Rich countries, poor children

THE weakest links in a society are children and the aged. Both cannot stand on their own feet, economically, and both are equally in need of emotional support. Every religion places great emphasis on the need to ensure the well-being of those at the beginning of their lives, and those at the fag end. Yet, however, the irony is that the more a society develops, the more the lack of care for these two segments.

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Published: Thu 15 Feb 2007, 10:18 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:52 AM

A new, yet partial, assertion of this fact has come from a new study by Unicef, that has painted a grim picture of the plight of children in the developed world. There’s little wonder that the United Kingdom has come at the bottom in the overall ratings of the study, as this is a society that has lost its soul in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, to start with, and in the course of time when materialistic pursuits reached its zenith.

Governments, indeed, are responsible for the well-being of a society. It will not do for a government to claim it is doing everything it could, as spokespersons for the Tony Blair government were quick to explain away. Nor would it do to dismiss the findings as being based on the responses only from those of the “residents”, and not of the citizens. UK is not a nation that maintains double standard in such respects. Its government is expected to take care of all under its lap. That’s what human rights is all about; and that’s something the Blair government cannot lose sight of. The unalloyed fact is that there is need to find better mechanisms to take better care of children.

The collapse of the joint family system, even the family system, and the large-scale entry of women (mothers) into the workforce in the urbanised environs of the industrialised nations, are all causes contributing to the neglect. This, even as there is merit in the contention that today’s children, as a whole, are economically better placed. The Unicef report, however, notes that while child poverty rates were falling, they were twice as high as they were in 1979. This is a startling revelation, especially in respect of countries like Great Britain. Where do we go from here?

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