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What Can South Teach North About Raising A Kid?

The Start of A New Human Life: Maximizing Well-Being in the Trade-Off Between Economic Wealth and Spiritual Richness

Esmeralda Guevara Ph.D. Dissertation Presentation Prescott College May 19, 2011

Inspiration for thesis—initial observations The South: Ibarra, Ecuador

(note—these are generalizations, not true for everyone)

HOW KIDS ARE RAISED • Clinic Birth • Baby with Mom or family • Breast-fed • Transportation bus, walking • Baby held • Big family at home • Moms at day-care SOCIAL/ECONOMIC • High Birth Rate • Low Consumption • Low Energy Use • Public places with people present everywhere • Low ADD • Low Depression • Strong extended family

The North: Prescott, Arizona HOW KIDS ARE RAISED • Hospital Birth • Baby in plastic bassinette • Bottle-fed • Private car transport • Baby in car-seat or stroller • No one at home • Moms leave kids at day-care



SOCIAL/ECONOMIC • Low Birth Rate • High Consumption • High Energy Use • Few public places • High ADD • High Depression • Little extended family present

The flow of influence: North to South • Every day, South becomes more like North • Flow of information, power, technology, values is from North to South • “Reverse transfer” of technology is becoming more common—e.g., music, film, home technologies • What about reverse transfer of behaviors and values?

What can South teach North about raising a kid?

Disclaimer • I don’t want to tell you how to raise your own children • Or tell how I think your parents should have raised you • That is what the advice books are for:

CONCEPT MAP FOR THESIS Understand “spiritual” versus economic tradeoffs at population level, for three phases of childraising -pregnancy/childbirth -infancy/toddlerhood -early childhood In context of “Sky View” which is theoretical framework for how power use should be analyzed in economic/ecological system And try to fit all into my own World View which has guided my thesis work.

Concept Map for Dissertation Work

World View • Don’t assume that anyone knows what is best for someone else. • Humans form an integral part of the ecology/economy. The cultural/social landscape is inseparable from the physical/biological landscape. • Embrace Change: Everything, including us, evolves. • Family is First.

Sky View—the theoretical framework SEVEN SIMPLE TRUTHS ABOUT POWER USE (in economies and ecologies, which I consider the same thing)


As living entities, we cycle energy over time, a process that we can call “power use.” Variation in power use across living systems is huge. The scale of power use greatly affects how organisms use resources and how they interact with the environment… or how economies behave. (Natural) Selection operates when different approaches to power use result in better performance. Economic well-being is based on better performance in cycling of energy or money. Physical and political power currently depends on economic well-being, or faster cycling of energy and money leading to greater financial profit. Non-economic well-being is based on better spiritual performance.

Intuitive Realms of Power Use High Energy Cycling Over Short Time Frame




High Energy Cycling Over Long Time Frame

Time “LAZY”

Low Energy Cycling Over Short Time Frame


Low Energy Cycling Over Long Time Frame

(Power = Energy/Time)

Physical-Mathematical Power Use Space (Power = Energy/Time)

losiv e”

d o r “P





” e v i t c u

Δ x = time

Active Person Δ y = energy Slope is Δ y/ Δ x = Energy/Time = Power

ive” t a t i d e “M

Light Bulb LED Bulb


Meditating Person


Physical-Mathematical Power Use Space 8

Power (W) = Energy (J) / Time (s)

1,000,0000’s of Watts or more • Powerful explosive devices

• Stars

100,000’s, 1,000,0000’s of Watts

W = Watts J = Joules s = seconds

• Human-created eco-systems, economies • Factories, Cities

1000’s, 10,0000’s of Watts • Cars, Big machines

Energy (J)

• Individual humans with extra. metabolic energy use Sun

Factory Person in car


lic o b ta e M lic a o r t b Ex ta Me

Active Person Meditating Person

10’s, 100’s of Watts • Small machines

•Macro-Organism Metabolism

1’s of Watts or less • Non-living, non-

combusting matter • Cells, Micro-Organisms

Time (s)

0 Watts

What level of power use is best for raising a child? • At any given moment, it is only possible to be at one particular power use level • Metabolic levels tend to be more “spiritual” • Extra-metabolic levels tend to be more “economic” and fossil-fuel based • Thus, trade-offs exist between economic and spiritual levels of power use—you cannot have both at the same time • South tends towards metabolic and spiritual levels • What level of power use gives more life fulfillment while raising a child?

What do the data say?


