Talk:Edit Coordination

From EconWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

DCK09001 - submission 14:14 12 April 2012 Removed from edit coordination page

In today's society a growing problem is the notion of what is to be done in regards to the poor and the reality of the unbearable poverty in which they live. The popular reasoning behind why the poor are so disadvantaged these days supposedly has to do with the fact that they lack adequate working skills. However, can we really blame those who were not able to take advantage of society's opportunities for their employment short-comings? I beg to differ, with the way in which the economy is configured today unless a person has gone to college and done considerably well at that, it is extremely hard to find employment in this dismal economy. Unemployment directly correlates with the poverty rate in this country. That given, the way to restoring the impoverished in this country is to attack unemployment.Though rather simple in theory such an ideology is not innovative by any means, as economists around the world have been thinking of ways to act upon this notion. I propose a simple statement as I conclude my first post, last year this country totaled nearly 125 billion dollars in improper payments I find it quite hard to believe that after one hundred and twenty billion dollars were wasted last year on irrelevance that we as a country did contribute more of those funds of training the unemployed American citizen and therefore contributing to combating the growing problem of unemployment, because quite frankly the more funding and attention we pay to employment the faster we working towards answering the problem that is poverty.




The Italian Institute of Statistics assesses the class system using 6 different categories. The first is the bourgeoisie, which includes entrepreneurs employing a minimum of 6 people, self-employed professionals, and managers, and accounts for 10 percent of the working population. The white collar middle class covers employees engaged in non-manual jobs and makes up 17 percent of the working population. The urban petit bourgeoisie comprise 14 percent of the working population, defined as small entrepreneurs with a maximum of 6 employees, shopkeepers, and self-employed artisans. The rural petit bourgeoisie, at 10 percent, own and operate small enterprises in the primary sectors of agriculture, forestry, hunting, and fishing. The urban working class is the 37 percent of the workforce that is engaged in manual labor. Finally, the rural working class, at 9 percent, are employees of the primary sector. This class breakdown, in identifying 2 categories each of the working and entrepreneurial classes, is considered to be more precise than the more common method of class division and has been used since the mid-1980s.

The situation regarding upward social, or class, mobility in Italy is quite complex. In 1998, the absolute rate of mobility—people who belong to a different social class than their parents—was 60.3 percent for men and 64.9 percent for women, the great majority of the Italian work-force. However, when one breaks down the absolute rate of mobility figures by class and analyzes them in relation to the changes in occupation structure between the current times and the 1960s, the whole picture changes. The highest mobility rate is found within the rural working class (91.1 percent), due mainly to the fact that, in the space of one generation, the occupational weight of this class has been greatly reduced. The lowest rates of mobility are found in the classes that have not been radically

GDP per Capita (US$) Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998 Italy 11,969 14,621 15,707 18,141 19,574 United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683 France 18,730 21,374 22,510 25,624 27,975 Greece 8,302 9,645 10,005 10,735 12,069 SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income. modified by the occupational structure: the urban working class and bourgeoisie. In these cases only half of the people are in a different class than their parents. It is, therefore, quite clear that true social mobility is perceived as being greater than it is. This conclusion is confirmed by data that give the rate of intra-generational mobility for all classes as 30.3 percent. Thus, the opportunities for social mobility still largely depend on an individual's social origins.

Despite being a wealthy country, Italy suffers from serious inequality in the distribution of wealth and resources. These dramatic statistics stand out: in 1998, 2,558,000 families (11.8 percent of the total) lived in poverty, which is equal to 7,423,000 individuals. The figure was even higher at the end of the 1980s, when families living in poverty represented 14 percent of the population. Once again, the contrast between north and south could not be clearer, with over 65 percent of impoverished families living in southern regions. The gap between the rich north and the impoverished south continues to increase, as does the depth of poverty itself. Of those classified as poor, elderly people living on a simple state pension make up 53 percent of households living in poverty. Their numbers, however, are steadily decreasing, to be overtaken by the working poor. This phenomenon, which looks likely to become a permanent feature of Italian society, affects couples with one or more children, where only one parent works, is under 40 years old, and has few qualifications and, thus, low earning power.

As a result of Italy's generous welfare state, the great majority of poor families do not live in extremes of squalor or deprivation. Essential needs provided by the state include basic health care and education, clean water supplies, and housing. Moreover, extensive family networks help those living in poverty to feel less isolated and are sometimes a source of financial help. However, it is extremely difficult for families in poverty to improve their circumstances, and over 70 percent of households classified as poor in 1994 remained poor 2 years later.

