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PUBLIC LECTURE David Gordon Professor in Social Justice Radical Statistics Annual Conference Global Child Poverty 26th February, 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "PUBLIC LECTURE David Gordon Professor in Social Justice Radical Statistics Annual Conference Global Child Poverty 26th February, 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 PUBLIC LECTURE David Gordon Professor in Social Justice Radical Statistics Annual Conference Global Child Poverty 26th February, 2005


3 Child Poverty in the UK The UK Government is committed to tackling the problem of child poverty. In March 1999, the Prime Minister Tony Blair set out a commitment to end child poverty forever: And I will set out our historic aim that ours is the first generation to end child poverty forever, and it will take a generation. It is a 20-year mission but I believe it can be done.

4 Man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty Every blow we inflict against poverty will be a blow against its dark allies of oppression and war. In the quiet of American conscience, we know that deep, persistent poverty is unworthy of our nation's promise. And whatever our views of its cause, we can agree that children at risk are not at fault. John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address Friday, January 20, 1961 Ronald Reagan Second Inaugural Address Monday, January 21, 1985 George W. Bush Inaugural Address January 20, 2001

5 ...within a decade no child will go to bed hungry, [...] no family will fear for its next days bread and [...] no human being's future and well being will be stunted by malnutrition. No More Hungry Children? Henry Kissinger, First World Food Conference, Rome 1974

6 Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand. Baruch Spinoza ( )

7 The Reality of Poverty

8 Age at death by age group, Source: The State of the World Population 1998

9 Cause of death for children under five Bars show estimated confidence interval Only the good die young? – what kills children

10 The world's biggest killer and the greatest cause of ill health and suffering across the globe is listed almost at the end of the International Classification of Diseases. It is given code Z extreme poverty. World Health Organisation (1995) Seven out of 10 childhood deaths in developing countries can be attributed to just five main causes - or a combination of them: pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles, malaria and malnutrition. Around the world, three out of four children seen by health services are suffering from at least one of these conditions. World Health Organisation (1996; 1998).

11 Champagne glass of income distribution The stem of the glass is getting thinner. In 1960 the income of the wealthiest fifth was 30 times greater than that of the poorest fifth; now it's more than 80 times greater.

12 What is Poverty? Jules Feiffers America

13 Low Income in Britain

14 Change in Real Median Weekly Incomes 1979 to 1996 by Decile Group at April 1998 Prices (After Housing Costs) Income Decile1979 £ 1996 £ Change % Bottom 10% % % % % % % % % Top 10% Total Population (mean) (Source: Calculated from HBAI, 1998)


16 Absolute Child Poverty

17 Absolute Poverty After the World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995, 117 countries adopted a declaration and programme of action which included commitments to eradicate absolute and reduce overall poverty. Absolute poverty was defined as "a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services."

18 Deprivation can be conceptualised as a continuum which ranges from no deprivation through mild, moderate and severe deprivation to extreme deprivation. Continuum of deprivation In order to measure absolute poverty amongst children, it is necessary to define the threshold measures of severe deprivation of basic human need for: 1. food 2. safe drinking water 3. sanitation facilities 4. health 5.shelter 7.information 8.access to service

19 Severe Food Deprivation– children whose heights and weights for their age were more than three standard deviations below the median of the international reference population, i.e. severe anthropometric failure. Severe Water Deprivation - children who only had access to surface water (e.g. rivers, ponds) for drinking or who lived in households where the nearest source of water was more than 15 minutes away (indicators of severe deprivation of water quality or quantity). Severe Deprivation of Sanitation Facilities – children who had no access to a toilet of any kind in the vicinity of their dwelling, including communal toilets or latrines. Severe Health Deprivation – children who had not been immunised against any diseases or young children who had a recent illness involving diarrhoea and had not received any medical advice or treatment. Severe Shelter Deprivation – children living in dwellings with more than five people per room (severe overcrowding) or with no flooring material (e.g. a mud floor). Severe Education Deprivation – children aged between 7 and 18 who had never been to school and were not currently attending school (no professional education of any kind). Severe Information Deprivation – children aged between 3 and 18 with no possession of or access to radio, television, telephone or newspapers at home. Indicators of Absolute Child Poverty

