The Happy Planet Index
presents an alternative to GDP for measuring standard of living. It ranks countries by measuring life expectancy and self-reported life satisfaction against an "ecological footprint" needed to support that country's lifestyle. The press release
claims that well-being is not based on high levels of consumption, but many don't agree
. Full report in PDF here
. Vanuatu tops the charts, while Zimbabwe and Swaziland lie at bottom. Critiques here
, and here
. A critique of happiness indices generally here.
posted by shivohum
on Jun 3, 2007 -
Where's the money?
[YouTube] In a short interview with the BBC, Bob Geldof and Bono discuss ongoing efforts to get G8 members to fulfil commitments made at the Gleneagles summit, their own credibility or lack of, and whether or not the current focus on climate change is taking attention away from the situation in Africa. This Guardian article
has more details.
posted by teleskiving
on May 16, 2007 -
"I'm not from here, so when I was told that what these boys do in the fields makes 'em fast, I didn't believe it." Welcome to Muck City
posted by kyleg
on Apr 16, 2007 -
A memorial to the many dead.
Here in Oakland, California
, the murder rate has gone out of control.
The incoming mayor
has not articulated any clear plan for reducing violence. And the current one, having only seen violence increase here, is going on to become the state Attorney General
Amid the challenges Oaklanders face - gentrification
, a lack of meaningful work opportunities
, and a history of a devistating drug trade
, there are some efforts to make change: here
, here, here
, and here
posted by serazin
on Dec 19, 2006 -
Clean water is a right:
"The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) published its annual report on human development
. It denounces the world's complacent disregard for such unglamorous subjects as standpipes, latrines and the 1.8m children who die each year from diarrhoea because the authorities cannot keep their drinking water separate from their faeces. The study
is both coldly analytical and angry..."
posted by kliuless
on Nov 24, 2006 -
I sometimes look up at the bit of blue sky
High over my head, with a tear in my eye.
Surrounded by walls that are too high to climb,
Confined like a felon without any crime...
posted by Miko
on Sep 18, 2006 -
Ilha Das Flores video
"A tomato is planted, harvested and sold at a supermarket, but it rots and ends up in the trash. The end?
No. ISLAND OF FLOWERS follows it up until its real end, among animals, trash, women and children. And then the difference between tomatoes, pigs and human beings becomes clear."
A remarkable and devastating 12 minute film from director Jorge Furtado
posted by maryh
on Aug 18, 2006 -
Inner City Youth, London
"In 2002, Simon Wheatley
began photographing London's publich housing developments...and was able to obtain a level of intimacy with his subjects that provides a true picture of the daunting project of growing up in the intimate confines of drug use, societal neglect, and poverty."
This (Flash-based) narrated slideshow features Wheatley's work, and is a look at the culture...and also the music (grime
) "as an artistic response to the place and circumstance, an expression of the violence, bleakness, and neglect..." (via Future Feeder
posted by tpl1212
on Jul 20, 2006 -
Maid for a Month
. On February 1, Ontario raised its minimum wage from $7.45 to $7.75 per hour. Well-known Toronto Globe and Mail
writer Jan Wong: "I thought the best way to tell the story of that 30-cent raise was to work — and live — at the bottom of the food chain. I would find a low-paying job, a low-rent apartment and, single-mom-like, take my boys
with me for the month and see how we survived."
posted by russilwvong
on May 1, 2006 -
According to estimates, about 1.5 billion people--about a quarter of the earth's population--are hosts to the Ascaris lumbricoides
parasitic worm. Ascaris worms can grow to be 18 inches in length, and use their host's windpipe and esophagus to migrate between the small intestine and the lungs. A single human host may support dozen of large worms, which can be contracted by contact with fecal matter, animals, or undercooked pork. Under some circumstances (the worms dislike anesthesia, for example) one or more worms may exit from the mouth (a horrifying image
), or the anus (one of the most disgusting images I have ever seen
, and not safe for work, obviously). Here, the removal of a worm is caught on video
Too disgusting to post? Almost. But 1.5 billion people have got these in their bodies right now. That's what's grosser than gross.
posted by washburn
on Mar 4, 2006 -
37 million poor hidden in the land of plenty
Americans have always believed that hard work will bring rewards, but vast numbers now cannot meet their bills even with two or three jobs. More than one in 10 citizens live below the poverty line, and the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening. Are you proud to be an American? (newsfilter - no apologies).
posted by adamvasco
on Feb 19, 2006 -
Running on Fumes
-- a fascinating essay by the Nation's
Sasha Abramsky on what rising gas prices will do to poor exurban communities.
posted by digaman
on Oct 4, 2005 -
Being Poor ...
what it actually entails. More from Body and Soul
, and from Making Light
, and from here's a whosit
And this article,
in which ...they were trying to rescue people with a helicopter and the people were so poor they were afraid it would cost too much to get a ride and they had no money for a "ticket." Dupree was shaken telling us the story. He just couldn't believe these people were afraid they'd be charged for a rescue. ...
posted by amberglow
on Sep 11, 2005 -
The real disaster in New Orleans.