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Italy Lowest 10% 3.5 Lowest 20% 8.7 Second 20% 14.0 Third 20% 18.1 Fourth 20% 22.9 Highest 20% 36.3 Highest 10% 21.8 Survey year: 1995 Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income. SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM]. Household Consumption in PPP Terms Country All Food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other Italy 23 11 12 3 17 8 27 United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51 France 22 7 9 3 8 12 40 Greece 32 11 14 5 14 8 16 Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms. a Excludes energy used for transport. b Includes government and private expenditures. SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000. Necessity often forces individuals in poverty to take up low-paid and unsafe jobs in the informal economy, where they are subject to threats and blackmail. In urban areas of the south, the younger generation finds it very difficult to obtain work and poverty drives a percentage of them into the arms of organized crime. Migration to the north or leaving Italy altogether still remain ways out for many. While poverty is less visible in the wealthy north, it does exist. In particular, young couples with 2 or more children who struggle to meet the high cost of living on low salaries find themselves caught in the poverty trap.


Read more: Italy Poverty and wealth, Information about Poverty and wealth in Italy http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Europe/Italy-POVERTY-AND-WEALTH.html#ixzz1qSXC8Kht

Contents

GDP

Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 1.8 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the "advance" estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.8 percent (see "Revisions" on page 3).

The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from private inventory investment, personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from federal government spending and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The acceleration in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected an upturn in private inventory investment and accelerations in PCE and in residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, a downturn in federal government spending, an acceleration in imports, and a larger decrease in state and local government spending.

Final sales of computers added 0.12 percentage point to the fourth-quarter change in real GDP after adding 0.22 percentage point to the third-quarter change. Motor vehicle output added 0.43 percentage point to the fourth-quarter change in real GDP after adding 0.12 percentage point to the third-quarter change. __________________________ FOOTNOTE. Quarterly estimates are expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, unless otherwise specified. Quarter-to-quarter dollar changes are differences between these published estimates. Percent changes are calculated from unrounded data and are annualized. "Real" estimates are in chained (2005) dollars. Price indexes are chain-type measures.

     This news release is available on BEA’s Web site along with the Technical Note and Highlights

related to this release. For information on revisions, see "Revisions to GDP, GDI, and Their Major Components." __________________________

The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, increased 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter, 0.3 percentage point more than in the advance estimate; this index increased 2.0 percent in the third quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent in the third.

Real personal consumption expenditures increased 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.7 percent in the third. Durable goods increased 15.3 percent, compared with an increase of 5.7 percent. Nondurable goods increased 0.4 percent, in contrast to a decrease of 0.5 percent. Services increased 0.7 percent, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent.

     Real nonresidential fixed investment increased 2.8 percent, compared with an increase of 15.7

percent. Nonresidential structures decreased 2.6 percent, in contrast to an increase of 14.4 percent. Equipment and software increased 4.8 percent, compared with an increase of 16.2 percent. Real residential fixed investment increased 11.5 percent, compared with an increase of 1.3 percent.

Real exports of goods and services increased 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 4.7 percent in the third. Real imports of goods and services increased 3.8 percent, compared with an increase of 1.2 percent.

Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment decreased 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter, in contrast to an increase of 2.1 percent in the third. National defense decreased 12.1 percent, in contrast to an increase of 5.0 percent. Nondefense increased 4.4 percent, in contrast to a decrease of 3.8 percent. Real state and local government consumption expenditures and gross investment decreased 2.5 percent, compared with a decrease of 1.6 percent.

The change in real private inventories added 1.88 percentage points to the fourth-quarter change in real GDP, after subtracting 1.35 percentage points from the third-quarter change. Private businesses increased inventories $54.3 billion in the fourth quarter, following a decrease of $2.0 billion in the third quarter and an increase of $39.1 billion in the second.

Real final sales of domestic product -- GDP less change in private inventories -- increased 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 3.2 percent in the third.


Gross domestic purchases

Real gross domestic purchases -- purchases by U.S. residents of goods and services wherever produced -- increased 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.3 percent in the third.


Current-dollar GDP

Current-dollar GDP -- the market value of the nation's output of goods and services -- increased 3.9 percent, or $144.7 billion, in the fourth quarter to a level of $15,320.8 billion. In the third quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 4.4 percent, or $163.3 billion.


Revisions

The "second" estimate of the fourth-quarter increase in real GDP is 0.2 percentage point, or $7.5 billion, higher than the advance estimate issued last month. The upward revision to the percent change in real GDP primarily reflected an upward revision to nonresidential fixed investment, a downward revision to imports, and an upward revision to personal consumption expenditures (PCE).

