UNICEF – What’s in a figure?
UNICEF has produced a table based on a 50% relative poverty mean. It forms part of its submission in the Report Card 10, May 2012. In the table the UK comes 22nd, the USA 34th out of 35. Rumania holds up the pack. Therefore politicians would have you believe that they take poverty seriously. Here’s the problem, what constitutes relative poverty in one country will differ from another.
E.g. the working population of the UK may earn more than their equivalent in Spain, so the 60% median will differ for each country. It may also be the case that there are regional differences in each nation. For example; the North/South divide in the UK. A similar scenario will exist in all countries.
Point: On what do they base their table?
Q. Do I need a lesson in statistical analysis? Offers? Keep it simple mate!
UNICEF used a 50% median to compile its table; yet in its report it asks the UK to retain its 60% base. Why didn’t UNICEF do the same and use the 60% base? Would it have been politically unacceptable as more would have fallen into the poverty bracket? The figure is therefore arbitrary, Europe’s differs from the UK, and they both differ from the USA. Who’s got it right, any of them? Politicians love a figure it gives them somewhere to hang their spin.
Another measure that UNICEF use is the ‘child deprivation index’ based on the child achieving two of 14 basic essentials to include: 3 meals a day, 2 pairs of shoes, a quiet spot to do homework and able to invite friends for tea, etc. Surely every parent would give their child all that they could, if only they could afford it. In other words it all comes down to purchasing power but that is the system that the world is governed by, it’s called capitalism. You want to change the world – change the system! Good luck!
Needless to say but it is very hard to fight poverty: “trends in the economy and demography and education make progress against poverty so difficult to achieve.” Ron Haskins, brookings.edu/
Blame it on the Trendies.
The Child Poverty Action Group (cpag.org.uk) says that to understand poverty you have to understand social norms. This has a link with M. Corak when he says that relative poverty is all about how we participate normally in society. However, these norms can fluctuate with the economy. Obviously more disposable income is spent on gadgets when times are good, – ‘status signalling’ or flashing the cash.
How many people have an I pad, smart phone, 40/60” TV, all-in-one computer, 4×4 SUV, MP3, this seasons colour, the latest ‘hot’ fashion, and the new trendy shoes? How many young people walk into school as though they’re on a catwalk? Purring? How do you feel if you are the one in the class who can’t afford to compete? How many children will never get what they asked Santa to bring? Are these young ‘cats’ flashing the cash or merely making the world go around?
Trendies: A fashion war
Many would say the latter, because people are employed: making, distributing, selling and eventually recycling the goods. It also encourages technological development, it feeds the machine.
Did you miss part one? Check here. http://www.upoak.com/2012/12/07/democracy-5/