Report on the World Social Situation 1993
a book by the United Nations
(our site's book review)
This 1993 report on the world’s social situation these reports are yearly and are still being written today in 2013) utilizes an integration of global data and sophisticated analysis. It concludes that there has been substantial progress in living conditions throughout the world in recent decades. Industrialized countries have seen improved material well-being. However, satisfaction in life quality improvements has not risen with the materialistic improvements.
In many countries there are rising levels of drug addiction
Also, in many countries there are rising levels of crime, drug addiction, suicide and family breakdown, with instances of social malaise especially evident in countries where general living standards are high. Social deterioration combined with material progress is a sign of the times. However, “among the economically better-off, the trend toward increased security, affluence and social tolerance has provided more life options, which may erode the willingness of individuals to put up with the frustrations encountered in work and family situations.” (So they bail—to put it bluntly. And that in itself is a double-edged sword: Continuing in an unhappy mess doesn’t work well for anyone, especially adults, while breaking up (divorce) traumatizes children.)
Divorce rate in US 1935-2010
(Note: in the more recent The Report on the World Social Situation 2011: The Global Social Crisis, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), finds many governments did not pay sufficient attention to the social implications of the global economic crisis. The report says economic policies considered in isolation from their social consequences often create dire results for people’s nutrition, health and education, which, in turn, adversely affect long-term economic growth.
“The economic crisis reminds us that it is essential for people to be healthy, educated, adequately housed and well fed to be more productive and better able to contribute to society,” said Jomo Kwame Sundaram, UN-DESA Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development. Recovery has been uneven and still remains fragile, and, the report says, wide-ranging negative social outcomes linger from the global economic downturn.)
The normally liberal mindsets that work in the United Nations don’t pass up their opportunity in this document to propagandize their usual agenda. Liberals in America are often heard saying that there ought to be economic equity and everyone below the poverty line should have the right to a minimum level of economic support to ease their plight, and if we fail to do this we’re “blaming the poor” for their shortcomings. There are many reasons for poverty, and some of them are the fault of the poor. Many are not.
McDonalds need help but the dealers feel they’re too good for such jobs and it’s much cooler to be criminals—the media gave these guys such ideas
When the liberals got many of the poor addicted to government entitlements and told them nothing, including their criminal activities, was their fault, is it the liberals fault for their misguided social engineering experiments or the poor people’s fault for buying into it? When people deal crack in neighborhoods where there are “Help Wanted” signs on the McDonalds but the dealers feel they’re too good for such jobs and it’s much cooler to be criminals, and the liberal media are the ones who gave these people these ideas, are the poor or the media to blame?
The poor have opportunities to learn enough in school so that they’ll better themselves and not be poor, but their peers and local culture all think such knowledge is not worth the effort, so they keep hopping between crappy jobs, unemployment and crime
When the poor have opportunities to learn enough in school so that they’ll better themselves and not be poor, but their peers and local culture all think such knowledge is square, not worth knowing, and useless and not worth the effort, so they continue vacillating between crappy jobs, unemployment and criminal activity, are the poor to blame or should we indict their local culture? And for the poor that are unemployed or in minimum wage jobs—are they studying and learning and training in their spare time so that they can go for the American Dream, or are they goofing off and complaining to all who will listen (which means only each other) about what victims they are?
Slackers feel they're too good for the available jobs and they don't do any job training in their spare time; we need to let hunger motivate these losers
On the other hand, some people are poor because they are mentally or physically handicapped; others are mentally ill or basket cases because of abuse or because of the drugs their criminally negligent mothers used while carrying them, etc. Others were in jobs that paid decently but the factories moved to Mexico, so these latter poor are only temporarily poor while they diligently learn what is needed for the next job—which they’re honestly and responsibly seeking. Still others are victims of criminal misdeeds or rape and are too traumatized to responsibly work for a few months.
So some poor people merely need time. They’re responsible people and they’re acting that way. Their condition is temporary. Others have handicaps that are permanent and disabling and various programs should and do help such people. But way too many are manifestations of liberal culture’s victimhood ideas—they actually feel they’re not really responsible for how they act: the culture victimized them in some way. And way too many pass up the opportunities that come their way because of peer pressure from others who would be uncomfortable if their friends started acting like responsible people because then they think they’d be obliged to work as well—and quit bellyaching.