                                               Advance Estimate        Second Estimate
                                               (Percent change from preceding quarter)

Real GDP.......................................... 2.8 3.0 Current-dollar GDP................................ 3.2 3.9 Gross domestic purchases price index.............. 0.8 1.1


2011 GDP

     Real GDP increased 1.7 percent in 2011 (that is, from the 2010 annual level to the 2011 annual

level), compared with an increase of 3.0 percent in 2010.

     The increase in real GDP in 2011 primarily reflected positive contributions from PCE, exports,

and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from state and local government spending, private inventory investment, and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in real GDP in 2011 primarily reflected downturns in private inventory investment and in federal government spending and a deceleration in exports that were partly offset by a deceleration in imports and an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment.

     The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.5 percent in 2011, compared with an

increase of 1.5 percent in 2010.

     Current-dollar GDP increased 3.9 percent, or $567.9 billion, in 2011 to a level of $15,094.4

billion. In 2010, current-dollar GDP increased 4.2 percent, or $587.5 billion.

     During 2011 (that is, measured from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2011),

real GDP increased 1.6 percent. Real GDP increased 3.1 percent during 2010. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.6 percent during 2011, compared with an increase of 1.4 percent during 2010.

Italian Statistics

Around 7.5 million Italians, or 13% of the population, are living below the poverty line on less than 600 euros a month, national statistics bureau Istat said Tuesday.

Around 170,000 people are considered extremely poor, living on a monthly income far below the poverty line, according to the report.

The figures for 2007 were largely unchanged compared to those for 2006, although families living in Tuscany improved their overall living conditions over the year.

Veneto remained the richest region, with just 3.3% of residents living below the poverty line, while Sicily was the poorest with 27.6% struggling to make ends meet.

Southern Italian families were four times more likely to be poor than those living in the rest of the country, according to the report.

Istat said a total of 11.1% of families were living below the poverty line while 4.2% were hovering just above. A further 3.7% were considered 'at risk', while 81% could be classified as not poor.

The bureau set Italy's poverty line at a monthly spending capacity of 600 euros for a single person, 1,607 for a family of four people and 2,637 for a family of six or more.

Income Distribution In Italy

According to recent research, Italy's national tripartite incomes policy agreement of 23 July 1993 has helped to protect the purchasing power of wages, although the 1990s were a decade of pay restraint. However, it appears in autumn 20002 that the re-emergence of inflation and the disparity between the growth of productivity and of wages may reopen conflict on income redistribution.

The tripartite national intersectoral agreement of 23 July 1993 laid down the basis for Italy's current incomes policy and two-tier (national/sectoral and company/local) bargaining system (IT9803223F). The agreement is still a topic of great interest in Italy, not only among the social partners but also among industrial relations researchers and economists. An earlier EIRO feature (IT9806326F) analysed the impact of the agreement on pay levels in Italy up until 1997. Now a new study has examined the trend in income distribution in Italy between 1993 and 2001.

The study from the Institute of Economic and Social Research (Istituto di Recherche Economiche e Sociali, Ires), the research institute of the General Confederation of Italian Workers (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro, Cgil), carried out by Lorenzo Birindelli and Giuseppe D'Aloia, is entitled 'Pay, productivity and income distribution before and after 1993' ('Retribuzioni, produttività e distribuzione del reditto prima e dopo il 1993'). The distinctive feature of the study is that it analyses wage dynamics in relation to the macroeconomic situation. It is divided into two parts: the first concentrates exclusively on Italy and is based on an analysis of data from the National Institute of Statistics (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica, Istat) on pay levels and other macroeconomic indicators; and the second compares Italy with the main European countries on the basis of Eurostat, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Bank of Italy data, a feature which makes the comparison particularly complex.

Wage restraint and income distribution

The Ires study confirms that the July 1993 agreement has contributed to wage restraint. More specifically, according to the Ires researchers, it is possible to identify three phases during the period between the second half of the 1970s and 2000:

the first lasted from 1975 to 1982 and was characterised by high inflation, strong economic growth and an egalitarian distribution of income made possible by the wage indexation system (the scala mobileor sliding-scale mechanism); the second lasted from 1983 to 1990 and was distinguished by mounting public debt and the progressive widening of pay differentials between productive sectors; and the third lasted from 1993 and 2000 and was marked by the rebalancing of the budget, a strong growth in exports, the curbing of inflation, and wage restraint. Tables 1 and 2 below show the annual percentage changes in real contractual wages and a variety of economic indicators over the 1976 to 2000 period.

