Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It's a Hard World for Little Things

Since we got accused of jejunosity in comments the other day (gee, we were flip about the Oscars! shocking), we thought it was time to both adopt the royal We and look at something serious, even if it's not quite our nature to do so seriously. After all, we'd have to write this entry just to share that UNICEF has a "Innocenti Research Centre." That centre, however, seems far from innocent, for it has just released the report Child Poverty in Perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries. Now, it's good to see them call the countries rich countries and not just bandy about some acronym like OECD, probably coupled with SES, which only leads to reader's ZZZZs. Indeed, the report kicks off with the assertion:

The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children – their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued, and included in the families and societies into which they are born.

Now, any right-winger who thinks the UN building is too many stories short of useful will snort, "Oh, we only worry about them when they're born, do we?" but let's get beyond that--those of us on the left worry about them after. Turns out we have a lot to worry about.
  • The United Kingdom and the United States find themselves in the bottom third of the rankings for five of the six dimensions reviewed.
  • There is no obvious relationship between levels of child well-being and GDP per capita. The Czech Republic, for example, achieves a higher overall rank for child well-being than several much wealthier countries including France, Austria, the United States and the United Kingdom.
We're number 20! We're number 20! Thank god for our buddies the UK; they make us look good with kids and Iraq. (Oh, wait, get back here!)

It's an embarrassment, all our wealth and so little to show for it but the Walton family, and I don't mean John-Boy. Oh, and the Bush Dynasty, whose motto might as well be "with sympathy and justice for none."

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Blogger Queen Whackamole said...

This really was an amazing report, in part because it measured the impact of being raised in a culture of excess... From a child's perspective, better to be a poor kid in a poor nation than a consumer-in-training in a rich nation. At least the UK is working to ban fast-food ads aimed at children, putting health above corporate interests... Yikes. Don't get me started...

1:17 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Just horrifying. And when you think of how "But What About The Children?" has become a mantra for any & all intrusive federal legislation and other garbage, we're not only negligent, but hypocritical as well.

4:40 AM  

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