Chapter

Equity begins with children

Jan Vandemoortele

in Global Child Poverty and Well-being

Published by Policy Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9781847424822
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447307235 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847424822.003.0003
Equity begins with children

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While considerable progress is being made across the world in terms of human well-being, global statistics hide the fact that global progress has, by and large, by-passed those who are excluded, ignored, vulnerable, marginalised or dispossessed. The evidence is quite compelling that more equal societies do better in terms of progress in health, education and nutrition than less equal ones. Yet, the conventional narrative maintains that economic growth is the prime force for reducing poverty. The chapter stresses the need for an ‘equity-mediated’ approach to human development. Equity is not only important for its intrinsic value but also for its instrumental worth. The equity-inducing effects of putting children first will be more effective and efficient in improving human well-being than to continue with the simple ‘growth-mediated’ strategy. Equity-mediated development is not more ideological or politically divisive than fixing the national rate of interest or the inflation target, for instance. But it is frequently seen as tantamount to social engineering, if not to conducting ‘class warfare’. In such an increasingly polarised debate, children must be seen as the ‘Trojan horse’ to bring equity in from the cold.

Keywords: equity; poverty; children; human rights; economic growth

Chapter.  6026 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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