• anecdotal • quantitative • world-level statistics

GATHERED FOR Three phases of child-raising ANALYZED FOR Economic/Spiritual Tradeoffs in the use of power while raising a child (will show just a few examples for today)

The Data— anecdotal data

• From government-run preschool families – Ibarra-Ecuador – Prescott, Arizona

• Data gathered while working at centers • Direct interviews with families • Corroborated with information from co-workers’ experience with families

The Data—

quantitative data •

From government-run pre-school families – Ibarra-Ecuador – Prescott, Arizona

• •

Data from intake forms and child evaluations Variables that were analyzed – Had good coverage for most centers – Were related to economic-spiritual tradeoffs – Could be scaled or represented numerically

• •

Data from Ibarra and Prescott compared with massive-scale British Millennium Cohort Study (MHS) All data found interactively: GapMinder Bubble Chart Tool at

Day Care Center family demographics--Ibarra, Prescott

British Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) demographics

The Data窶馬ational and world statistics 窶「 Come from various sources including UN, World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), national statistics services and census 窶「 Used selectively to extend findings to international and world-level observations 窶「 Data sources identified with analyses

World levels of pre-natal care (from World Bank)

Data from Pregnancy and Childbirth Example: pre-natal care and birth practices

• Anecdotal evidence suggests lower income population in Ibarra, Ecuador more satisfied with prenatal and birth care than higher income Prescott, Arizona population • In MCS, higher-income families started pre-natal care earlier. But all families had pre-natal care and hospital stay length unaffected by income • On world level, rates of Caesarian sections among high-power-use countries rising

Income (based on Index of Multiple Deprivation) versus week that pre-natal care was started among the British Millennium Cohort study. Higher income populations tend to start pre-natal care earlier. This also correlates with level of ethnicity with lower income populations showing a higher ethnic mix and a tendency to start pre-natal care later. However, virtually the entire population received pre-natal care (98% in England) and the variability among start-dates is low from 11th week to 12th week. By the end of the first trimester, then, every population, on average, has begun pre-natal care.

Increase in Caesarian section (number per 1000 births) from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2010) for so-called developed, mostly Northern countries where access to highly technological allopathic medicine is readily available. For most countries, Caesarian section rates have at least doubled over the last 20 years.

Pre-natal care and birth: Analysis

• Very low-power regions of the world (especially sub-Saharan Africa) have large populations without access to pre-natal or birth care and higher infant mortality rates . • Once a certain income/energy-use level is reached, most women receive pre-natal care and have attended births leading to lower infant mortality rates. • Western allopathic medicine tends towards higher energy use care leading to more pre-natal and birth interventions and higher rates of Caesarian sections • High-paced energy use among allopathic care providers is power-intensive but less fulfilling—it has little spiritual component • Lower power use allopathic care in Ecuador is more fulfilling • Midwife care, and even home births, in high power use Northern countries can break allopathic tendency and provide low-power, spiritually-oriented care

Data from Infancy and Toddlerhood Example: breast-feeding

Anecdotal evidence shows that women in Ecuador have high levels of breastfeeding and do it publicly as part of their normal child-raising routine. Women in the U.S. rarely breast-feed. The few that do breast-feed in private, are part of alternative-lifestyle community In MCS, breast-feeding duration is slightly longer than in U.S. High-income families breast-feed longer, probably because women are at home and breast-feed in private since they are not working On world level, “development” programs promote breast-feeding in “developing” countries, but rates and duration are probably much higher than in North.

Breast-feeding by income class for Ibarra and Prescott government-run pre-school populations. The relatively low-income Ibarra population shows much longer duration of breast-feeding than the relatively high-income Prescott populations.

Breast-feeding by income class for Ibarra government-run pre-school populations showing trend towards less duration of breast-feeding in higher-income urban areas.

Breast-feeding by income class for British Millennium Cohort Study. Very high income families show the longest duration of breast-feeding, probably representing extremely wealthy, educated noble-class women who have time and private spaces for breast-feeding. The rise in duration among low-middle income families (IMD Income Scale 4-5) may be due to high numbers of immigrant families in those groups.

Breast-feeding: Analysis • Low-power use populations, as in Ecuador, have higher levels of breast-feeding and much longer duration, as long as one or two years on average. Breast-feeding is done in public as natural part of daily activities. • Once a certain income/energy-use level is reached, as in U.S., women rarely breast-feed for longer than a few months. • Higher-energy use professional and noble families in U.S. and England may breast-feed for slightly longer. This is probably accomplished by breast-feeding in private, and sometimes using a pump and bottle. • Alternative life-style populations in high-energy use countries, like the U.S. and Europe, come to accept breast-feeding and have longer duration, public breast-feeding practice. • Cultural values are very important if breast-feeding is to be done in an easy and fulfilling way, for the 1-2 year duration that is recommended. • Those cultural values are very dependent on the economic or poweruse situation of the population.

General Conclusions and recommendations

• Although parents, especially in high-power-use Northern countries, believe they take rational decisions about child-raising practice from a full range of possibilities, in fact their income and power-use bracket constrain their choices. • Lower-income, lower power-use families use metabolic-level, spiritual and direct-contact approaches to child-raising. • Many of these spiritual or direct-contact approaches are promoted among Northern countries and high-power-use populations. Examples include low-intervention births and breast-feeding. However, the high-power-use social-cultural system often precludes widespread adoption of these practices. • Some high-power-use populations are able to adopt the Southern child-raising practices, usually by adopting a generally alternative lifestyle, such as permaculture homes and communities where breast-feeding and midwife care is accepted. • Future studies and baseline child data from schools and centers should take into consideration metabolic-level activities so that their effect on child development can be measured.

Thank You! Any Questions?

The Start of A New Human Life  

Maximizing Well-Being in the Trade-Off Between Economic Wealth and Spiritual Richness Esmeralda Guevara Dissertation Defense Presentation M...

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