EDITOR: | March 23rd, 2013

Autism to influence global monetary policies

| March 23, 2013 | No Comments

autismWith an incidence rate of 1 child in 88, anyone reading this article will be touched by autism one way or the other as parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and siblings.  Neither can governments ignore the stimming elephant in the room. Global monetary policies are about to feel the same pain as countless families, our families.

While the incidence of autism is increasing, government policies have failed to consider its fundamental change to our society especially our productivity.

In the USA in 2005, the average annual medical costs for Medicaid-enrolled children with autism were $10,709 per child, which was about six times higher than costs for neurotypical children ($1,812).  In addition to medical costs, intensive behavioral interventions for children with autism cost $40,000 to $60,000 per child per year. So a child with autism costs up to $70,000 per annum in North America.

The cost of incarcerating an inmate in USA (2008) was $36,000.

A study in the UK shows mean annual costs for low-functioning adults were found to be £36,507 for those living in private households, £87,652 in supported accommodation, £88,937 in residential care, and £97,863 in hospital care. The aggregate costs to £25 billion each year. Of this total, 59% is accounted for by services, 36% by lost employment for the individuals with autism, and the remainder by family expenses.

The annual cost of autism to the UK economy, translated in US currency, is roughly $42 billion dollar 1.7% of the $2.43 trillion dollar GDP.  Autism costs the economy of which 40% is a direct loss of economic output, hence a 0.68% of the GDP.

Because the rate of autism is at best constant and at worse increasing (a recent study shows incidence at 1 in 50), we are looking at a steady bleeding of our economies.  Autism will contribute significantly to government deficits, which in the current economic context creates yet more incentive toward governments to cut spending.

Large spending cuts are likely to be necessary to achieve a given reduction in budget deficits. One possible way around this is for central banks to engage in expansionary monetary policy, such as a decrease in the interest rate, at the same time the spending cuts are taking effect. However, the magnitude of such expansionary monetary policy would have to be quite large while in the current context, as we speak of fiscal cliffs and dipping into citizen’s bank accounts, there are limited options.  Governments will need to cut other services and raise taxes.

Even through there is no cure for autism there are 5,803 patents for its diagnosis and treatment registered with the World Intellectual Property Office.   By contrast, snoring is the object of 2,521 patents.  But there are easy cures for snoring:  Lose weight, limit alcohol consumption, exercise.

How can something have the object of so many patents and not be curable?  It’s because we don’t know.  The only solution to the autism problem is that government must devote massive amount of funding to find a cure.  A significant investment in autism would be $10 billion dollar, a one-time expense that would prevent the perpetual bleeding of our economies. Otherwise our economies might collapse.

Dr. Luc Duchesne


Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>

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