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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
 
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On poverty

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/id...rty/?page=full

The guy certainly seems to make some valid points, but I disagree with his conclusions. I think the solution would be more along the lines of teaching people about wealth creation (as oppose to just teaching people to be consumers) starting from very early age (elementary school), and hammering that point in during the entire education process, and even then we would have to wait a generation to see the effects.
Having gone from dirt poor to middle class, there definetly seems a breakover point in which my attitude about money changed. Furthermore, it seems that at least in young people, poverty seems to be the result of consistent poor choices. How many people do you know that get a break from whatever source (a large payment from say the insurance company) and immidiatly blow it on crap rather then use it for permanent improvement. I think they are trying to momentary escape the stress of thinking about lack of money.

Thoughts?



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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 05:21 AM
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I think that expecting these government schools to teach people to create wealth and become independend defeats the underlying purpose of the schools, thus it will never happen.

Poverty exists in this country not because of economic conditions but because of the actions of people. Or more appropriately, the lack thereof. If people can come from half a world away, overcome the language/cultural barrier and become business owners in just a few years, why can't our own citizens do it? It's because they already have the mindset of poverty. I think this is one of the few countries on earth where the economy/government is not the primary cause of poverty. There is no incentive for people to work if they can sit on the couch all day and get funding from the government.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 05:52 AM
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If I think of it from a common issue angle, as is presented by the blogger, then I can understand it. For instance, if I have a mountain of work, am I not discouraged from getting started? Psychologically that's true for very many people. The question to me, of all these parallels, is whether those are correct delineations.

Perhaps more in line with the ideas is a look at how people search for new jobs. People typically join the unemployment service rolls as they have lost a job and begin looking. Paradoxically, during recessions the unemployment number often goes down, simply because people get discouraged and stop looking altogether, which in turn drops them from the unemployment records. To me this lends some credence to this philosopher's idea.

At this point, it would be most interesting for them to simply engage a study to determine the validity. Perhaps they could pull a random 100 households out of poverty with no-strings-attached money and review the results over an appropriate period. After all, its clear the current and past systems haven't work very well.

From my own expectations, people will always exist at or below the poverty level because there are limited jobs and resources available. I guess I liken it to stopping all crime from occurring. It just doesn't seem like a real possibility to stop it all, but trying to minimize it is a worthy goal.

EDIT: Nice find Vash.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 06:11 AM
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Having been in the retail grocery business for 11 years, I have seen many of the lower class people in society, and I think that has caused me to lose sympathy for them for several reasons.
First of all, when you are exploiting a system that is funded by my tax dollars, and showing no responsibility whatsoever, I do not feel sorry for you. I think food stamps were a great idea, because it prohibits people from buying alcohol, tobacco and non-food items. However, it doesn't make much sense that you can buy Pepsi, Doritos, and 2 tons of candy; but not a bar of soap or toothpaste.
Also, I have seen many people who are driving cadillacs, wearing all kinds of jewelry, and talking on their i-phone pay with food stamps. No job, but they are probably living better than me.
There's so much more that pisses me off, but now that I think about it I don't even feel like typing it out. I think you get my point though. I'm an insensitive bastard I guess.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 06:54 AM Thread Starter
 
