Is it just me? (Trying to work out what outcomes count/ are counted)

I think that this blog post [], which explores an article on the role of fathers’ clubs in regards to child health in Haiti, makes a valid point; how is a program a success if it increases vitamin A intake and vaccination rates, but with no improvements in child weight or mortality? I suppose that increased ‘well-being’ (again, difficult to measure) or decreased morbidity could be the result of adequate vitamin intake and vaccination, but how are indicators useful if they are not correlated with quality of life?

An example a bit closer to home is provided by Jessica Brown’s work, both in her right wing think tank report titled What’s next for welfare to work and her article in The Australian earlier this month praising the Rudd government ‘for taking such a tough stance’ in regards to extending welfare quarantining. In both texts, Brown’s primary concern is reducing dependency as a way of reducing tax rates. In the report she laments that the more restrictive criteria applied to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) did not also apply to all existing recipients. Brown looks at how the government could reduce the number of DSP recipients, and while half a sentence is used to suggest that forcing people off the DSP onto nothing could be a problem, human suffering is not one of her primary concerns. Is a welfare system which supports less people a goal in itself?

I am off to search for some academic work on decision making, goal selection and success.


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