The Children that Fortune Forgot

Posted on December 19, 2010 in Equality Policy Context

Source: — Authors: – imagepages/opinion – – A View From The Cave Learning and discussing what are smart aid and development.
Monday, December 13, 2010.   Posted by Tom Murphy

UNICEF released a report titled The Children Left Behind: A League Table of Inequality in Child Well-Being in the World’s Richest Countries that is summed up in the graph below.  It is not too shocking to see that the United States sits right at the bottom of the OECD nations.  I wish that there was an additional column in health well-being that addressed mental health (aka happiness).



What does this all mean and why worry about “first world problems?”

This blog looks to bring about ways to improve the conversation surrounding development and aid with a focus on international programs.  One frustration is that things are often simplified to the extent that real education becomes nearly impossible to attain.  What this paper shows is the fact that the lack of understanding is not limited to international poverty.  The richest nation in the world (for now) is also the one with significant disparity between the top and the bottom.  Above all else, the characterizations about the American poor being ‘lazy’ must come to an end.  It has contributed to a growing misunderstanding of poverty that has global implications (ie. American aid and welfare policies).

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_______________________________________________________________ – imagepages/2010/12/12/opinion – America’s Most Vulnerable
Published: December 11, 2010.   By Charles M. Blow, Op-Ed Columnist

As we begin inevitably wrangling over budget cuts and other austerity measures, we must not lose sight of the plight of the most vulnerable among us — the ones who have little say and few choices: the nation’s poorest children.

The gap between those children and the rest of our children is already unacceptably wide, and it can’t afford to get wider. In fact, a report entitled ”The Children Left Behind,” released by Unicef last Friday, examined inequality in well-being on a wide range of measures among children in 24 of the world’s richest countries. America’s rankings were among the worst.

Parents play a large role in this inequality, but so do policies. As the report wisely asks, ”Is there a point beyond which falling behind is not inevitable but policy susceptible, not unavoidable but unacceptable, not inequality but inequity?”

I say absolutely.

I would hope that we could move to improve this situation. But at the very least, we mustn’t make it worse.

CHART: ”The Children That Fortune Forgot” Rankings of child well-being among 24 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (Source: ”The Children Left Behind,” UNICEF)

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