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Its true that poverty cannot be completely eliminated. However there are relativly few people whom belong to that category. In my expirience, those are the mentally handicapped, and the elderly (if you are broke when you reach your 60's, there isnt much opportunity anymore). Perhaps some single mothers belong to that category as well, However I think we can all agree that there are a great many people in the ranks of poverty who can get out of it, but dont. So by definition, "its their own damn fault" as a friend of mine likes to put it.
But I am not looking at this from the point of view of sympathy. Its not that I feel sorry for those people, I dont. Its that I think society as a whole would be better off if they were productive members of the middle class, and by extention I would be better off as well if there were fewer poor people around. Yeah, I'm selfish like that.
When you are in the poverty ranks, the idea of wealth creation seems downright alien. You take no steps towards it, because it is not a path that is "allowed" to you. Few try, the concern is just "getting by", which becomes a self fullfilling prophecy. In that, I agree with the article. However, dumping a great deal of money on a person in that situation may not be a very good solution. Sure they dont have to worry about "getting by" anymore, but what incentive do they have to get out of this situation and put the free lunch behind? Perhaps a social stigma could do the trick, but in this country people get waay to outrages about social stigmas. If our society was rich enough to pay each and every person, rich or poor, a minimum "get by" allowance, maybe thing would be slightly different, but again, its a pipe dream.
In my expirience, the biggest motivator to get out of poverty is pride. There is something to be said for carrying your own weight, yada yada. But how do you turn pride into policy?



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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vash View Post
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/id...rty/?page=full

The guy certainly seems to make some valid points, but I disagree with his conclusions. I think the solution would be more along the lines of teaching people about wealth creation (as oppose to just teaching people to be consumers) starting from very early age (elementary school), and hammering that point in during the entire education process, and even then we would have to wait a generation to see the effects.
Having gone from dirt poor to middle class, there definetly seems a breakover point in which my attitude about money changed. Furthermore, it seems that at least in young people, poverty seems to be the result of consistent poor choices. How many people do you know that get a break from whatever source (a large payment from say the insurance company) and immidiatly blow it on crap rather then use it for permanent improvement. I think they are trying to momentary escape the stress of thinking about lack of money.

Thoughts?
Now that I look back at your thoughts after having read the article and posting my thoughts, education is really a key to lots of things. The problem, of course, is time and money. My kids will definitely have a sound understanding of personal economics because it was drilled into me. Your experience with a "breaking point" is really surprising and was something I hadn't really thought might exist until I'd read the article.

With the "young" population I can't honestly figure out what's wrong. How many grandparents do you know that are raising their grandkids? I know LOTS. Much as with finances, I agree with you that its about poor choices and both really roll up to failure to accept responsibility for their own existence. Is that a consequence of parenting failures, a result of our very hyped consumer/"me" culture, something else, or combos of it all?

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
 
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Oh, we can sit here and assign blame all day long. Personally, I blame television. Too many parents (especially young parents) use it as a baby sitter. TV is full of commercials and shows that encourage consumerism. There is very little of anything on TV that teaches people how to manage money (in fact, is there anything?). If a kid is exposed to little else, of course thats what they are going to learn. And when they grown up to a young adult (and lets face it, young adults are poor, for the vast majority. thats just how it goes), than they spend all their time stressing about "How am I going to pay the next bill". The stress becomes a much bigger problem than the bill itself, and any money they come across goes to relieving the stress by wasting it and not counting any of it. Yey. You could of course say the real blame here is bad parenting and not tv, and someone will say that most of those parents are young, working, and poor, and dont have the time (much less expirience) to be good parents. Still, for untold centuries people (especially kids) have learned by looking around them and immitating. Which was all well and good while they were looking at the real world. Now they look into a fantasy TV world, and immitate its characters. They probably learn plenty of skills to survive well in this TV world, but life unfairly throws them into a world that is very much not like a TV show, but looks simular enough for them to try to apply the skills they learned.
This may explain why these issues are largly heredetary. Wealthier parents are likely to have more time to devote to parenting, where poorer ones are more likely to tell their kids to watch some tv. A test of this theory would be to check how many of the worthless colledge kids (you know the kind that have everything paid for, and have plenty of opportunities that they dont take) have parent whom while relativly well off, spend very little time parenting.
Ok, so maybe on a generational scale, the solution would be to expose kids to as much reality as possible, and as little fantasy (much the opposite of what we do). Seing how the idea of forcing people to do this to their kids would get very far, it would have to be a multi generational influencial campaign.
But blame laying and finger pointing aside, what would a short term soluion look like?



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