"A sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, Edin is one of the nation's preeminent poverty researchers. She has spent much of the past several decades studying some of the country's most dangerous, impoverished neighborhoods. But unlike academics who draw conclusions about poverty from the ivory tower, Edin has gotten up close and personal
with the people she studies—and in the process has shattered many myths about the poor, rocking sociology and public-policy circles. [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna
on Apr 10, 2014 -
Increasing the accessibility
of cultural capital
: "In New York, a place whose cultural institutions attract people from around the world, there are residents who not only have never visited those institutions but also some who have never even been uptown."
posted by gemutlichkeit
on Apr 6, 2014 -
"If you want to be cosmopolitan, you’ll buy star anise, kimchi, and coconut oil. If you want to prevent cancer, buy collard greens, blueberries, and omega-3 eggs. If you want to eat food free of pesticides and high fructose corn syrup, buy organic meat, flour, and dairy. Compound all of these seemingly innocuous exercises in American Dreaming with diet fads like “clean” eating, Westernized veganism, or the paleo diet, and you’ll get a supermarket full of people staring at labels, searching the copy for proof of ideological and medical purity. I need to buy this if I want to be good, if I really want to take care of myself and my family. As it turns out, this moralistic way of framing choice is extremely profitable for food processors, restaurants, and produce retailers: we’ve been effectively held captive by our own consciences
posted by Kitteh
on Mar 13, 2014 -
The number of homeless New Yorkers in shelters has risen by more than 69 percent since 2002, when Mayor Bloomberg took office. Each night as many as 60,000
people -- including more than 22,000 children, the highest number since the Great Depression, -- experience homelessness in NYC, and during the course of each year, more than 111,000 different homeless New Yorkers, including more than 40,000 children, will sleep in the city's municipal shelter system. Meet Dasani, one of the city's 'invisible children.' [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Dec 9, 2013 -
San Francisco Magazine visits the Tenderloin
: "Barring a seismic shift in city politics, the TL is not going to gentrify the way that similar neighborhoods have in other cities. Not next year. Not in five years. Maybe never. For better or worse, it will likely remain a sanctuary for the poor, the vulnerable, and the damaged—and the violence and disorder that inevitably comes with them. The thousands of working people, seniors, and families, including many Southeast Asians, who make up a silent two-thirds majority of the Tenderloin’s 30,000 residents will remain there. And so will the thousands of not-so-silent mentally ill people, addicts, drunks, and ex-cons who share the streets with them—as well as the predators who come in from the outside to exploit them. The Tenderloin will remain the great anomaly of neighborhoods: a source of stubborn pride for San Francisco, or an acute embarrassment—or both."
posted by porn in the woods
on Oct 24, 2013 -
Why is Zambia so poor?
"I’m not going to tell Zambia how to run itself, what it needs to fix and in what order. The explanations I heard, they aren’t the whole puzzle, they aren’t even the biggest pieces. The only thing I’m able to conclude after my trip here is that it’s incredibly difficult for a poor country to go about getting un-poor. Just when you think you’ve got the right narrative, another one comes bursting out of the footnotes. It’s the informality. No, it’s the taxes. No, it’s the mining companies. No, it’s the regulators.
And that’s what makes fixing it so difficult."
This landlocked country in Sub-Saharan Africa isn’t a failed state in the traditional sense: There’s no dictator, no child soldiers. But most of its 14 million people live on less than $1 per day. How did things get this way, and can they ever get better?
posted by Guernsey Halleck
on Sep 13, 2013 -
Most people, including social scientists, think about poverty in one of two ways. Either they view the behaviors of the poor as rational, "calculated adaptations to prevailing circumstances", or as the result of deviant values and character flaws stemming from, and perpetuating, a "culture of poverty".
A third view is emerging in which "the poor may exhibit the same basic weaknesses and biases as do people from other walks of life, except that in poverty, with its narrow margins for error, the same behaviors often manifest themselves in more pronounced ways and can lead to worse outcomes."
"It's not that foolish choices make you poor; it's that poverty's effects on the mind
lead to bad choices." (original research, pdf
) [more inside]
posted by AceRock
on Aug 30, 2013 -
Over the last year and a half, I have been visiting São Paulo and, especially, Rio de Janeiro, observing the process of “pacification,” by which the government attempts to peacefully enter and reestablish state control over the most violent enclaves of the city, those dominated by drug gangs called traficantes, or by syndicates of corrupt police called militias. Until 2008, when the pacification program started, the traficantes controlled roughly half of the favelas, and the militias the other half. Both still hold power in most favelas. The ultimate aim of the state government of Rio’s plan, called the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP), or Police Pacification Unit, is to drive both of these groups out and replace them by the state. (SLNYRB)
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Aug 29, 2013 -
"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment. The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Walmarts to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."
-- War is Betrayal. Persistent Myths of Combat
, an essay by Chris Hedges
of Truthdig. Responses within. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 9, 2013 -
Payday lenders target the working poor with quick loans at exorbitant interest rates. When a ballot initiative drive in Missouri threatened this lucrative business, the payday lenders fought back with everything they had
--their money. A ProPublica report
, published yesterday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch documents the web of secret donations and intimidation that smothered the reform movement.
