issue 179 - January 1988
|Global statistics on food, health, education and freedom form repression tend to favour Western countries simply because of their wealth. This is why the NI Olympics awards its medals and votes of censure according to changes in the last five years: because it gives poorer countries a fairer chance. But before the competition begins it is as well to bear in mind the absolute standards or 'world records' in each field.|
The World Human Rights Guide awarded governments a percentage rating based on their freedom from state violence and their tolerance of dissent at the end of 19861
The following countries did not supply enough data to gain a percentage rating but were classed as 'poor': Afghanistan, Albania, Central African Republic, Iran, Kampuchea, Laos, North Yemen, South Yemen.
There is a huge divide between the health of the rich and poor countries, as the top and bottom of the life expectancy shows.
Life expectancy at birth, 19852
The cause of Japanese long life is not their enlightened government - it is partly their healthy traditional diet but mainly their county's wealth. One way to measure the progress in health of individual countries more fairly is to compare them against countries within the same income bracket.
The Health for Wealth League divides the world into seven divisions according to their wealth - their GNP per capita in 1984. It then compares their wealth ranking with their performance in reducing child deaths their under-five mortality rate in 19852. So a nation which came second in it's division for health but ninth in wealth would score +7. While a nation which came tenth in health but first in wealth would score -9.
Countries with GNP per capita of over $5,000 a year (see explanation bottom left)
Countries with GNP per capita of less than $300 a year.
Primary school enrolment, 1982-19842
Countries exceed 100 per cent where students out side the primary age group are also attending primary school. This explains the absence of Western countries, in which secondary education is widely available for older children.
In 1983 there were 23 countries where there was enough food available to supply less than 90 per cent of each person's daily caloric needs.and there were 24 countries in which there was enough food to supply every person with 28 per cent or more above their needs. All these percentages assume that food is distributed equally - which is, of course, never the case.
1. Charles Humana, World Human Rights Guide, Pan 1987.
2. UNICEF State of the World's Children 1987