Political Economy

The Social Health of the Nation: How America Is Really Doing by Marc Miringoff, Marque-Luisa Miringoff

By Marc Miringoff, Marque-Luisa Miringoff

For the prior twelve years, the once a year free up of the Index of Social healthiness has been an enormous occasion, mentioned within the big apple occasions, The Washington submit, and different nationwide media our greatest barometer of growth in addressing America's social ills. Now, within the Social overall healthiness of the kingdom, the Index for 1999--an necessary fount of information--is to be had for the 1st time in booklet shape. Rejecting the concept that the Dow Jones business Averages and its ilk are the only legitimate measures of growth within the usa, the authors provide a fuller and deeper view of our nation's caliber of lifestyles, amassing jointly statistical details on such components because the future health of America's kids and formative years, the accessibility of health and wellbeing care, the standard of schooling, or the adequacy of housing. Readers will locate reliable information regarding drug abuse, kids in poverty, lifestyles expectancy, homicides, and medical health insurance insurance. And we get those evidence in context, in order that we all know the place we're improving--for example, poverty one of the aged, youngster mortality, and the highschool dropout expense have all declined. both very important, we find the place we're wasting ground--suicide charges one of the younger are forty percentage greater than in 1970, for instance, and source of revenue inequality is at its worst point in 50 years. right here then is the foremost to the genuine nation of the Union. the 1st nationwide survey within the U.S. to assemble diversified features of social well-being, together with schooling, paintings, relatives, therapy, American tradition, and the humanities, The Social overall healthiness of the kingdom provides us a extra finely concentrated photograph of the nationwide fabric--and unearths the place that cloth wishes mending.

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Extensive hearings were held on the bill. Senator Fred Harris brought together a wide range of experts testifying to the urgent need for regular social reporting and portraying the complexities of the task. Despite strong support, the bill failed to pass. A less ambitious statistical report, entitled Social Indicators, was subsequently published by the Bureau of the Census. Social Indicators reports were issued in 1973, 1976, and 1980 but were discontinued by the Reagan Administration. In the intervening years, there have been no other efforts at comprehensive, regu- 24 The Social Health of the Nation / Chapter Two lar social reporting by the federal government on the scale of Recent Social Trends or as envisioned in Toward a Social Report.

People buy bottled water to replace the questionable stuff from the tap: the GDP goes up some more. " To correct this form of accounting, the GPI seeks to count as costs what its authors believe the public perceives as costs, and to count as gains those aspects of social life that we genuinely think of as progress. This approach includes subtracting crime costs, environmental degradation, and the burdens of ill health, while adding as growth those aspects of social life that the current GDP does not measure, such as the value of housework and volunteer work, and adjusting for other issues, such as income distribution.

Because of the current vagueness of this larger frame, its significance for "us" is far less evident. Yet if housing starts and factory inventories can be viewed as parts of a larger picture that affects us all, if the personal approval ratings of our governors, senators, and How Are We Doing? 17 presidents are deemed vital information, then the proportion of students who drop out of school, the suicide rates of our youth, the percentage of children who are abused, the availability of low-cost housing, or the quality of our civic engagement must also be considered crucial aspects or indicators of our nation's condition, a part of the official social portrait of the nation's progress.

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