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More Luxury Hotels Required

SimCity 2008, Scenario: Beijing. Prepare your city for the 2008 Olympics. Raze slums, build luxury hotels, and stadiums. Make the nation, and the world, proud!
posted by SansPoint on Jun 11, 2007 - 38 comments

The Happy Planet Index: a Better Way to Measure Well-Being?

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, here, here, and here. A critique of happiness indices generally here.
posted by shivohum on Jun 3, 2007 - 19 comments

Geldof and Bono discuss progress on G8 pledges

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 - 39 comments

Embarrasment of Riches

Poorism or Poverty Tourism is a growing trend among otherwise thrill-jaded first world tourists and is engendering a lively debate as to whether "poorists" are helping the impoverished areas they are guided through, or are merely gawking voyeurs.
posted by telstar on May 11, 2007 - 47 comments

They say what boys do in these fields makes them fast. Is it a coincidence that there are so many of them in the NFL?

"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 - 17 comments

Excuse me sir, might I have some poridge?

Children for Hire.
posted by hadjiboy on Feb 9, 2007 - 5 comments

Murder

Murders in Baltimore City/Washington D.C., displayed on Google's map of the area: 2005, 2006, 2007.
posted by stammer on Feb 3, 2007 - 38 comments

There There.

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 - 60 comments

Slums

One-billion slum dwellers. An interview with Jockin Arputham who helped set-up Shack/Slum Dwellers International.
posted by tellurian on Dec 14, 2006 - 6 comments

Human Development Report 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 - 18 comments

Tory poverty rethink hits headlines

"The Conservative Party recognises, will measure, and will act on relative poverty". Following a Mail-baiting report from policy adviser Greg Clark MP which recommends that Tory poverty policy should take inspiration from Polly Toynbee instead of Winston Churchill, David Cameron weighs in. Toynbee responds.
posted by teleskiving on Nov 24, 2006 - 13 comments

Neo-Maoism in China

Conditions of the Working Classes in China is an essay that presents a Marxist perspective on the changes taking place in China. The author addresses the tensions between workers and employers, antagonisms between city workers and impoverished migrants from the countryside and the political fights between those who support the moves towards a market economy and those convinced that Mao had it right all along.
posted by jason's_planet on Nov 12, 2006 - 31 comments

to tackle big global challenges in bite-sized pieces

Webcasts from the Clinton Global Initiative conference (all wmv, archived of past 2 days and live tomorrow) --covering energy, healthcare, agriculture, poverty, religious and ethnic conflicts, etc. They're trying to turn "practical ideas into meaningful action". More here, including a cool waterpump/merry-go-round thing.
posted by amberglow on Sep 21, 2006 - 10 comments

Please, sir, may I have some more?

Victorian Workhouses
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 - 14 comments

To live is to remember.

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 - 15 comments

street soccer and we are homeless, homeless

The Homeless World Cup: "Yes, there is a World Cup for homeless people, made possible with help from corporate sponsors such as Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola and Bank of America."
posted by kliuless on Aug 9, 2006 - 8 comments

Inner City Youth, London

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 - 38 comments

Teenage Hoboes in the Great Depression.

Teenage Hoboes in the Great Depression. During the Great Depression over 250,000 young people left home and began riding freight trains or hitchhiking across America. Most of them were between 16 and 25 years of age. Many finally found work and shelter through the Civilian Conservation Corps, a government relief project that Franklin D. Roosevelt established in 1933 as part of the New Deal. From 1933 to 1942, CCC enrollees built new roads, strung telephone wires, erected fire towers, and planted approximately 3 billion trees. By 1935, the program was providing employment for more than 500,000 young men.
posted by matteo on Jul 7, 2006 - 25 comments

Working poverty in Canada

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 - 151 comments

Tories pledge to end child poverty

In an article in the Guardian shadow chancellor Oliver Letwin announces that the Conservative Party has signed up to Labour's target to end child poverty in the UK by 2020. More about this story: Guardian leader, Labour Party response. Last month, the intermediate target of a 25% cut by April 2005 was missed, despite substantial progress. Perhaps the time is now right for this idea to be adopted over the pond?
posted by teleskiving on Apr 12, 2006 - 12 comments

Inequality Matters

AIGA: Inequality Matters
posted by ijoshua on Apr 10, 2006 - 15 comments

Who's Poor?

The Measurement of Poverty
posted by Gyan on Mar 29, 2006 - 6 comments

Ascaris lumbricoides

Ascaris lumbricoides. 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 (Realplayer). 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 - 96 comments

Land of Plenty

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 - 255 comments

My life is good, you old bat!!

I'm the 24,519,565 richest person on earth! According to the Global Rich List, which says I make more than 99.506% of the people alive today. Only 24.5 million people between Bill Gates & myself...
posted by jonson on Oct 21, 2005 - 90 comments

Are americans poor ?

UN Hits Back at US in Report Saying Parts of America are as Poor as Third World Parts of the United States are as poor as the Third World, according to a shocking United Nations report on global inequality.
posted by zouhair on Oct 15, 2005 - 95 comments

Oil Prices, Giffen Goods, and the American Landscape

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 - 165 comments

Restive masses grasp knowledge: outcome ?

