Journalist Chris Hedges and Illustrator Joe Sacco have co-authored
Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt
about life in the ‘sacrifice zones’ in the American Dream.
Camden, New Jersey
The poor have to help the poor, because the ones who make the money are helping the people with money.
And from West Virginia: The Story of Rudy the Miner
, with text
(Mountain coal rape previously 1; 2
After an inquisitive prison inmate challenged his notions of poverty and its solutions, Earl Shorris embarked on a project to share the humanities with poor students in New York City. In this article
for Harper's Magazine, he remembers his struggles and triumphs with funding, material, and the students. As income inequality in the US continues to rise, other well known figures have different ideas
. Shorris died recently this year, and obituaries appeared in The New York Times
, The Daily News
and The Nation
. A full archive of his articles for Harper's can be found here
“Sexual orientation does make you poor,” says Manohar Elavarthi, a community organizer with Sangama in Bangalore. “Poverty is not just economic – you miss access to so many things: ration cards, inheritance rights, voter ID cards.” In several South Asian countries, there are reports that LGBT people have even been denied access to disaster relief. And homophobia is intricately connected with other divisions in South Asian societies, particularly around gender but also religion and caste.
Yet I saw many signs of hope and change in both India and Nepal. Those transgender sex workers in Chennai have organized a coalition, called V-CAN, of every single community-based organization in the state of Tamil Nadu that serves homosexual or transgender people. Working with the NGO Praxis, they have been able to gain access to some public benefits, such as pensions and registering as “third gender” on government ID cards. Activists in Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society have achieved similar results and more.
~ World Bank blog post
How Corporations and Local Governments Use the Poor As Piggy Banks
. Barbara Ehrenreich (previously
) talks about how the cycle of poverty is perpetuated by wage theft, municipal/criminal fines, and debtors prisons.
"Sixteen years ago, Patricia (P.J.) Johnston of Des Moines made the front page of this paper for collecting her diploma from Drake University at just 19. “I think I’m probably meant to be an academic,” Johnston was quoted as saying. And she has been, getting a master’s in one institution, going to seminary at another, doing field research in India in her area of interest — Indian Catholicism — and currently working toward a Ph.D in religious studies at the University of Iowa....As it is, she sleeps on her office floor on the days she has to be in Iowa City, riding the Greyhound bus in from Des Moines."
Not content with displacing the poor
, menacing photographers
and blocking ambulances
the london olympics now wants ground-to-air missiles
, presumably to shoot down rogue skywriters who might misuse it's brand
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced the second round of its Reinvent the Toilet Challenge
, designed to prototype a means of dealing effectively and cost-efficiently
with human waste
for the 2 billion people on earth who currently lack access to safe and affordable sanitation
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal
has signed legislation
that would require thousands of people applying for welfare to pass a drug test before they could receive benefits. [more inside]
Welcome to the world of Britain's working poor.
The Rowleys belong to a section of society not much mentioned in ministerial and media dispatches. They are neither the very wealthy affected by the 50p tax nor the "squeezed middle" expressing anxiety about child benefit and this week's budget; nor are the Rowleys representative of the long-term unemployed or one of the 120,000 "troubled families" in which the government is investing £448m over the next three years. [more inside]
"As far back as the 1800s,
single mothers were receiving benefits. At that time, they would be paid up front and in cash, but were they better off than today?"
] [Spoiler Inside] [more inside]
Marriage is a luxury good [NYT] After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage. [more inside]
Life Without Lights
Energy Poverty Photography.
and comedian A Wolfe
writes a compelling piece
on education, poverty, and shame.
. Drag superstar RuPaul (whose reality show "RuPaul's Drag Race
" returns later this month) has enjoyed piles of free publicity thanks to name association with presidential canditate Ron Paul
(NY Times). [more inside]
Zaire Paige had a breakout role in Antoine Fuqua's movie, Brooklyn's Finest. He was seen as a rising star. But, it all went away when he murdered a gang rival and was sentenced to 107 years in prison. [more inside]
Article suggests that we need to reassess our assumptions about the relationship between poverty and race.
Following the article published in Forbes magazine dealing with poor black kids, this article brings up the question about poor whites and how invisible they have become.
Why are Indian Reservations So Poor?
Forbes writer John Koppisch says it's because of a lack of individual property rights. In a detailed response
, the executive director of non-profit organization Village Earth says: "I find it ironic how academics and journalists try to come up with new theories to explain poverty on reservations but fail to take into account the obvious. The government owes Native Americans at least 45 Billion dollars yet, in the settlement offered by the Obama administration, they are being compensated for less that .06% of that." [more inside]
"Imagine if you had never been homeless before and you'd just lost your job and you lost your home. What would you do? Would you immediately go begging or knocking on a door? No, you would downsize, move into cheaper accommodations, if that did not work you'd move in with friends or relatives and then you'd move into a cheap motel and then ... where would you want to go before winding up at a shelter door? You would much prefer to live at a park with your family and your dog." ... "In just about every major city, there are tent cities. Unfortunately, we're in a growth industry and the numbers are going to continue."
