Latin America Mario Tama/Getty Images

Een vrij en gelijkwaardig leven

MADRID – In de kwart eeuw die verstreken is sinds het verschijnen van het eerste Human Development Report heeft de wereld opzienbarende stappen genomen in het verminderen van de armoede en het verbeteren van gezondheid, onderwijs, en levensomstandigheden van honderden miljoenen mensen. En toch, hoe indrukwekkend deze vooruitgang ook moge zijn, is deze niet gelijk verdeeld geweest. Zowel tussen landen onderling als binnen landen zelf blijven er diepe onevenredigheden bestaan in de menselijke ontwikkeling.

Neem kindersterfte. In IJsland sterven van iedere 1000 levendgeborenen twee kinderen in hun eerste levensjaar. In Mozambique is dit 120 op 1000. Overeenkomstig maken kinderen in Bolivia die geboren worden bij een moeder die geen onderwijs heeft genoten twee maal zo veel kans om binnen een jaar te sterven als baby’s van moeders die tenminste middelbare school hebben. En deze onevenredigheden echoën iemands hele leven door. Een kind van vijf dat is geboren in Midden-Amerika in een huishouden met een laag inkomen is gemiddeld zes centimeter korter dan een kind dat in een gezin met een hoog inkomen geboren wordt.

Dit soort verschillen hebben om een scala aan redenen voet aan de grond gekregen. Hieronder zijn ‘verticale ongelijkheden,’ zoals een asymmetrische inkomensverdeling, zowel als ‘horizontale ongelijkheden,’ zoals die bestaan binnen groepen vanwege factoren als ras, sekse, en etniciteit, en die zich vormen tussen gemeenschappen door residentiële segregatie.

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