Table 1. Trends in real contractual wages, 1976-2000. Average annual % changes (adjusted for blue- and white-collar household deflator) . 1976-82 1983-92 1993-2000 1976-2000 Total economy 2.3 0.7 -0.3 0.6 Industry (strict definition) 2.5 0.5 0.0 0.5 Source: Ires calculations based on Istat data.

Table 2. Average annual % changes in selected indicators, 1976-2000 . 1976-82 1983-92 1993-2000 1996-2000 1999 2000 GDP at 1995 prices 3.3 2.3 1.7 1.9 1.6 2.9 Public debt (stock) 22.6 16.7 5.3 2.1 1.7 1.4 Productivity 2.2 1.8 1.7 1.1 0.8 1.4 Productivity-wages differential* 0.0 1.0 1.5 0.5 0.0 0.6 Dependent employment 0.6 0.5 0.2 1.0 1.3 1.5 Total employment 1.0 0.6 0.0 0.8 0.8 1.5

  • Pay levels deflated with the same deflator as production (GDP deflator).

Source: Ires calculations based on Istat and Bankitalia data.

At the same time as ensuring wage restraint, however, the 1993 agreement made it possible to protect the purchasing power of wages, states the report. Or at least it did so until 2000, when the resumption of inflation widened the gap between the real inflation rate and planned inflation rate, on the basis of which wage increases have been fixed by sector-level collective bargaining since the 1993 agreement. Therefore, according to Ires, at least for 2000 and 2001 one may expect wages to lose some of their purchasing power.

Considering wage trends by sector - see table 3 below - the pay differential between the manufacturing sector and protected sectors such as the public services and the public utilities (electricity, gas, water) has tended to diminish. However, the sector nevertheless seems to play an important role in differentiating among wage dynamics.

Table 3. Average annual % real contractual wage growth by sector, 1976-2000 . 1983-87 1988-92 1993-5 1996-9 2000 Agriculture 1.0 0.6 -2.0 -0.2 -2.4 Manufacturing 0.3 0.6 -0.9 0.8 -0.5 Electricity, gas, water 0.8 1.4 -0.2 0.0 -2.4 Construction 0.0 1.7 -1.9 0.7 0.3 Commerce, retail, hotels 0.7 0.7 -0.7 1.2 -0.6 Transport -1.2 1.2 -1.8 0.0 -2.1 Post and telecommunications -0.8 0.5 -1.4 0.6 -2.4 Credit and insurance 1.4 0.5 -1.2 0.1 -0.9 Public administration 0.6 2.1 -3.3 1.4 -0.2 Source: Ires calculations based on Istat data.

Although the rate of productivity growth has tended to decrease, productivity (in industry) has grown more rapidly than pay: the differential between productivity and pay was particular wide until 1995, thereafter it increased more slowly.

Taking account of the GDP growth trend, the Ires study suggests that wage restraint helped to ensure the stability of employment during the first half of the 1990s and subsequently contributed to its growth. This feature differentiates Italy from other European countries like France and Germany, where employment has tended to fall.

As regards business profitability, the Ires study used Mediobanca data on a sample of around 2,000 medium to large companies. Analysis of these data shows that business profitability tended to increase in the 1990s and was particularly high in 1998 and 1999, a trend which can be explained by modest increases in the cost of labour, increased exports, a fall in interest rates and, especially in the last years of the decade, effective financial management.

Outlining the "Rational Optimist" novel by Matt Ridley

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley Outline

1. Ridley’s book the book focused on history of humanity, where it talks about the reasons human species has been successful and how people should reflect the future.

1.1. The key thesis is that human development has been highly elaborated by Adam smith based on the theories of Charles Darwin.

1.2. History of human species has been a fight between survival and occupation.

1.3. Specialization is the real meaning of humanity and self-reliance a mistaken fable.

1.4. Huge amount of commercial links were implemented even in the time of hunting and gathering of human revolution.

1.4.1. The most horrible instance of emissions is predicated on a great growth of international GDP.

1.5. The course of economic development does not often come so obvious.

1.5.1. Anything can work effectively when particular economic performers create way out from the bottom up.

1.6. Increased riches do not signify increased contentment.

1.6.1. Happy individuals have noteworthy capability to stay happy, even in spite of difficulty.

1.7. The second main reflection in Ridley’s book is, certainly, “rational optimism.”

1.8. Several past fears were in due course baseless.

1.8.1. Everything will be very well in Africa without people’s fear concerning pessimistic possibilities.

1.8.2. Progress in Africa is complex to accomplish, but people should hope it will speed up.

1.9. Ridley dedicates his consideration to only two current issues, climate change and African development.

1.9.1. Mr. Ridley disproved concern regarding climate change as another illustration with unsupported negativity.

1.9.2. Ridley considered that modernism or innovation engages just raising new ideas.

1.10. Ridley represented the future economy as "post-capitalist and post-corporatist” an appropriate incidental expression.

