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#15247727
The United States may regard itself as a “leader of the free world,” but an index of development released in July 2022 places the country much farther down the list.

In its global rankings, the United Nations Office of Sustainable Development dropped the US to 41st worldwide, down from its previous ranking of 32nd. Under this methodology – an expansive model of 17 categories, or “goals,” many of them focused on the environment and equity – the US ranks between Cuba and Bulgaria. Both are widely regarded as developing countries.

The US is also now considered a “flawed democracy,” according to The Economist’s democracy index.

As a political historian who studies US institutional development, I recognize these dismal ratings as the inevitable result of two problems. Racism has cheated many Americans out of the health care, education, economic security and environment they deserve. At the same time, as threats to democracy become more serious, a devotion to “American exceptionalism” keeps the country from candid appraisals and course corrections.

‘The other America’
The Office of Sustainable Development’s rankings differ from more traditional development measures in that they are more focused on the experiences of ordinary people, including their ability to enjoy clean air and water, than the creation of wealth.

So while the gigantic size of the American economy counts in its scoring, so too does unequal access to the wealth it produces. When judged by accepted measures like the Gini coefficient, income inequality in the US has risen markedly over the past 30 years. By the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s measurement, the U.S. has the biggest wealth gap among G7 nations.

These results reflect structural disparities in the US, which are most pronounced for African Americans. Such differences have persisted well beyond the demise of chattel slavery and the repeal of Jim Crow laws.

Scholar W E B Du Bois first exposed this kind of structural inequality in his 1899 analysis of Black life in the urban north, “The Philadelphia Negro.” Though he noted distinctions of affluence and status within Black society, Du Bois found the lives of African Americans to be a world apart from white residents: a “city within a city.”

Du Bois traced the high rates of poverty, crime and illiteracy prevalent in Philadelphia’s Black community to discrimination, divestment and residential segregation – not to Black people’s degree of ambition or talent.

More than a half-century later, with characteristic eloquence, Martin Luther King Jr. similarly decried the persistence of the “other America,” one where “the buoyancy of hope” was transformed into “the fatigue of despair.”

To illustrate his point, King referred to many of the same factors studied by Du Bois: the condition of housing and household wealth, education, social mobility and literacy rates, health outcomes and employment. On all of these metrics, Black Americans fared worse than whites. But as King noted, “Many people of various backgrounds live in this other America.”

The benchmarks of development invoked by these men also featured prominently in the 1962 book “The Other America,” by political scientist Michael Harrington, founder of a group that eventually became the Democratic Socialists of America. Harrington’s work so unsettled President John F. Kennedy that it reportedly galvanized him into formulating a “war on poverty.”

Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, waged this metaphorical war. But poverty bound to discrete places. Rural areas and segregated neighborhoods stayed poor well beyond mid-20th-century federal efforts.


Tents line a leafy park; some people can be seen chatting outside one tent
Camp Laykay Nou, a homeless encampment in Philadelphia. High and rising inequality is one reason the US rates badly on some international development rankings. Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images / Cory Clark
In large part that is because federal efforts during that critical time accommodated rather than confronted the forces of racism, according to my research.

Across a number of policy domains, the sustained efforts of segregationist Democrats in Congress resulted in an incomplete and patchwork system of social policy. Democrats from the South cooperated with Republicans to doom to failure efforts to achieve universal health care or unionized workforces.

Rejecting proposals for strong federal intervention, they left a checkered legacy of local funding for education and public health.

Today, many years later, the effects of a welfare state tailored to racism is evident — though perhaps less visibly so — in the inadequate health policies driving a shocking decline in average American life expectancy.

Declining democracy
There are other ways to measure a country’s level of development, and on some of them the US fares better.

The US currently ranks 21st on the United Nations Development Program’s index, which measures fewer factors than the sustainable development index. Good results in average income per person – US$64,765 – and an average 13.7 years of schooling situate the United States squarely in the developed world.

Its ranking suffers, however, on appraisals that place greater weight on political systems.

The Economist’s democracy index now groups the US among “flawed democracies,” with an overall score that ranks between Estonia and Chile. It falls short of being a top-rated “full democracy” in large part because of a fractured political culture. This growing divide is most apparent in the divergent paths between “red” and “blue” states.

Although the analysts from The Economist applaud the peaceful transfer of power in the face of an insurrection intended to disrupt it, their report laments that, according to a January 2022 poll, “only 55% of Americans believe that Mr. Biden legitimately won the 2020 election, despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud.”

Election denialism carries with it the threat that election officials in Republican-controlled jurisdictions will reject or alter vote tallies that do not favor the Republican Party in upcoming elections, further jeopardizing the score of the U.S. on the democracy index.

Red and blue America also differ on access to modern reproductive care for women. This hurts the US gender equality rating, one aspect of the United Nations’ sustainable development index.

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Republican-controlled states have enacted or proposed grossly restrictive abortion laws, to the point of endangering a woman’s health.

When paired with structural inequalities and fractured social policy, the dwindling Republican commitment to democracy lends weight to the classification of the US as a developing country.

To address the poor showing of the United States on a variety of global surveys, one must also contend with the idea of American exceptionalism, a belief in American superiority over the rest of the world.

Both political parties have long promoted this belief, at home and abroad, but “exceptionalism” receives a more formal treatment from Republicans.

It was the first line of the Republican Party’s national platform of 2016 and 2020 (“we believe in American exceptionalism”). And it served as the organizing principle behind Donald Trump’s vow to restore “patriotic education” to America’s schools.

