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Global Child Poverty and Well-beingMeasurement, Concepts, Policy and Action$
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Alberto Minujin and Shailen Nandy

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781847424822

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847424822.001.0001

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Utopia calling: eradicating child poverty in the United Kingdom and beyond

Utopia calling: eradicating child poverty in the United Kingdom and beyond

Chapter:
(p.449) Eighteen Utopia calling: eradicating child poverty in the United Kingdom and beyond
Source:
Global Child Poverty and Well-being
Author(s):

Ruth Levitas

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847424822.003.0018

This chapter draws on the legacy of Eleanor Rathbone, an early twentieth-century British campaigner for family allowances, and her aspirations for a society without child poverty. It deploys ‘utopia as method’ both to explore the inadequacy of current policies aimed at reducing child poverty and to consider the principles on which society would have to be organised to ensure the effective eradication, rather than merely alleviation, of child poverty. Utopia as method entails looking systemically and holistically at social institutions, social processes and their outcomes. The core principles identified as necessary to eliminating child poverty are: promoting equality; revaluing care, and considering the total social organisation of labour in society both within and beyond the market; rethinking what counts as production and wealth; universal child benefit and a guaranteed basic income or citizen's income; making sustainability central; and prioritising human flourishing and well-being. The chapter focuses primarily on the UK, but the framework has general relevance. It broadens out into a global perspective on the kind of society that would secure the rights of children to economic and social security and the development of the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential.

Keywords:   Rathbone, utopia, child benefit, unpaid work, equality

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