Simputer : High tech meets extreme poverty
posted by troutfishing on Sep 29, 2005 - 22 comments

Can We Rebuild It? Yes, We Can!

David Brooks makes an interesting point. Rebuild New Orleans to ensure that the cycle of generational poverty is broken. Does this seem like social engineering? There is a precedent for this, though. Can it--should it?--be done on a citywide scale? Should the government meddle this much in the day-to-day lives of people?
posted by John of Michigan on Sep 13, 2005 - 30 comments

Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.

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 - 35 comments

From the If You Can't Beat 'Em Department

Is the former Republican mayor of New Orleans really blameless? Not by a long shot. From lefty blog Lenin's Tomb, which points to evidence that New Orleans officials "never put plans into place" to evacuate the poorest of the poor. [thanks, Aknaton]
posted by mediareport on Sep 4, 2005 - 70 comments

The real story behind Katarina

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 - 86 comments

7.9 million U.S. families in poverty

Poverty Rate Increases in 2004. The US Census Bureau announced yesterday that the number of Americans living in poverty increased in 2004 by 1.1 million, an increase from 12.5 to 12.7 percent of the population. 2004 also marked the second consecutive year in which real median household income showed no change. Full report here (85 page pdf). Census bureau links page here. President Bush's agenda for tax relief promised "an economics of inclusion. It is the agenda of a government that knows its limits and shows its heart." In the richest country in the world 13 million children under the age of 18 live in poverty. (scroll down to "Age.")
posted by three blind mice on Aug 31, 2005 - 36 comments

The Benefit Bank

The Benefit Bank is a project which uses technology to improve the lives of low income Americans. Through the use of software and trained volunteers the program allows the needy to fill out one application which can be generated to receive assistance from a wide range of public and private resources. During stops in the South this week the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and National Council Of Churches sought volunteers and partners to help expand the program. The program has so far been opened in 48 sites in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Kansas including ACORN Housing, Jewish Employment and Vocational Service, and Germantown Avenue Crisis Ministry.
posted by robliberal on Aug 13, 2005 - 4 comments

Why are the people there poor?

I recently received a letter from a friend of mine in a developing country. An article from a famous local poet was attached, and in this article the poet offered his explanations for the causes of poverty. The poet found, among other things, the people’s own laziness, their lacking industriousness and the indolence and corruption of the ruling politicians all to be at fault for this poverty.
posted by The Jesse Helms on Jun 23, 2005 - 10 comments

3rd world impact of western global warming politics

Western societies seem intent on maintaining standards of living with unsustainable consumption rates. The resultant world ecological debt has caused climate changes that arguably have greatest impact on the world's poorest nations. World Wildlife Fund-UK reviews the prospects for sustainable consumption while a Canadian academic group releases a paper identifying the top 10 areas in nanotechnology that could help reduce 3rd world poverty.[MI] previous
posted by peacay on May 13, 2005 - 49 comments

Class action!

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, NV, IL.)
posted by docgonzo on Apr 27, 2005 - 43 comments

UN - In Larger Freedom

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 - 23 comments

Make Poverty History

MakePovertyHistory. "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 - 18 comments

And the food had to be satisfying and taste good too, otherwise, what's the point?

The Challenge: Purchase, prepare and eat healthy, mostly organic meals on a food stamp budget. These are the results.
posted by anastasiav on Jan 4, 2005 - 65 comments

men in power + women in need = bad

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 - 61 comments

Guaranteeing a Right to a Job at a Living Wage

Our nation so richly endowed with natural resources and with a capable and industrial population, should be able to devise ways and means of insuring to all our able-bodied working men and women a fair day's pay for a fair day's work . - Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937

Chapter 1 [PDF] of Ending Poverty as We Know It - Guaranteeing a Right to a Job at a Living Wage. Here is a Q&A with William Quigley, its author.
posted by y2karl on Dec 2, 2004 - 29 comments

Peace, not gays most important

Liberal Christian groups start a poll war challenging the evangelicals claim to the Christian vote publishing findings that the war and poverty were more important moral issues voters than Iraq. Other views at The Washington Post (subscription required), and The Catholic News
posted by KirkJobSluder on Nov 11, 2004 - 18 comments

Roots of Terrorism

Poverty, Political Freedom and the Roots of Terrorism [pdf]. "In the past, we heard people refer to the strong link between terrorism and poverty, but in fact when you look at the data, it's not there," says Alberto Abadie, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
posted by gyc on Nov 9, 2004 - 8 comments

Less than one percent

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 piece.)
posted by adamgreenfield on Nov 7, 2004 - 9 comments

woe is we

Bush's latest accomplishment may not be one that he's willing to brag about. The Census Bureau is reporting that an additional 1.3 million Americans are now living in poverty. They also offer a number of pretty graphs (all in pdf).
posted by bshort on Aug 26, 2004 - 113 comments

The death of Zheng Qingming

"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 - 11 comments

Rural Appalachia still needs a

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 - 34 comments

Indian slum-dwellers given voice

Indian slum-dwellers given voice Their pride is unmistakably justified - a team drawn from the ghettos is successfully running India's first news magazine about slum-dwellers.
posted by Postroad on Jul 12, 2004 - 4 comments

By Their Bootstraps

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 - 44 comments

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