In Florida, after lobbying by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, the state board of education in July 2022 approved standards rooted in American exceptionalism while barring instruction in critical race theory, an academic framework teaching the kind of structural racism Du Bois exposed long ago.

With a tendency to proclaim excellence rather than pursue it, the peddling of American exceptionalism encourages Americans to maintain a robust sense of national achievement – despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

Kathleen Frydl is Sachs Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


https://asiatimes.com/2022/09/us-becomi ... -rankings/


Good news for the MAGA folks - if the US is a developing country, it can get the same 'special treatment' on climate goals as China or India. Intended solution? :lol:
#15247745
Developing countries are ones where the populous eat bats sold from unsanitary meat markets which create diseases that brings society to its knees.

Developed countries invent the vaccines that cure these diseases.
#15247749
Fasces wrote:non se·qui·tur
/ˌnän ˈsekwədər/

noun

a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.

"his weird mixed metaphors and non sequiturs"


In developing countries, there is a lack of rule of law and no guaranteed due process rights. Where's Tank Man?

In developed countries, rule of law is fairly solid, as is due process. The cops will not raid Xi's winter home.
#15247755
wat0n wrote:According to that sustainable development ranking, Chile is more developed than Canada and Australia.

I think we can safely discard it.


The list seems a little off. The top 18 countries are all in Europe. Hungary, which was denounced last week by the European Union for not being a true democracy and are planning to suspend funding from the EU because of this, slides in at 21? Romania at 30, have they actually been there? One can disagree with many things regarding Israel, but in what universe do they rank 49?

What criteria were used when making this list? Even if there is some advanced future projection formula behind it, many choices still seem odd.
#15247756
MadMonk wrote:The list seems a little off. The top 18 countries are all in Europe. Hungary, which was denounced last week by the European Union for not being a true democracy and are planning to suspend funding from the EU because of this, slides in at 21? Romania at 30, have they actually been there? One can disagree with many things regarding Israel, but in what universe do they rank 49?

What criteria were used when making this list? Even if there is some advanced future projection formula behind it, many choices still seem odd.


Their progress on UN Sustainability Goals (UNSG17) is what is being measured.
#15247764
Fasces wrote::lol: Imagine being so defensive and insecure about a post on declining standards in the US (in the NA forum) you have to bring up some 'whatabout Tank man from 35 years ago' nonsense. What does any of that have to do with UN development goals?

Relax UT, the US is still ahead in these rankings of China and Russia by like 8 places.

https://dashboards.sdgindex.org/rankings

My issue is that you frequently create threads or posts crapping on the US or the West (which in itself is fine), but you leave China unscathed.

If you think I'm just going to sit around and join in on your anti-western propoganda, even when you make a decent point, you're fooling yourself.
#15247765
wat0n wrote:How is the score calculated?


The US loses points because it's no longer legal to kill babies in-utero. #development
#15247767
Fasces wrote:My issue is that you frequently create threads or posts crapping on the US or the West (which in itself is fine), but you leave China unscathed.


I don't leave China unscathed. :hmm:

My most recent topic about China was about the UN report on human rights abuse claims on Xinjiang being credible while my most recent post about China was about how awkward it will be for Turkey to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization given its overt support for Turkestani Uygher activists. Before that was a whole thing with @wat0n about deficiencies inthe Chinese real estate market.

I'm not sitting here jerking off the USA and adopting the party line, sure. My position is simply that China isn't a uniquely evil state; it's not a great threat to Western states or their homeland (just its imperialist hegemony) - it's petty, self-interested, and led by its own fair share of idiots. It's democracy is severely limited and could be improved, for example. It's respect for individual rights or life leaves a lot to be desired. I hate the resurgence of Chinese nationalism and rejection of leadership of the Global South.

At the end of the day, I can't control what of mine you read, or what you retain, as I've explained by position countless times at this point. 1, 2, 3 (this last one to you!). You don't want nuance, you want rah rah usa west is the best fuck yes chauvinism and anything less than that bullshit will make me a Chinese propogandist :roll: .

Unthinking Majority wrote:The US loses points because it's no longer legal to kill babies in-utero. #development


The US loses points for regressing on the human rights of women and denying basic maternal care on the basis of superstition. The UAE loses points for the same reason, mind.
#15247772
You saw a lot of these types of reports specifically when Pres. Trump was in power: the problem of DEMOCRACY in AMERICA due to the RED HATS!

I think it is insane to think of France, Germany, or Sweden as democratic states that illegalize certain ideas and imprison people for publishing thought crimes. It's just bizarre. I never put stock in the way that these soceities try to measure 'democracy.'

But as far as economic development... It is just the case that the US is a land of extremes.

Rural Mississippi has the living standards of Eastern Europe or Turkey with the crime problems of Latin America.

The Northeastern Corridor, Seattle, LA, San Francisco, etc., literally have the highest standards of living in the world with the most political freedoms. Literally, being born into a wealthy family in these places is winning the lottery.
#15247789
The poor relative life outcomes of Black-African descended Americans are not due to current anti African racism. Obviously they have a lot to do with past morphological racism. Without the slave trade and the extreme morphological racism that enabled in it a culture that formally adhered to the belief in human universalism, there would be no significant Black-African descended American population.

The poor relative life outcomes of Black-African descended Americans are overwhelmingly due to BADA's inherited culture. I know this because we have something similar going on in Britain with our West Indian population. A friend of mine's is from a Nigerian Christian ethnicity. As he was growing up he would be called a coconut or a bounty bar by West Indians, because he refused to go along with the anti intellectual, anti study mainstream "Black-British" culture. Western liberal academia can simply not be trusted, with their ideological hate propaganda masquerading as impartial science.
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