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Child poverty weakens the Anglo-American model

Published: April 1 2007 16:28 | Last updated: April 1 2007 16:28

For more than 30 years neoliberals have held up the US and, to a lesser extent, the UK as examples that other countries must follow to achieve economic success and high levels of social well-being. Yet, according to a recent Unicef report on child welfare, these are the worst two industrial countries in which to grow up. Is the Anglo-American model really as successful as neoliberals claim?

Two years ago another United Nations agency, the UN Development Programme, singled out the plight of many children in the US and the UK. Child poverty had doubled in the UK between 1979 and 1998, which it called “a legacy of the 1980s – a decade characterised by a distinctly pro-rich growth pattern that left poor people behind”. A major cause was “the impact of Thatcher government policies that cut taxes for higher earners and lowered benefits for the poor”. read more

If the health of a society is defined as the the desired outcome, measuring child poverty seems one plausible approach.

 

Evidence-based medicine (EBM)

is an attempt to more uniformly apply the standards of evidence gained from the scientific method, to certain aspects of medical practice. Specifically, EBM seeks to apply judgements about the inductive quality of evidence, to those aspects of medicine which depend on rational assessments of risks and benefits of treatments (including lack of treatment). According to the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, "Evidence-based medicine is the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients."1

EBM recognizes that many aspects of medical care depend on individual factors such as quality and value-of-life judgements, which are only partially subject to scientific methods. EBM, however, seeks to clarify those parts of medical practice which are in principle subject to scientific methods, and to apply these methods to ensure the best prediction of outcomes in medical treatment, even as debate about which outcomes are desirable, continues. Read more


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