Poverty

New data paint an unpleasant picture of poverty in the US

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On Sept. 12, the U.S. Census Bureau released national poverty data for 2017. The headline was that 39.7 million people were poor in 2017. This works out to 12.3 percent of the population or one in eight Americans. The good news is that the U.S. poverty rate has fallen since 2010, when it hit 15.1 percent, and… The bad news is that poverty still exceeds the 11.3 percent rate of 2000 and far too many people are poor in a ... Read More »

The Slavery Incentive

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By restricting the workers’ outside options, employers may get them to accept terms that freer individuals would reject. Ricardo Hausmann Project Syndicate That may be a reason why there is so little urgency in solving the problem of undocumented immigrants in the US, and why many countries protect citizens differently than foreigners. CAMBRIDGE – Have you ever wondered why business schools do not teach the proper way to whip a worker to obtain maximum effort without damaging the asset? Had ... Read More »

Greece was never bailed out – it remains locked in an EU debtor’s prison

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Punitive conditions attached to the ‘rescue’ package mean the Greek financial tragedy may never end Yanis Varoufakis The Guardian Over the past week, the world’s media have been proclaiming the successful completion of the Greek financial rescue programme mounted in 2010 by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Headlines celebrated the end of Greece’s bailout, even the termination of austerity. Buoyant reports from ground zero of the eurozone crisis portrayed Europe’s eight-year long Greek intervention as a paradigm ... Read More »

How a small American Indian tribe came to give an incredible gift to Irish famine sufferers

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In the winter of 1847, the people of Ireland were suffering from a devastating famine. Padraig Kirwan The Conversation Meanwhile, members of the Choctaw Nation of American Indians, one of the five great southern tribes of the United States, met in a small town in Indian Territory called Skullyville. There, members of the tribe discussed the experiences of the Irish poor. It was proposed that they would gather what monies they could spare. This wasn’t going to be much in ... Read More »

The stacks of cash needed to buy basic goods tell Venezuela’s insane inflation story

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In a desperate bid to curb its runaway inflation rate, Venezuela has lopped five zeros from its currency. Edmund Heaphy Quartz The move yesterday, which came along with a 95% devaluation of the currency—known as the “strong bolívar”—was also accompanied by a hike in gas prices and a 3,000% increase in the minimum wage. New banknotes for the currency, now called the the “sovereign bolívar”, were introduced. The redenominated bolívar is now pegged to the petro, a state-run cryptocurrency that doesn’t ... Read More »

Filthy Rich and Homeless: How Finland solved its homelessness crisis

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“Homelessness is not going to be solved with any paper. You need to act.” Sarah Malik SBS Finnish expert Juha Kaakinen’s advice to resolve homelessness is simple: Action. “Life depends on action. There’s more action needed. Homelessness is not going to be solved with any paper. You need to act,” Kaakinen told the Filthy Rich and Homeless live audience on Thursday night. As head of the Y foundation, Kaakinen knows what is he is talking about. The group was one of the national developers of ... Read More »

Homelessness: what people get wrong about it

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The UK is experiencing rising levels of rough sleeping and homelessness. It’s not the only nation where this is happening – there are clear parallels in Australia, too. Nicholas Pleace The Conversation As a UK academic researching homelessness, who recently attended Australia’s National Homelessness Conference in Melbourne, I know that both nations must be keen to find an effective response to this extreme form of… But answers will remain elusive, until everyone can understand its causes. Policies to end homelessness ... Read More »

£100m plan to take thousands of homeless people off the streets

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The PM aims to help homeless people “turn their lives around”, but charities warn the new strategy will not provide a “total fix”. By Joe Tidy, news correspondent SkyNews A £100m government plan to halve rough sleeping in England by 2022 and eradicate it by 2027 has been launched. Thousands of rough sleepers will be offered rapid specialist assessments and support, as part of a package of new measures announced by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire. The Rough Sleeping Strategy will ... Read More »

How to reduce slavery in seafood supply chains

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Seafood is one of the most-traded foods in the world. The sector employs at least 260 million workers globally, and some 3 billion people rely on seafood as a primary source of protein. Trevor J Ward The Conversation The US State Department and other credible sources have consistently identified the seafood sector as a significant contributor to the global incidence of modern slavery. Widespread forced labour has been reported in the seafood industry in 47 countries. Part of the problem ... Read More »

Mexican anti-poverty program targeting poor women may help men most, study finds

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Economic empowerment programs that target women may have an unintended effect: They help men instead. Nora Haenn The Conversation A growing number of economic development programs worldwide provide cash specifically to women in poor communities. Giving women access to money empowers them, the theory goes. And empowered women – especially mothers – can lift entire families out of poverty. Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for launching a microloan program just for women. Nine Indian states ... Read More »

How social supermarkets are filling a gap in austerity Britain

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Social supermarkets have emerged in Britain in the past five years as a response to food poverty and food waste. Lopamudra Patnaik Saxena The Conversation These non-charitable initiatives sell food “surplus” to people on low incomes at heavily discounted prices, and provide social support. In new research, my colleague and I have mapped the growth of social supermarkets and found that while they help support people who are struggling, they do little to challenge the inequalities in the food system. ... Read More »

More Than One-Third of Australians Experiencing Food Insecurity

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More than one-third of Australians are experiencing some form of food insecurity, a number significantly higher than previously reported, new research shows. Luke Michael ProBono An Edith Cowan University (ECU) nationwide survey of 2,334 Australians found that 36 per cent of people have experienced low or very low food security at some time. These findings are in stark contrast to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures, which suggests only four per cent of Australians experience food insecurity. Lead researcher Lucy… ... Read More »

Why Maasai women and their children go hungry

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Food and nutrition security exists when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. In many communities in sub-Saharan Africa, food insecurity levels remain high. Elizabeth Kimani-Murage Conversation The latest food security and nutrition report shows that sub-Saharan Africa still has the highest prevalence of undernourishment, affecting at least 22.7% of the population. The situation is especially urgent in Eastern Africa where one-third of the population is estimated to ... Read More »

I found slaves in our supply chain

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Business support for new regulations? Unheard of. But that’s exactly what business leaders just did. Andrew Forrest * The Sydney Morning Herald We unanimously supported the introduction of the Modern Slavery Bill to the Parliament last week. All of us in business face the risk of modern slavery in our supply chains – I found it in my own – and it is now widely accepted that inaction, and hiding our head in the sand, are no longer options. Modern ... Read More »

Scotsman columnist Darren McGarvey wins Orwell Prize for political writing

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Scottish rapper and writer Darren McGarvey has been awarded the UK’s most prestigious prize for political writing at a ceremony in London. James Delaney The Scotsman McGarvey, also known as Loki, was honoured with the Orwell prize for Books for his “searing examination” of working-class life in ‘Poverty Safari’. The prize is awarded by The Orwell Foundation each year to the book which comes closest to the English writer George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art.’ The ... Read More »

Community Sector Protests Cuts to Asylum Seeker Support Payments

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Community sector leaders have gathered in Canberra to protest cuts to asylum seeker support payments, as a new report reveals that government policy is driving people seeking asylum into destitution. Luke Michael ProBono Leaders from 10 national NGOs, along with a delegation of asylum seekers and community members, gathered at Parliament House on Monday to urge the federal government to stop cuts to the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS). This service provides asylum seekers with a basic safety net of ... Read More »