There’s no doubt about it: Some poverty is the poor people’s fault. Other poverty is not. Liberal blanket-generality assumptions that it simply isn’t are just as foolish as the liberal ideals that got these people into the poverty cycle in the first place. Two basic truths of human society are that each of us is responsible for our actions—regardless of what we think we’re “victims” of, and each of us is responsible to work hard, get ahead, and live our dream. Trying to make society responsible for giving it to us because the American Dream is a “right” is ludicrous at best.
The idea that the American Dream is a 'right' is silly—we need to balance rights with responsibilities
There’s no such thing as having a "right" to the American Dream. There’s merely a right to try for it. Most of us would not want to live here if the latter right didn’t exist. Many of us would lose our sense of responsibility if the former right was a fact. It would be the worst instance of liberal socialism imaginable. One’s efforts involve risks, whether in relationships or in entrepreneurship. The natural consequences of actions are what teach us—they’re how we learn. We try until we get it right. Then we prosper, thrive, grow, help others, and use the wisdom from our experiences to do even better.
Liberals that want to give out the American Dream as an entitlement just don’t get it. They undermine people’s opportunities to learn and gain wisdom, to exercise good moral control, thriftiness, honesty and a good work ethic to get ahead. We can only hope that the last ten years of the 20th century—in which most countries were trying hard to dump their socialist ideas and replace them with more responsible, moral and viable ideas—are a harbinger of things to come in the 21st century.
Giving poor countries food aid and medical care without birth control education and aid can be worse than nothing
Having said this, it can be applied equally well on the international level. Giving poor countries food aid and medical care without a concomitant program of birth control education and aid can be worse than nothing. The mid-90s Rwanda crisis happened after health and food problems were mitigated by outsider countries with benevolent liberal ideals but no systems knowledge. The aid that had been given earlier—with no birth control agenda attached—backfired so seriously that starvation, murder, and disease had to be counted on for birth control “the hard way” due to reductionistic approaches to foreign aid, and due to dogmatic—and successful—religious power plays that tried to keep out birth control as a “sin.” (So churches’ precipitating murder and desperation isn’t a sin?!) Birth control isn’t a luxury for many nations. It’s survival. Many will turn into total basket cases without it. And yet the Pope keeps giving pathetically anachronistic advice and the right wing and the poor and ignorant in most countries keep on following his guidance, regardless of how much suffering, death, pain, abortions, disease and dislocation it causes. The naďveté of it all is staggering.
The Pope gives pathetically anachronistic family planning advice regardless of the suffering, death, pain, abortions, disease and dislocation it causes
Anyway, with the world scene as it is, it’s not always easy to find ways to help that won’t ultimately backfire. This UN document states that “what matters most [is] the huge disparity in physical and material well-being that continues to exist between the poor and the well-off of the world.” The poor are in “. . . urgent need of attention.” While wisely admitting that national poverty and other quality-of-life problems can be catalysts for positive social change and human development (see how this was applied above in an American context), the UN still insists that when other nations mess up their lives, it is not only our responsibility to help them out of their mess, it’s also somehow almost our fault, because we’re rich and they’re poor. This is just like when the experimental, social-engineering-based, bleeding-heart liberal programs were being sold to the American public by political “saviors” and the liberal media was telling the Haves in our country that the plight of the Have-nots was not only not the responsibility of the Have-nots, it was the fault of the Haves!
The UN's view of the relationship between the richer and poorer countries
Isn’t it possible that we can learn from what went wrong here and not repeat the same mistakes in the international arena? Can’t we learn once and for all that we need to empower with information and once we’ve taught them what they need to know, we should go away and let them be responsible for their own decisions? If people decide to breed like crazy and then use murder, starvation and disease as birth control because they consider condoms too invasive, then that’s their responsibility, not ours—as long as we have ensured that their populace has indeed heard and understood the birth control facts.
It makes no more sense to see poor people in other countries as hopeless victims who are not responsible for their actions than it does to see Americans in poverty that way. It’s counterproductive, disempowering, racist, elitist, and depressing for someone to see part of humanity in this way—for whatever reason. They need knowledge, encouragement, teaching that produces other teachers so they can carry on the teaching tasks themselves, and perhaps even an initial health care, birth control and food supply boost. But unless this empowers a people to get on its feet, it’s worse than nothing. If it creates a dependency or an irresponsible surge of population growth, it’s worse than nothing. It must empower, enlighten and free, or it should be stopped.
We do not need ANY more people on Earth!