1.10.1. Without scientists’ interest and innovativeness, huge quantity of trade or exchange would not have created the world we are staying in. [1]

---In an interview with Cade Massey, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Yale School of Management, he was asked various questions about rational optimism. When asked if optimism is irrational, he answered with the following..."It's mistaken. It's a bias. Whether it's irrational depends on what the consequences are of that bias. And that's a huge debate in the literature, and has been for some time. Presumably it's irrational if not only is it mistaken, but also the net consequences of it are negative. Then I'm comfortable calling it irrational. However, there may be positive consequences to being positively biased.

There is a fairly widely held belief among some researchers that some optimism is good. It's a little bit like red wine: In moderate amounts, it's good for you.

There are a number of reasons why it might be good to be optimistically biased. For example, if people are by nature a little too risk-averse, a little optimism helps counterbalance that, gets them to take a few risks they might not otherwise.

Another reason is that there is, in economic-speak, positive utility from having positive expectations, in and of itself. Setting aside any decision making that you do based on the expectations, just consider how it feels to walk through life believing that your favorite football team is going to win this weekend, that your relationship is going to work out, that your financial investments are going to pay off. If you're thinking things are generally good, you're going to be happier; if you're thinking things are bad, you're going to be unhappy.

Now, that has to be offset against what happens once these things are realized: after the game is over or the investment is complete or the relationship is over. If you have been positively biased all along, then you're going to be more disappointed in the end than you would have been if you hadn't been positively biased.

Now, are those two things equal? If those two things are equal, then there's no net positive to optimism. But here's something we know to be true: people adapt to bad news much more readily than they expect they will. So it could well be the case that those things are asymmetric. That there's more utility to be gained or lost ahead of an event than after an event. The disappointment isn't as big a deal as we think it is. And if that's the case, it's nice to have a little optimism because it feels better.

A third reason is that there can be a self-fulfilling nature to positive expectations. If you have positive expectations for somebody, they actually perform better. And if that's the way the world works, a little positive bias is a good thing." [2]

Notes

  1. Ben Saponar. Ridley, Matt. The rational optimist: how prosperity evolves. New York: Harper, 2010. Print.
  2. Ben Saponar. http://qn.som.yale.edu//content/optimism-rational

Nickle and Dimed on (NOT) getting by in America By Barbara Ehrenreich

Nickel and Dimed: On (not) getting by in America By Barbara Ehrenreich is a passionately written book on the accounts and real life experiences of the author while she explores in depth welfare reform and the minimum wage crises in the late nineties and how it has changed over time. Barbara wrote an informative tale of first hand experiences dealing with these issues and gives great examples of why things should change here in America. From the late 90’s to 2012 welfare reform and the minimum wage crises have not disappeared. Poverty is more visible now then it has been since the Great Depression and is still not getting better. In the late 90’s if an individual was seeking a job they could find one. Unfortunately that has changed since the financial crisis hit America in 2008. This book was written during a time of economic boom and evaluates the lives of Americans that find themselves in the lower third of the income distribution. Even though these individuals working in the service industry were being evaluated during a time of economic boom they still needed to work 2 jobs to make ends meet, sleep in a car or van to avoid hotel fees, lacked healthcare, steady employment or a steady household. Imagine if Barbara did her evaluation of the impoverished during a time of recession? I can only imagine it would be much worse than what was described in Nickel and Dimed.


Barbara Ehrenreich is a talented writer and has written many successful books. Throughout her writing career she has wrote for the New York Times and Time magazine and has written two bestsellers. Her life experiences and dedication to her writing helped her write this in-depth book that depicts the impoverished sector of America and the wage rate issue for what it truly is. Throughout Nickel and Dimed Barbara experiences lower class society in America first hand. She throws herself into the job market as an unskilled laborer and gives herself a very small allowance of $1,000 to get started with. She cuts all ties with her previous life and pursues the question of whether or not she can make it in America making minimum wage. She begins her journey in Florida and attempts to get a job as a housekeeper making minimum wage. After several attempts she is pushed into a job as a waitress. During her time in Florida, Barbara realizes the true heartaches of working in the restaurant business and hotel business. Within the month that she lives there she works a total of three jobs. She quickly realizes that she will not be able to make ends meet working one job and quickly starts working a second. Throughout her time working two jobs she realizes the amount of effort and dedication it takes to accomplish this task and decides that it is not a realistic endeavor for a woman of her age. She states “ In 1996 the number of persons holding two or more jobs averaged 7.8 billion, or 6.2% of the workforce.” (Nickel and Dimed) Throughout the book she returns to the topic of having more than 1 job to make ends meet when working for minimum wage. While in Maine she decides that a second job is a must and begins to work part time. This time around she decides it will be best to work part time/ full time vs. full time/ full time. This issue of not being able to pay the bills with only working one job is directly related to the wage rate and poverty.

