharmaceuticals on the island outside the private clinics though…

    It then hires them out to aid agencies at globally-normal rates, yet pays them the maximum wage of $20 per month. And will arrest their families if they do a runner while abroad.

    It’s one way for the régime to gain hard currency, and relies on horrifically exploiting its people in a way that would make even a Marxist stereotype of a Victorian mill-owner blush.

    But it makes a nice little stat when looked at superficially and in isolation.

  15. I’ve just had a genius thought. In the UK it costs around £250,000 to train a doctor. Cuba churns out hordes of them, presumably for an awful lot less. Why don’t we send our A-level graduates over to that pleasant island in the Caribbean for a few years to study medicine, at a fraction of the cost in the UK? Win-win surely?

  16. Cos Cuba will expect to retain them on $20 a month while paying off an on-paper debt of £250,000.

  17. Andrew M – “Why don’t we send our A-level graduates over to that pleasant island in the Caribbean for a few years to study medicine, at a fraction of the cost in the UK? Win-win surely?”

    That sounds a plan. I am reminded of the late, unjustifiably lamented, Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia who once said that all the students he sent to Paris came back as Communists while all those he sent to Moscow came back as Royalists. He sent half to each because he was Non-Aligned you see.

    So we shouldn’t send medical students to Cuba. We should send all our sociology students. And media studies students. And economists for that matter.

  18. But it won’t be because lifespans shorten, but because they’ve been lying all these years.

    No it won’t. It will be because evil capitalists are polluting the environment, selling GMO foods, *not* selling organic foods, closing hospitals, raising prices, and turning the sick out into the streets.

    And they’ll have the statistics to prove it.

  19. Pretty much the whole mainland of Europe does this. Births are recorded as stillbirths or miscarriages if death occurs in the first few weeks. I think Germany goes for a full month.

    Its one of the reasons the US infant mortality rate is listed as so much higher than other western countries – if the child is born alive its counted as a live birth, even if it dies shortly afterward.

  20. Mr Ecks>

    You must be certifiably insane, if you managed to somehow read approval into my comment. I simply stated a fact, which is that obviously under a totalitarian regime the government can do whatever it wants to to its subjects, and that it is clearly possible to, for example, enforce exercise on couch potatoes.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.