Wednesday, February 14, 2007

One Ball Of Wax

Yesterday's children fashion our world today. Today's will configure tomorrow's. The radical perspective for understanding and dealing with events involves looking through peripheral symptoms in order to cut to the core for causative factors. We might seek that core in a study released today.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) published a report titled "An Overview Of Child Well-Being In Rich Countries". It is self described as "A comprehensive assessment of the lives and well-being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations".

It shows that Britain and the United States are the worst places in the industrialized world for children to live. Child well-being was rated highest in northern Europe, with the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark leading the list.

The categories measured were material well-being, health and safety, education, peer and family relationships, behaviors and risks, and young people's own subjective sense of well-being. The first of its kind study looked at 40 indicators to gauge quality of childrens' lives in economically advanced nations. It found no direct link between gross domestic product and child well-being.

Here is the average overall best to worse ranking among those categories for nations having sufficient data.

1. Netherlands 4.2
2. Sweden 5.0
3. Denmark 7.2
4. Finland 7.5
5. Spain 8.0
6. Switzerland 8.3
7. Norway 8.7
8. Italy 10.0
9. Ireland 10.2
10. Belgium 10.7
11. Germany 11.2
12. Canada 11.8
13. Greece 11.8
14. Poland 12.3
15. Czech Republic 12.5
16. France 13.0
17. Portugal 13.7
18. Austria 13.8
19. Hungary 14.5
20. United States 18.0
21. United Kingdom 18.2

Computer users from the US and UK account for more than half of this Forum's contacts. Though their home press consideration will probably be excused, disputed, denied, and rapidly disappear, the truth won't go away and will remain available to all.

The full 50 page report is a 1.5 Meg pdf format file. You can download it from the UNICEF web site. The document is well supported, fully discussed, and richly illustrated with many comparative graphs.

And, while considering nation ranks, why not see if there is another view? Say, ranking by number of colonies. Among those listed above it is

Netherlands 2
Denmark 2
Norway 3
France 7
UK 14
US 24

We could consider history of imperialistic invasions, but easier to bring it home and up to date. The number of troops in Iraq as of last month among those ranked for child welfare is

Czech Republic 100
Denmark 470
Poland 900
UK 7,200
US 132,000

Well well, seems to be a relation. So a little child will lead them huh?

And, there you have the essence of a radical perspective wrapping suffering up in one ball of wax. Starts with the kids; ends with what we have.

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