US children suffering?

That would seem to be the message of the UNICEF report on Child Poverty in Perspective which concluded

The United States and Britain ranked at the bottom of a U.N. survey of child welfare in 21 wealthy countries that assessed everything from infant mortality to whether children ate dinner with their parents or were bullied at school.

The conclusion itself should raise suspicion about the report. Shrinkwrapped decided to take a look at the report and discovered that its measures were not quite in line with its message.

The authors essentially admit that their measure of material well-being has almost nothing to do with actual deprivation but is almost directly related to their imagined sense of a child’s envy of those who have more than he or she does.

In other words, the poverty measure in the report was not based on such things as health and vitality. It was based on a comparison to average wealth of the nation. In this measure, those countries who have less difference between the poor and the wealthy scored highly. This suffers the point that minimum wealth is limited while maximum wealth is not. Poverty can only go to having nothing while wealth can be as much as your freedom allows. The essence of socialistic ideologies is to limit the freedom to create wealth. This report is an example of how such ideology is rationalized despite history showing that it lacks integrity if actual health and vitality are valued.

The other major flaw is that of assuming adult attributes in children. In this case it is the concept of envy. The reason we care for children is that they do not often even know they suffer when they lack what adults know to be critical necessities. Envy in a child only goes so far as an immediate presence of a current situation for a specific toy. Children don’t care if the kid next door is rich unless their parents tell them to.

The UNICEF report illustrates how good intentions can become distracted by ideology. Rather than assessing child welfare by measures of mortality, disease, nutrition, and the ability to have healthy children of their own, the measure of welfare is in matters of base emotions projected on those who’d rather just go out and play.

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