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June 21, 2007

Infant Mortality Where?
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

I've been involved in some interesting professional discussions lately about how advocates can effectively help Americans make connections between what happens abroad and what happes at home -- on economic globalization issues such as jobs and food safety, for example, but also in other areas like civil rights, environment, health and disease.

I haven't seen any good well-researched answers -- though I have noticed that popular publications are doing a lot more comparisons with Europe and elsewhere on areas like health and environment that you would've seen a few years ago.  Today's gut-wrenching example is an NPR story on rising infant mortality in the South.  The rate there is two-thirds higher than the national rate -- which, at 6.9 deaths per thousand babies in the first year of life, is among the highest of industrialized nations.  Mississippi's rate, 11.1 deaths per thousand babies, is worse than post-Communist states like Hungary and Poland, and Latin American countries like Costa Rica and Chile, all of which have lower per capita incomes.  What country most closely matches Mississippi's rate, I wondered while listening to the story? So I went and looked it up.



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I guess those Halliburton stock dividends coming to Cheney's mailbox don't also trickle down to poor folks in Mississippi and so they can't afford pre- or post-natal care. Who knew.

Speaking of international connections, I recently learned that in Europe if a person is aggrieved by a court ruling she can take the case to the European Court in Strasbourg for a ruling that will include a determination on the viability of the national law compared to other laws in Europe. The Court ruling isn't binding, but does send a message.

Of course America as a global 'hegemon' isn't going to take orders from anyone else, or even stand comparisons. This is the dark side of US global hegemony and the love-it-or-leave-it syndrome of Americans, the chosen race.

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