-- Michael Stoop, a community organizer for the National Coalition for the Homeless
, explaining that the surge
in American tent city shantytowns, first highlighted on MeFi in 2008/09: 1
, has not slowed. The Great Recession: Life in Tent City, Lakewood NJ
/ Photo Gallery
. [more inside]
About one tenth
of China's farmland is polluted
with heavy metals, with whole villages
being poisoned. All too frequently, local governments have reacted by ignoring the problems and
even denying treatment
Vancouver aims to "end homelessness by 2015".
Officials have been working over the years to reduce the city’s homelessness, and in July passed an ambitious plan that targets eliminating street homelessness by 2015 and creating nearly 40,000 new units of social, rental, and condo housing by 2021.
The plan is aimed at building multiple types of housing to address shortages, but the first three years focus mainly on supportive and social housing. It calls for 3,650 units of such housing, 1,700 of which are already funded and in either the planning or construction phase. According to city councilor Kerry Jang, the need for this type of supportive housing has skyrocketed in recent years.
The Millennium Villages
, launched in association with the Millennium Development Goals
) adopted by the UN
in 2000, recently received a grant of $72 million to continue its work. In a post on the always interesting Guardian Poverty Matters blog
, a group of poverty researchers has recently summarized their findings
that the project did not plan for a rigorous evaluation, and thus we will not know if they worked. Jeff Sachs, the scholar most strongly associated with the MDVs, disagrees
. The blog Development Impact
(which, in fairness, is basically all about
randomized controlled trials in development) weighs in here
SCC approves safe injection sites.
The Supreme Court of Canada today ordered the federal government to stop its efforts to shut down a safe injection clinic in Vancouver, opening the door to more clinics opening across the country. [more inside]
is a $10/month internet plan available to any family with one child eligible for free lunches at American public schools. [more inside]
U.S. Poverty Rate, 1 in 6, at Highest Level in Years (NYT) -
An additional 2.6 million people slipped below
the poverty line in 2010, census officials said, making 46.2 million people in poverty in the United States
, the highest number in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been tracking it, said Trudi Renwick, chief of the Poverty Statistic Branch
. That represented
15.1 percent of the country. The poverty line in 2010 was at $22,113 for a family of four
Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?
"The very act of making decisions depletes our ability to make them well. So how do we navigate a world of endless choice?"
, author of the the 2001 bestseller "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America"
, releases a new afterward for the tenth anniversary edition of the book, focusing on what has changed in the last 10 years. The conclusion: Poverty has since turned into an American crime. [more inside]
On the trail of George Orwell’s outcasts.
'Some 80 years after George Orwell
chronicled the lives of the hard-up and destitute in his book Down and Out in Paris and London
, what has changed?' [more inside]
MIT students created water bottle light bulbs
that diffract natural sunlight and provide the equivalent of a 55 watt light bulb out of an empty plastic bottle, water, and a few drops of bleach. They are being installed and used in shanty towns where no natural light gets into the makeshift tin roof homes.
Everyone knows that correlation doesn't imply causation
, but researchers invariably need to come up with plausible explanations (i.e., models) for the patterns found in their data. However, very different models can "explain" the same pattern. The books The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
and Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places
by Oxford economist Paul Collier
try to explain why some countries have remained poor using data from econometric studies. In his very interesting review
(PDF), Mike McGovern
, a political anthropologist at Yale, critiques the types of explanations found in popular economics books. Statistician Andrew Gelman has further thoughts on descriptive statistics, causal inference, and story time
The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year
(or, What Happens When You Give Poor People Health Insurance?) "We find that in this first year, the treatment group had substantively and statistically significantly higher health care utilization (including primary and preventive care as well as hospitalizations), lower out-of-pocket medical expenditures and medical debt (including fewer bills sent to collection), and better self-reported physical and mental health than the control group." [more inside]
The World Top Incomes Database
(click on "Graphics" and select countries, years and other variables) (via
Psychologists are now theorizing that humans have a depletable reservoir of self-control, and that this is why poor people remain poor
Street interviews with Buffalo's freelance bottle collectors
– the people who wander through the city to recycle our empties. [more inside]
In 2009, Ctrl.Alt.Shift
, the "youth initiative
of Christian Aid," held a national competition in the UK for aspiring filmmakers aged 18 to 25. Their mission: create a short film treatment based around three key issues: "War + Peace," "Gender + Power" and "HIV + Stigma." The results were then screened to an audience at the 2009 Raindance Film Festival. The films: 1000 Voices
, HIV: The Musical
, Man Made
, No Way Through
and War School
. (All YouTube links. Vimeo links and descriptions of each film are inside this post.) These films deal with adult subject matter and may be disturbing for some viewers. Some may also be nsfw. [more inside]
One percent of Americans now "earn" 25% of the income.
Many of them have grown their wealth through criminal exploitation. Roger Ebert asks the burning question: why aren't more people outraged?
Down and out in Toronto and New York: Freelance film critic Steven Boone
recounts his experiences with the soup kitchens of Toronto and New York in First rate, second rate: In and out of the soup kitchens of Toronto and New York