Lottery of birth
Lottery of birth

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Big picture, small picture

This free course will look, simultaneously, at the big picture of the lottery of birth and the smaller, human stories of the lottery of birth. In the first week, you’ll consider the concept of the lottery of birth, inequalities both between countries and within countries and the effects of the lottery of birth on human well-being, particularly wealth, income, power, health and education.

In the second week, you will use the perspective of time to question whether this is a good time to be born and you’ll look at the lottery of choice as it relates to becoming a parent, as an example.

The third week looks at being born in different countries around the world. You’ll look at the global inequalities agenda as seen in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). You’ll examine, in particular, the lottery of being born female in different places today.

In the fourth and final week, you’ll focus primarily on the ways inequalities are hard wired into societies and at the lottery of birth, examining how individual countries and global organisations have responded to demographic changes.

Inequalities across countries are still larger than inequalities within most countries, so, you’ll also consider whether, in the future, children’s futures should still depend strongly on the income and wealth of their families or that of their place of residence.

Life chances at birth, the choices people and their governments have or don’t have – and make or don’t make – and the complex challenges that the lottery of birth presents, provide the structure of each week’s learning on this course.

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