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Aug 3, 2013 -
There have been days,
since her son Ezekiel was born 11 months ago, that Los Angeles mom Beth Capper has gone without food to keep up her supply. One friend was arrested for stealing some. It's not drugs or alcohol or even baby formula that has put her in such a bind. It's diapers.
posted by the young rope-rider
on Jul 30, 2013 -
In 2009, ESPN producer Lisa Fenn worked on a story about two high-school wrestlers, Leroy Sutton and Dartanyon Crockett. Sutton was hit by a train when he was a child and had both his legs amputated; Crockett is legally blind. After the story aired, Fenn stayed in Sutton and Crockett's lives, and the three formed a surprising, enduring bond. [more inside]
posted by Charity Garfein
on Jul 9, 2013 -
A 5-year-old girl saw the dust trail of the bus and pedaled toward it on a red tricycle. Three teenage boys came barefoot in swimsuits. A young mother walked over from her trailer with an infant daughter in one arm and a lit cigarette in the other. “Any chance there will be leftover food for adults?” she asked. It was almost 1 p.m. For some, this would be the first meal of the day. For others, the last.
In rural Tennessee, a new way to help hungry children: A bus turned bread truck
Don't look at the comments. Do look at the photos.
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Jul 7, 2013 -
"The story of American families facing food insecurity is as frustrating as it is heartbreaking, because the truth is as avoidable as it is tragic. Here in the richest country on earth, 50 million of us — one in six Americans — go hungry. More than a third of them are children. And yet Congress can’t pass a Farm Bill because our representatives continue to fight over how many billions to slash from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. The debate is filled with tired clichés about freeloaders undeserving of government help, living large at the expense of honest, hardworking taxpayers." Bill Moyers spends an hour
with two of the creators of the documentary "A Place at the Table
." [more inside]
posted by jbickers
on Jul 3, 2013 -
have a long and sordid history, initially constructed as a shanty town by soldiers who had nowhere to live. Then the poor people from rural areas moved to the cities for job opportunities, expanding the favelas. Today, there are over 500 favelas, with about a third of Rio de Janeiro's population, and they're growing
. The three primary drug gangs that fight for control in the favelas formed in the 1970s
(PDF), but they were formed not solely by fighters, but also political radicals
, and these gangs provide some social services where the government does not. That is, until the Pacifying Police Units were formed in 2008
, with the goal of pushing the gangs out and providing government stability from a live-in police force. But this isn't just to an effort to end the gang violence -- the slums are being swept ahead of the tourist rush
, and the shanty towns are now seeing a rapid gentrification from non-Brazilians and speculators
posted by filthy light thief
on Jun 6, 2013 -
"Recent statistics from the Office for National Statistics suggest residents of this city have the lowest household disposable income of anywhere in the UK.
The average income per individual householder after tax, but including benefits, is £16,034 a year. In Nottingham it is £10,834.
That may be only one measure of poverty, but at a time when there has been a sustained assault on living standards for everyone it is surely a difficult extreme. "
posted by marienbad
on May 31, 2013 -
During the decade 2000-10 in the USA, for the first time the number of poor people in major metropolitan suburbs surpassed the number in cities. Between 2000 and 2011, the poor population in suburbs grew by 64% — more than twice the rate of growth in cities (29%). By 2011, almost 16.4 million residents in suburbia lived below the poverty line, outstripping the poor population in cities by almost 3 million people.
These are some of the grim findings of ‘Confronting Suburban Poverty in America’, a report by the Brookings Institution, and the implications of this report and its contents are that much more significant for Brookings is conservative in its outlook and advocacy. via
posted by infini
on May 29, 2013 -
The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, an outgrowth of Oregon's 2008 lottery to allocate Medicaid slots to eligible residents, has released their second year of results
(Previous discussions on the lottery
and the experiment
). The gist of the results are that they found statisitically significant reductions in catastrophic health care expenditures, improvements in the incidences of depression, and increased use of health care services. They found minimal (and not statistically significant) improvements in the rates of physical health indicators (diabetes and hypertension) they tracked. Because of ethical concerns, there are no other randomized controlled tests on this scale that study the effects of Medicaid and few on the effects of health insurance in general (the only significant one being a RAND study released 30 years ago
). Because of the small amount of information available on the topic and the impending Medicaid expansion offered by Affordable Care Act, this study has drawn a lot of attention from political commentators. This will presumably be the last year these results will be published, as the state of Oregon was able to find extra money in 2010
in order cover the rest of its Medicaid-eligible population. [more inside]
posted by Weebot
on May 3, 2013 -
On Monday, the British Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith
, made a rather rash claim on BBC Radio 4. Hijinks ensue
. 'Duncan Smith came under pressure after he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday that he could live on £53 ($81/week) after he was asked about a market trader, David Bennett, who claimed that he had to live on that amount after his housing benefit was cut. "If I had to, I would," Duncan Smith replied." ' from The Guardian
. Since then a petition
has started challenging him to try it. Petition has gathered 440,133 signatures in 5 days. Original report
. There is a secondary petition
going: this one is guaranteed to be debated in Parliament if it gets 100,000 signatures. [more inside]
posted by glasseyes
on Apr 5, 2013 -