The Children are Our Future

An April 2010 policy brief from UNICEF argues for the protection of salaries paid to teachers and health workers, especially in rural and urban poor areas. The importance of maintaining a sustainable living wage for these laborers is important to the development of children.

This brief reminds me of the social capital that Robert Putnam discusses in his book Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital.

Putnam puts forward the idea that social networks have positive values such as “good will, fellowship, sympathy and social intercourse” that come in form of social capital such as “family, civic groups, internet friends, etc.” Putnam goes on to argue that social capital prevents bad things from happening to children, and those children who are exposed to high levels of social capital tend to have community connectedness and tend to be more successful.

If teachers and health workers play an important role in children’s development such as providing them with good social capital, then it makes sense to pay them an adequate wage. The brief notes that the low wages are discouraging people from entering the teaching or health profession.

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