Thu Sep 8th, 2005 at 01:21:55 PM EST
Important commentary - from the diaries ~ whataboutbob
I have seen discussions about this topic on the internet before. However, I think this UN report is a good opportunity to look at the topic of poverty and how to deal with it again. The American dream seems to be evaporating - as its reality becomes more visible. I hope that here in Europe the admiration for the US and the desire to copy it, by many people, will be reduced. I hope that this will be a lesson for Europeans to search for other ways of dealing with current problems.
So lets look at some of the points from the UN report via an article from The Independent: UN hits back at US in report saying parts of America are as poor as Third World
Parts of the United States are as poor as the Third World, according to a shocking United Nations report on global inequality.
Claims that the New Orleans floods have laid bare a growing racial and economic divide in the US have, until now, been rejected by the American political establishment as emotional rhetoric. But yesterday's UN report provides statistical proof that for many - well beyond those affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina - the great American Dream is an ongoing nightmare.
The annual Human Development Report normally concerns itself with the Third World, but the 2005 edition scrutinises inequalities in health provision inside the US as part of a survey of how inequality worldwide is retarding the eradication of poverty.
The Independent lists some of the effects of poverty in the US.
Child mortality is on the rise in the United States
The infant mortality rate in the US is now the same as in Malaysia
Blacks in Washington DC have a higher infant death rate than people in the Indian state of Kerala
Hispanic Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to have no health cover
Child poverty rates in the United States are now more than 20 per cent
Maybe one of the first actions that Europeans, or at least their governments, can take presently is to stand up to Bolton and Bush at the UN. The ammunition is available:
Last month John Bolton, the new US ambassador to the UN, submitted 750 amendments to the draft declaration for next week's summit to strengthen the UN and review progress towards its Millennium Development Goals to halve world poverty by 2015.
The report launched yesterday is a clear challenge to Washington. The Bush administration wants to replace multilateral solutions to international problems with a world order in which the US does as it likes on a bilateral basis.
"This is the UN coming out all guns firing," said one UN insider. "It means that, even if we have a lame duck secretary general after the Volcker report (on the oil-for-food scandal), the rest of the organisation is not going to accept the US bilateralist agenda."
But to come back to what this means for Europe - it used to be that trends started in the US and then moved to Europe. Now, this is a trend I would rather not have moving to Europe. So my question here is, what can we learn and how should we proceed differently, without ignoring the problems we have here and find solution that address those problems in an adequate way?