20 Sample size details, by region Region Number of surveys Number of children in sample Number of children under 18 in 2000 (in 000s) Sample fraction (1 child in every) Latin America & Caribbean12235,176193, Middle East North Africa5247,625151, South Asia4318,361559,6151,758 East Asia & Pacific8939,662590, West & Central Asia868,58585,5591,247 Sub-Saharan Africa36666,833317, Eastern Europe (Non-EU)426,33227,6571,050 Developing World772,502,5741,926, Wealthy countries00223,123- World total772,502,5742,149,572859

21 Over one billion children – half the children in the world- suffer from severe deprivation of basic human need and 30% (650 million) suffer from absolute poverty (two or more severe deprivations). Child Poverty in the World severe deprivation of basic human need are those circumstances that are highly likely to have serious adverse consequences for the health, well-being and development of children. Severe deprivations are causally related to poor developmental outcomes both long and short term.

22 Severe Deprivation of Basic Human Need Almost a third of the worlds children have to live in dwellings with more than five people per room or which have a mud floor. Over half a billion children (27%) have no toilet facilities whatsoever. Almost 400 million children (19%) are using unsafe (open) water sources or have more than a 15-minute walk to water. About one in five children aged between 3 and 18 lack access to radio, television, telephone, computers or newspapers at home. Fifteen percent of children under five years in the world are severely malnourished, almost half of whom are in South Asia. 275 million children (13%) have not been immunised against any diseases or have had a recent illness causing diarrhoea and have not received any medical advice or treatment. 145 million children aged between 7 and 18 (11%) are severely educationally deprived - they have never been to school.

23 Percent of the worlds children severely deprived of basic human needs


25 Global Rural and Urban Absolute Child Poverty Rates

26 Shelter] Sanitation] Physical Capital Items Water] Information Food] Health ] Human Capital Items Education] The severe deprivations of basic human need which affect the greatest number of children are physical capital problems - deprivation of shelter, water and sanitation. Whilst fewer children suffer from deprivations of human capital – health, education and nutrition, most of the worlds anti-poverty policies are aimed at improving that human capital, particularly in urban areas

27 Child Poverty in Rich Countries

28 UNICEF Child Poverty League of Rich Countries Percent of children living below 50% of median national income Source: UNICEF (2005)

29 Summary of Outcomes of Child Poverty Outcome Mortality Morbidity Accidents Mental Illness Child Abuse Teenage Pregnancy Environment/Housing Conditions Homelessness Low Education attainment School exclusions Crime Smoking Alcohol Drugs Suicide Child Labour Are Outcomes Associated with Poverty? Yes, strong association with social class Yes, strong association for most diseases Yes, for fatal accidents (but not accident morbidity) Yes Yes, except sexual abuse Yes Dont Know No Mainly after childhood No Yes No Source: Bradshaw (2001)

30 The Causes of Poverty Weather Map, New Internationalist

31 Most poverty has a structural cause, rather than being the result of an individuals bad behaviour or choices. Since the pioneering studies of poverty in 19 th Century (such as Charles Booths in London), six groups have been identified as being especially vulnerable to poverty - the elderly; the unemployed; sick and disabled people; the low waged; large families, and lone parents In many developing countries two additional groups are also at risk of poverty: Landless and small farmers, and fishermen and women Structural Causes of Poverty

32 Low Wages and Child Poverty Source: UNICEF (2000)

33 Social Expenditure on Families and Child Poverty Source: UNICEF (2005)


35 Income Support and poverty levels 2001/02 (defined as half mean income after housing costs) Income Support (IS)Poverty Level (PL)IS as % of PL Couple with one Child aged % Couple with two Children aged 4 & % Couple with three Children aged 3, 8, % Lone parent with One child aged % Source: Piachaud & Sutherland (2001)

36 The Solutions to Poverty

37 The cost of achieving universal access to basic social services NeedAnnual cost (US$ billions) Basic education for all6 Basic health and nutrition13 Reproductive health and family planning12 Low cost-water supply and sanitation9 Total for basic social services40 The Price of Life?