Throughout the book she address the issue of poverty and wage rates with specific examples from her experiences in Florida, Maine and Minnesota. While in Minnesota she beings to work for Wal-Mart. She quickly learns that she will not be able to pay her bills with the money she was making at Wal-Mart and immediately seeks part-time employment at a bakery. Her stay in Minnesota as a Wal-Mart employee is short due to the fact that she cannot find affordable housing. Another example is when she is living in Maine. A co-worker of hers gets hurt and instead of calling out or going home she forces herself to work because she does not have health benefits and needs the money.

Other then dipping into the issues of poverty and wage rates in 1999 she also talks about how things have changed since then. From her descriptions and stories it seemed like the situations and jobs she was working at were unbearable but, at least there were jobs available. Near the end of the book she states “the big question, ten years later, is whether things have improved or worsened for those in the bottom third of the income distribution, the people who clean hotel rooms, work in warehouses, wash dishes at a restaurant, care for the young and the very old, and keep the shelves stocked in our stores. The short answer is that things have gotten much worse since the economic downturn in 2008.” (Nickel and Dimed) When Barbara wrote this book the economy was flourishing and the people she came in contact with were having trouble making ends meet. I can’t imagine what happened to these people when they lost their jobs or could not find a second job due to the recession in 2008. I would assume that they were living with family members, sleeping in cars or just on the street or much worse because these are the types of things they were already doing during the time of economic boom.

Throughout the last decade the issues of wage rates and how they are directly related to poverty in America has been addressed in many different ways. Barbara strays from the pack and tackles the topics in a more involved way. By experiencing poverty for herself during prolonged periods she has a real view into what the bottom third of the workforce experience daily. By the end of the book it is decided that an individual cannot make a living and support themselves on minimum wage. The individual would have to seek and hold a second job just to pay bills and not making anywhere near enough to build a retirement, save to buy a house or even pursue a college career.

This book was a true tale of how the poverty struck get by in America. Also it is a great representation of the service industry and how the borderline impoverished live and work in America.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America. New York: Picador, 2011. Print.

