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I am confused with the phrase “around the world and in the U.S.” such as in:

Around the world and in the U.S., growing gaps between rich and poor in recent decades have forced millions of young children out of school and into work.
Source: continuetolearn.uiowa.edu, Child Labor Public Education Project, About Child Labor > What is Child Labor?

I think the geographic area of “around the world” covers that of “in the U.S.”

Could someone tell me how to understand this phrase?

  • For some, it seems "U.S." and "world" are synonyms, for others there seems to be no overlap. I guess the author wanted to cover all possibilities. But yes, the wording is a bit awkward. – oerkelens Nov 5 '14 at 16:17
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    The wording is fine, it makes perfect sense, and the distinction between US trends and global trends is significant. – Carl Smith Nov 5 '14 at 16:50
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It’s a bit of an awkward phrasing, to be sure. The site appears to be aimed at a US audience, so I’d guess the author is speaking in terms of relating domestic and international phenomena.

On the homepage, we see the following:

The Child Labor Public Education Project of the University of Iowa Labor Center and Center for Human Rights provides educational workshops and materials on a range of issues regarding child labor in the U.S. and other countries.
Source: continuetolearn.uiowa.edu, Child Labor Public Education Project, homepage

This time the list items don’t overlap, but a similar question could be asked: “Why not just say ‘around the world’?”

That phrase is in fact chosen elsewhere in the materials, but it looks like the project of the site is to speak primarily to an audience in the US and specifically counter their likely presumption that child labor doesn’t occur in their own country.

I think the key to this is interpreting it as one person in the US speaking to another, in which case the words “around the world” would mean everywhere else. In that sense, it’s being used like “internationally” here, which likewise could be set up in contrast to “domestically” or used to refer to all nations including that of the speaker and/or audience.

  • -1 You've jumped to assumptions that don't follow. The distinction between what's happening around the world, and what's happening in the US is valid, as they are not always the same, despite the US being part of the world. – Carl Smith Nov 5 '14 at 16:48
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Just because something is growing around the world, doesn't mean it's growing in the US specifically, so the author is pointing out that it is growing both around the world generally, and in the US specifically.

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