38 The Cost of Ending Child Poverty: the amount needed to raise the incomes of all poor families with children above the poverty threshold

39 The World Banks Solution to Poverty The Washington Consensus The World Bank has pursued the same set of anti-poverty policies for almost 40 years; These have three elements: Broad-based economic growth Development of human capital, primarily through education Minimum social safety nets for the poor The World Bank has pursued these policies by rigidly adhering to neo-liberal economic orthodoxy. ( Joseph Stiglitz, 1998; 2000) 1.Privatisation – which tends to raise prices for the poor 2.Capital market liberalisation – which can allow speculators to destabilise countries economies, as has happened in Asia and South America 3.Market-based pricing – which raises the costs of basic foods and fuel for the poor and has caused rioting, particularly in South America, eg Bolivia, Ecuador and, recently, Argentina (economists should not be provoking riots around the world) 4.Free trade – which is governed by World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules that often severely disadvantage poorer countries

40 Growth is Good for the Poor? Source: Dollar and Kraay, Journal of Economic Growth, 2002

41 Average incomes of the poorest fifth of a country on average rise or fall at the same rate as average incomes …. in a large sample of countries spanning the past four decades. This relationship holds across regions and income levels, and in normal times as well as during crises ….. This supports the view that a basic policy package of private property rights fiscal discipline, macroeconomic stability, and openness to trade on average increases the income of the poor to the same extent that it increases the income of the other households in society. ….. On the other hand, we find little evidence that formal democratic institutions or a large degree of government spending on social services systematically affect incomes of the poor Dollar and Kraays Conclusions: Did they Discover a New Law of Nature?

42 Random Average Income Vs Random Income Share of the Poor

43 Are Random Numbers Good for the Poor? R 2 = 0.79

44 Faith in the Market At present almost all elite Americans, with corporate chiefs and fashionable economists in the lead, are utterly convinced that they have discovered the winning formula for economic success – the only formula – good for every country, rich or poor, good for all individuals willing and able to heed the message, and, of course, good for elite Americans: Privatisation+Deregulation+Globalisation=Turbo-Captialism=Prosperity Edward Luttwak (1998), Turbo Capitalism The world is plagued not so much by poverty but by a rampant suspicion of wealth…everywhere these ideas prevail…poverty persists and spreads George Gilder (1981) Wealth and Poverty It is the entrepreneurs who know the rules of the world and the laws of God George Gilder (1984) The Spirit of Enterprise Towards the end of the century, many developing countriesChina and India among them finally threw off this victim's mantle and began to embrace wicked capitalism, both in the way they organised their domestic economies and in their approach to international trade. All of a sudden, they are a lot less poor, and it hasn't cost the West a cent. Economist editorial, 11/3/2004

45 "Faith is believing what you know isn't so." Your faith is what you believe, not what you know." -- Mark Twain

46 This would mean restoring to the centre of the tax system two basic principals: the first, that those who cannot afford to pay tax should not have to pay it; and the second, that taxation should rise progressively with income. Programmes that merely redistribute poverty from families to single persons, from the old to the young, from the sick to the healthy, are not a solution. What is needed, is a programme of reform that ends the current situation where the top 10% own 80% of our wealth and 30% of income, even after tax. As Tawney remarked, What some people call the problem of poverty, others call the problem of riches. (Gordon Brown and Robin Cook, 1983) Poverty in the UK: The Solution?

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