The Other America Book review

Isolated and invisible to the rest of society lives a culture of sick, unstable, nasty, mentally ill people unable to express normal affection and living in squalor that they will never be able to escape (p14-15). This separate culture feels and thinks differently, has its own language, way of life and can be found in cities and rural areas throughout America (Isserman 50 Years). These statements form the foundation of Michael Harrington’s beliefs regarding poverty in America. The main thesis of his book “The Other America Poverty in the United States” is that there exists a “culture of poverty” and that poverty is extensive and endemic in America but also invisible (p15). Harrington’s book was successful in raising society’s awareness of those living below the poverty line but his “culture of poverty” theory did not support that the creation of a broad federal jobs program that would eradicate the situation. The book focuses on helping the most affluent Americans “discover” poverty and ultimately devise solutions to eradicate the problem (Ehrenrerich). Harrington uses his second-hand knowledge of poverty derived as a member of the Catholic Worker movement and impressions from lecture tours in the book as a vehicle to change the face of poverty in the United States and to end the system that produced human misery rather than merely ministering to it (Dorrien). A writer, activist, and member of the Young People’s Socialist League since the mid-1950s, Harrington draws upon his socialist ideals and attitudes when attempting to raise the awareness and visibility of poverty (Dorrien). According to Harrington, only the federal government is capable of providing an all out assault on poverty, providing a permanent solution eradicating the slum and slum psychology and rescuing those doomed to a life of poor health, isolation and despair (p33, 154). In addition to a financial investment, society’s attitude towards the poor would also need to change but Harrington believed in the country enough to want to change it for the better (Isserman 50 Years Later). “The Other America: Poverty in the United States” succinctly summarizes the book’s content which seeks to expose the existence of wide-spread poverty in America during the turbulent years of the early 1960s. During this time, the country was experiencing great economic growth, the Civil Rights movement was sweeping throughout the country and millions of dollars were being allocated to the ongoing Vietnam War. Harrington shares his viewpoint on how social policies and technology contribute to creating poverty, the various classes of poverty and how poverty affects not only the individual but society as a whole. Harrington’s personal views and preconceived opinions of the poor from a socialist perspective and how the federal government has failed to adequately conquer poverty are permeated throughout the book (Shadroui). Income figures, future poverty levels and budget level needs are defined but much of the prose is relegated to Harrington’s own philosophies and interpretations (p179-190). Harrington sends a conflicted double message about the poor in that society needs to find a way to help them but we first need to understand that there is “something wrong with them” that cannot be cured with a distribution of wealth (Ehrenreich). This double message weakens his argument that the solution to curing poverty is a jobs program. Harrington makes claims that personal characteristics including violence, alcoholism, limited education, no motivation to change and mental retardation are basic to the culture of poverty (p 98-99). However, Harrington’s educational background and limited exposure to poverty does not provide him with the expertise to evaluate and place judgment on an entire population. Since he is not an authority on the subject, one questions the validity of his thesis and recommended solutions. The generalizations regarding the poor as being sick in mind and spirit, failures, violent and disconnected from society damage the reputation of the entire group that he is attempting to help (p11). Harrington’s popularization of the phrase “culture of poverty” and representation of the poor as hopeless, sexually promiscuous and substance abusers had unintended consequences Harrington should have but never considered (Issermann The Poverty Of An Idea). Portraying the poor as misfits prone to domestic violence and shortsightedness does the poor an injustice and does not invoke compassion or empathy. In fact, it does just the opposite. Harrington was lax in his analysis of how society and conservatives could interpret the radical message he was trying to convey. Harrington missed the mark by providing society and the government with a loophole to make poverty into a social issue instead of a dire financial situation. He incorrectly assumed that everyone would agree with him and realize that the only solution to ridding society of poverty was a broad federal jobs program. Harrington did not factor in his equation that the country was siphoning millions of dollars to the Vietnam War and that his proposed jobs program might not be able to be adequately funded. He was extremely short-sighted in hoping for a New Deal strategy to combat poverty (Isserman 50 Years Later). When the government took the attitudes and behaviors he saw as symptoms of poverty and portrayed them as its direct causes, Harrington was ill prepared to respond publicly to set the record straight (Issermann The Poverty Of An Idea). He allowed his extensive research to be misconstrued which jeopardized the anticipated end result. To correct these behaviors, the government began developing social programs towards improving and correcting the poor’s personal qualities which was much cheaper than developing job programs. One of the objectives of the book was to expose this invisible culture and appeal to the larger society for their help and resources to help remedy the situation (p15). Harrington can be credited with influencing John F. Kennedy to begin thinking about poverty in new ways (LivingNonviolence). The fact that the White House had “discovered” poverty because of the book is noteworthy but it was inexcusable and unnecessary that central to the message was a character assassination of the poor. Throughout the book, there is a consistent theme that the poor are misfits and living in a different culture. The author’s accounts of how the poor thought, lived, their values and family dynamics made one imagine that mysterious rituals and peculiar practices were parts of their daily life. This theory is contradicted when he infers that only the poor listen to country music, make bad food choices and drift away from religion. The fact that millions of Americans of all economic classes make these lifestyle choices demonstrates that they are not unique to the poor. Instead of grasping the opportunity to create empathy for the poor, one is left wondering how Harrington thought he could convince society and the federal government to financially support programs to integrate such a hopeless group of people from this other “culture” into mainstream society. Presenting the poor as character flawed was a huge mistake since it insinuated that the roots of the problem were environmental in nature as a result their own way of life and separate culture. Once society was aware of these “human rejects” existence, the focus shifted towards the creation of social programs (p30). It diverted attention away from his proposal of a federal jobs program and caused society to form the opinion that the poor were not only lacking money but were also morally and socially bankrupt. The programs created did address some of their needs and provided assistance but a shortage of money still existed. Harrington’s book was successful in raising society’s awareness of those living below the poverty line but his “culture of poverty” theory did not support that the creation of a broad federal jobs program that would eradicate the situation. Due to the popularity of the book, the author brought the issue of poverty to the forefront of the American people and it was no longer an “invisible” issue. However, the issue of poverty still requires effort and support by society and the federal government. Government spending did increase after the book’s publication and many social programs for the poor can be attributed to Harrington forcing society and the government to tackle and address this subject. More positive results may have been realized if Harrington’s message did not focus that being poor was part of a culture. The book still retains its moral clarity today but it is questionable whether or not the book had permanent, long-term benefits for the poor (Isserman 50 Years Later). Almost 50 years later, the poor are still among us but their existence is no longer a matter of public debate but there is still much work to do.


