Friday, August 19, 2005

Gaps, gaps everywhere

If the BBC is to be believed, the UK is rife with "gaps".

Today we find out that the newly proposed ban on smoking, or more accurately the exemptions that might be written into the ban, will widen the "health gap". This is the same "health inequality gap" that we were told a week ago is already widening even without a ban on smoking. This is not to be confused with the "education gap" we heard about 3 weeks ago, although it is probably the very same "rich" people in good health that are also disturbingly high academic achievers. (If only the rich were a little more sick and a little less smart, that "gap" would go away and the Beeb could breath a little easier. ) I'm guessing that this "education gap" is somehow related to the "black pupil exclusion gap" we heard about in March and which sees more black kids than white kids kicked out of school. (The obvious solution to this gap problem: kick more white kids out of school). All of this, of course, will undoubtedly be exacerbated by the increasing use of the Internet, which, we were told on Tuesday, could widen the "wealth gap" by making it easier for people to find just the kind of neighborhood they want (don't've got to read it.) Earlier in June the Beeb combined the themes of an education gap and a wealth gap to come up with the "graduate earnings gap" which, you'll surely be happy to know (unless you are a graduate), is apparently not as wide as it might have been. And, speaking of graduates, although not enough of them are learning French and German, resulting in a "language gap", at least one university is doing its best to eliminate the nefarious "dental gap" that Norfolk (presumably and most especially Norfolk's poor, given the education, wealth, and health gaps) is suffering under.

The BBC's quest for a fully egalitarian UK in all measures of life continues unabated.


Anonymous Mark said...

Re: the "wealth gap" article

I don't see the logic in this. Making information available is a bad thing?? You know, assuming that poor people have public access to the Internet (like they do in the U.S. in our public libraries), poor people could look up the same stats and make up their own minds as well about where they want to live. What would the Beeb think about that?

Re: "graduate earnings gap"

There's been talk in the U.S., particularly from liberal groups, that the recent recession hit those who were university educated pretty hard. An interesting trend developed that made a university education sound more like a trade-off. People with college degrees still have earned more than those without one, but if they were laid off, they were out of work for a longer period of time than someone with just a high school education. People with just high school educations were out of work more frequently than those with college degrees, but found new jobs more quickly than their university educated counterparts.

It definitely seems that a university education, while still something that is more valued than a high school diploma among employers, has been devalued some over the last 4 years.

In any case, as you say with the BBC, some people fancy the idea of being able to control outcomes so that everyone is "equal". I call it a form of fanciful denial.

11:49 AM  

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