Sunday, September 18, 2022

America - Not Number One

 The United Nations' latest annual ranking of nations by "sustainable development goals" have as its top four countries the Scandinavian nations. 

The United States is forty-first, just below Cuba. Other nations better than the USA include Estonia, Croatia, the Slovak Republic, Romania, and Serbia.

The seventeen "sustainable development goals" (SDGs) include the absence of poverty and hunger, good health and education, gender equality, clean air and water, and reduced inequality. The purpose of the report is to measure countries' progress, or development, toward a civilized and sustainable future.

 As historian Kathleen Frydl points out, "Under this methodology ... the U.S. ranks between Cuba and Bulgaria. Both are widely regarded as developing countries." 

 How does a country that was once "developed" become "developing"? The phrase "developing country" implies that there are countries that have achieved development, and countries that are on their way. It leaves no room for the possibility that a nation, once it developed, can "un-develop" itself. It's like saying that a "growing child" can become "un-grown." 

And yet, that's exactly what is happening to the United States.

Albeit, other measurements and reports may not place the US below Cuba or Serbia, but most major measurements seem to point one way: down. Life expectancy is declining. Economic inequality is rising. Other measurements are flat at best.

Opinion | Is Progress Obsolete? The United States Is Now an 'Un-Developing' Country | Richard Eskow (

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