David Aaronovitch of the London Times observes, "It isn’t the failure to act in New Orleans that is the story here, it’s the sheer, uninsured, uncared for, self-disenfranchised scale of the poverty that lies revealed. It looks like a scene from the Third World because that’s the truth. It’s a quiet disaster that ’s been going on for years." The truth is
the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans has a poverty level of 36.4 percent. A quarter of households have an annual income of less than $10,000, while half live on less than $20,000. Over half of the population in the ward is categorized as “not in the labor force,” mainly because they have ceased looking for work. The truth is that even on a normal day, New Orleans is a sad city.
"Sure, tourists think New Orleans is fun: you can drink and hop from strip club to strip club all night on Bourbon Street, and gamble all your money away at Harrah’s. But the city’s decline over the past three decades has left it impoverished and lacking the resources to build its economy from within. New Orleans can’t take care of itself even when it is not 80 percent underwater." The National Review is already blaming it
- predictably - on the breakdown of the family. Conservatives in America are already dismissing the problem, as they have for years. But to those outside the United States, the scale of poverty in the world's richest country comes as a shock.
posted by three blind mice
on Sep 4, 2005 -
Who here hasn't been a bit short before payday?
Jacob Ayrton of Calgary took out a payday loan of $500. Two weeks later he owed Payroll Loan Canada $606.32
(a $95 "brokerage fee" and 59% interest for a whopping 15,000% per annum charge.) Yesterday, an Alberta judge certified a class-action suit against so-called payday lenders with Mr. Ayrton as lead complainant. "These companies really exploit people who are vulnerable," said
his lawyer. A fast-growing franchise opportunity for investors, payday loan operations are facing increased scrutiny in Canada
and the U.S. (NC
posted by docgonzo
on Apr 27, 2005 -
Kofi Annan has issued his recommendations
for tackling poverty and promoting security and human rights, incorporating the greatest alterations to the UN and Security Council in history.
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Mar 21, 2005 -
"The gap between the worlds’s rich and poor has never been wider. Malnutrition, AIDS, conflict and illiteracy are a daily reality for millions."
This seems like an interesting endeavour, with people like Nelson Mandela involved, as well. I'm a bit of a cynic about this because one of the biggest endorsements has come from Gordon Brown
. He's a known quantity
, and I wonder if this is another P.R. run to bolster his international credentials.
Oh, and there's a possibility it could be blocked
before it gathers enough steam -- so much for Soft Power
posted by gsb
on Jan 31, 2005 -
Meet the Landlord.
Mr. Bobby Veal, a class act guy, decides to harass and rape mothers living alone on Section 8. Oh, but it gets better, when they refused sex and began to complain, he'd evict them, change the locks and keep their furniture inside. Even after an eventual trial and conviction, what are the women doing now? Living in cars, furniture stolen by Mr. Veal and waiting for the court settlement that many believe will never come. Poverty ain't pretty.
posted by geoff.
on Dec 3, 2004 -
Driven, immodest, intense and abrasive, Jeffrey Sachs is clearly a man on a mission
. That mission is ending global poverty in our lifetimes.
Can the man who once administered "shock therapy" to a reeling Russia, with tragic if predictable results, redeem himself? And even if the developed world somehow comes to a consensus that this is a project worth undertaking, would it work? (Apologies for yet another NYT
posted by adamgreenfield
on Nov 7, 2004 -
"All he has left now
to remember the grandson he once carried on his back is a stack of workbooks -- trigonometry, politics, history. Mr. Zheng does not recognize enough Chinese characters to read them. But he keeps the books as memorials." The best human interest story of the year, and a look into the lives of China's rural poor.
posted by Tlogmer
on Aug 1, 2004 -
Backyard Third World
John F. Kennedy saw it and pronounced it a shame on our nation. Lyndon B. Johnson tried to change it. The "compassionate conservatives" have exacerbated it. I wanted to share it with you. Isn't it time for real change? Hasn't the exploitation of this place and these people gone on long enough?
posted by nofundy
on Jul 26, 2004 -
Consider the scorecard. During Clinton's two terms, the median income for American families increased by a solid 15% after inflation, according to Census Bureau figures. But it rose even faster for African Americans (33%) and Hispanics (24%) than it did for whites (14%). The growth was so widely shared that from 1993 through 1999, families in the bottom fifth of the income distribution saw their incomes increase faster than those in the top 5%. By comparison, under President Reagan in the 1980s, those in the top 5% increased their income more than five times faster than the bottom 20%. Likewise, the poverty rate under Clinton fell 25%, the biggest eight-year decline since the 1960s. It fell even faster for particularly vulnerable groups like blacks, Hispanics and children. Again the contrast with Reagan is striking. During Reagan's two terms, the number of Americans in poverty fell by just 77,000. During Clinton's two terms, the number of Americans in poverty plummeted by 8.1 million. The number of children in poverty fell by 50,000 under Reagan. Under Clinton the number was 4.1 million. That's a ratio of 80 to 1.
Clinton's Biggest Gains Not on Conservative Critics' Radar
posted by y2karl
on Jun 29, 2004 -