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Press Release

Many welfare states socially unjust
Fairness index for OECD countries appeared

The differences in the prevention of poverty and access to educational opportunities are immense in the OECD. Best of all the northern European countries provide for equal opportunities for achievement. At the same time, many continental European and Anglo-Saxon welfare states considerable catching up to have the largest index according to the U.S., Greece, Chile, Mexico and Turkey.

Northern Europe leads the way
An international comparison shows that "social justice and market performance is not necessarily exclude each other, this show in particular the Nordic countries." Said Aart de Geus, a board member of the Bertelsmann Foundation, at the presentation of the study.

On the first places of the justice index are Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
Poverty and the growing gap between rich and poor is a major problem in the OECD. Of the 31 countries examined, on average, 10.8 percent of the people are poor. This means they have to live with less than half the national median household income.

U.S.: 21.6 percent of children affected by poverty. Particular concern is the phenomenon of child poverty: on average about 12.3 percent of children live below the poverty line. Therefore, it lags many places on the basic requirements of social justice and participation. The differences within the OECD is alarming: While in Denmark only 3.7 percent of children affected by poverty, the rate in the United States at alarming 21.6 percent (rank 28). Only Turkey, Chile and Mexico cut worse than the largest economy in the world.

Many of the 31 participating OECD countries have significant deficits in the question of equitable educational opportunities. Again, it is the Northern European countries, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, which are particularly successful in this respect also.

The U.S. major economies (ranked 20), Britain (21) or Germany (22) land on the other hand only in the lower third of the rankings. Including school systems and increased investment in early childhood education are key tools to continue to provide more equal opportunities in education.

Level of unemployment determines the social question. Social justice depends critically on access opportunities from the labor market. The global crisis has had a dramatic impact here in almost all OECD countries. This worsened the social question. The situation is catastrophic in Spain: The overall unemployment rate now stands at over 20 percent, long-term unemployment at 9 per cent and youth unemployment even frightening 41.6 percent.

Finally: In terms of intergenerational equity, many OECD countries face major challenges. The drastic increase in government debt in most countries represents a heavy burden for future generations.

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