Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin-America and the Nordic countries

  • Morten Tønnessen
Keywords: human development, welfare, inequality, social risks, Latin America, Nordic countries, Desarrollo humano, Bienestar, Desigualdad, Riesgos Sociales, América Latina, Países nórdicos

Abstract

English:
This article provides an overview and analysis of human development, inequality and people´s perception of social and economic risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries. While Nordic countries rank very highly on the UN´s Human Development Index (HDI) and are known for their ‘Nordic welfare model’, Latin American countries have been making significant progress economically, and with regard to health and education. However, inequality levels remain high throughout Latin America, representing an obstacle to further human development in the region. This is evidenced in the UN´s inequality-adjusted HDI data, among other sources. High levels of inequality translate to a poorer-than-average social welfare for significant portions of the populations in Latin American countries. To a large extent, actual living conditions are reflected in what people perceive as social risks when looking ahead and thinking about their own prospects, as well as those of their families. Improved and more equal living conditions are therefore likely to change people´s life satisfaction, in addition to what they are the most concerned about. In this article, people´s perception of social risks in selected Latin American and Nordic countries is analysed based on data from the OECD´s Cross-National Survey on Social and Economic Risks.

Spanish:
Desarrollo humano, desigualdad y riesgos sociales en América Latina y los países nórdicos.
Este artículo propone una panorámica y análisis del desarrollo humano, la desigualdad y la percepción del riesgo social y económico de las personas en países nórdicos y latinoamericanos. Mientras que los países nórdicos se ubican en posiciones altas en el ranking de las Naciones Unidas para el Indicador de Desarrollo Humano (IDH), y son bien conocidos por su “Modelo de bienestar nórdico”, los países latinoamericanos han venido teniendo significativos avances en la esfera económica, y con respecto a la salud y la educación. Sin embargo, los niveles de desigualdad se mantienen elevados en la región latinoamericana, representando un obstáculo para avanzar en el desarrollo humano. Esto se evidencia en la base de datos de las Naciones Unidas sobre el IDH ajustado por la desigualdad, entre otras fuentes. Altos niveles de desigualdad se traducen en un bienestar social por debajo de la media para porciones significativas de la población de los países latinoamericanos. En un sentido más amplio, las condiciones de vida reales se reflejan en lo que las personas perciben como riesgos sociales, al analizar sus propias posibilidades de bienestar, y las de sus familias. Condiciones de vida mejoradas y más equitativas potencialmente modifican la satisfacción de las personas respecto a su existencia, añadidas a aquellas cuestiones que más les preocupan. En este artículo se analiza la percepción del riesgo social que desarrollan las personas en países seleccionados de América Latina y en países nórdicos. El análisis se funda en  las bases de datos de la Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE) construidas a partir de las Encuestas Internacionales sobre Riesgos Sociales y Económicos.

Author Biography

Morten Tønnessen

Professor of Philosophy
Department of Social Studies, University of Stavanger
Norway
E-mail: morten.tonnessen@uis.no

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Published
2019-05-12
How to Cite
Tønnessen, M. (2019). Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin-America and the Nordic countries. Journal of Comparative Social Work, 14(1), 9 - 36. https://doi.org/10.31265/jcsw.v14i1.231
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