Email seems to be around July 2003

 

 

 

To: jan.vandemoortele@undp.org

 

Dear Dr Vandemoortele...

 

Since the year 2000 I have been trying to tell academics and officials that there is something wrong in concept with several MDGs

 

[! I was myself wrong, since "MDGs" did not exist then.† I had written about International Development Goals, because that is what the UK government referred to.]

 

 

  -  and with economistsí measures of welfare.  We should not be aiming to reduce the proportion of any deprived groups without taking mortality rates into account.

 

...A doctor should not use cross-sectional data to infer success.      Nor should those studying hunger.

 

...child survival indicators may be telling us about the non-poor rather than the poor.   

 

[Later note: I had perhaps made some progress here from my previous idea that since child mortality was concentrated among the poorest, national or global trends would indicate progress among the poorest]

 

So they may not give a safeguard that the proportion in poverty is not being affected in the wrong way by mortality rates.

 

...I identify 10 fundamental problems in welfare economics and 15 reasons why the UN should use survival rate data, not economic data,  to monitor the progress of poor people.      When we consider the technical problems involved in using economic data to infer economic well-being, we may realise that it is not a practical solution at any reasonable cost.

 

All economistsí claims from large-scale studies on growth and poverty, globalisation and poverty and so on suffer from both the mortality flaw and the inflation flaw  -  as well as inadequate data.     It is perhaps time for poverty experts to recognise once and for all that these findings are invalid.     That would clear the way for common-sense solutions.     I am very glad that you have brought attention to aspects of the inadequacy of monetary measures.