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Activist Spells Out Our Great Shame

Gus Speth, environmental lawyer, former Clinton adviser and founder of the Washington, D.C.-based World Resources Institute, who was arrested Sunday at the White House while protesting a proposed oil pipeline, has some bad news for American optimists: “… Most of America’s problems will get worse or, at best, will continue to fester more or less as they currently are for the foreseeable future.”

Not convinced? Read through this list of 25 leading measures of social, environmental and economic well-being, on which the United States ranks at or near the bottom compared to 19 of its peers. — ARK

Gus Speth at Solutions:

To our great shame, among the 20 major advanced countries America now has

• the highest poverty rate, both generally and for children;
• the greatest inequality of incomes;
• the lowest government spending as a percentage of GDP on social programs for the disadvantaged;

yet accompanied by the highest

• prevalence of mental health problems;
• portion of people going without health care due to cost;
• consumption of antidepressants per capita;

along with …

• the lowest score on the World Economic Forum’s environmental performance index (except for Belgium), and the largest ecological footprint per capita (except for Belgium and Denmark);
• the highest military spending as a portion of GDP;
• and the largest prison population per capita.

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