Work Cited 1.) Gary Dorrien. Michael Harrington: Socialist to the End The Christian Century, October 11,2000 pp.1002-1009. 2.) Barbara Ehrenreich. Time to Rediscover Poverty - posted March 15, 2012 www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/time-to-discover-poverty 4.) Maurice Isserman. 50 Years Later: Poverty and The Other America www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=4110 5.) George Shadroui. Crossing Swords: Michael Harrington and the War on Poverty April 11, 2008 www.intellectualconservative.com 6.) Michael Harrington. The Other America Poverty in the United States. 1962. Macmillan Company. New York, NY 7.) Maurice Isserman. The New York Times. The Poverty of an Idea. March 2, 2012. www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03opinion/the-poverty-of-the-idea.html 8.) LivingNonviolence. The Other America Turns 50. February 2012. www.livingnonviolence.com/2012/02-other-america-turns-50.html

The Other America: Book Review

Isolated and invisible to the rest of society lives a culture of sick, unstable, nasty, mentally ill people unable to express normal affection and living in squalor that they will never be able to escape (Harrington). This separate culture feels and thinks differently, has its own language, way of life and can be found in cities and rural areas throughout America (Isserman). These statements form the foundation of Michael Harrington’s beliefs regarding poverty in America. The main thesis of his book “The Other America Poverty in the United States” is that there exists a “culture of poverty” and that poverty is extensive and endemic in America but also invisible (Harrington). Harrington’s book was successful in raising society’s awareness of those living below the poverty line but his “culture of poverty” theory did not support that the creation of a broad federal jobs program that would eradicate the situation. The book focuses on helping the most affluent Americans “discover” poverty and ultimately devise solutions to eradicate the problem (Ehrenrerich). Harrington uses his second-hand knowledge of poverty derived as a member of the Catholic Worker movement and impressions from lecture tours in the book as a vehicle to change the face of poverty in the United States and to end the system that produced human misery rather than merely ministering to it (Dorrien). A writer, activist, and member of the Young People’s Socialist League since the mid-1950s, Harrington draws upon his socialist ideals and attitudes when attempting to raise the awareness and visibility of poverty (Dorrien). According to Harrington, only the federal government is capable of providing an all out assault on poverty, providing a permanent solution eradicating the slum and slum psychology and rescuing those doomed to a life of poor health, isolation and despair (Harrington). In addition to a financial investment, society’s attitude towards the poor would also need to change but Harrington believed in the country enough to want to change it for the better (Isserman). “The Other America: Poverty in the United States” succinctly summarizes the book’s content which seeks to expose the existence of wide-spread poverty in America during the turbulent years of the early 1960s. During this time, the country was experiencing great economic growth, the Civil Rights movement was sweeping throughout the country and millions of dollars were being allocated to the ongoing Vietnam War. Harrington shares his viewpoint on how social policies and technology contribute to creating poverty, the various classes of poverty and how poverty affects not only the individual but society as a whole. Harrington’s personal views and preconceived opinions of the poor from a socialist perspective and how the federal government has failed to adequately conquer poverty are permeated throughout the book (Shadroui). Income figures, future poverty levels and budget level needs are defined but much of the prose is relegated to Harrington’s own philosophies and interpretations (Harrington). Harrington sends a conflicted double message about the poor in that society needs to find a way to help them but we first need to understand that there is “something wrong with them” that cannot be cured with a distribution of wealth (Ehrenreich). This double message weakens his argument that the solution to curing poverty is a jobs program. Harrington makes claims that personal characteristics including violence, alcoholism, limited education, no motivation to change and mental retardation are basic to the culture of poverty (Harrington). However, Harrington’s educational background and limited exposure to poverty does not provide him with the expertise to evaluate and place judgment on an entire population. Since he is not an authority on the subject, one questions the validity of his thesis and recommended solutions. The generalizations regarding the poor as being sick in mind and spirit, failures, violent and disconnected from society damage the reputation of the entire group that he is attempting to help (Harrington). Harrington’s popularization of the phrase “culture of poverty” and representation of the poor as hopeless, sexually promiscuous and substance abusers had unintended consequences Harrington should have but never considered (Issermann). Portraying the poor as misfits prone to domestic violence and shortsightedness does the poor an injustice and does not invoke compassion or empathy. In fact, it does just the opposite. Harrington was lax in his analysis of how society and conservatives could interpret the radical message he was trying to convey. Harrington missed the mark by providing society and the government with a loophole to make poverty into a social issue instead of a dire financial situation. He incorrectly assumed that everyone would agree with him and realize that the only solution to ridding society of poverty was a broad federal jobs program. Harrington did not factor in his equation that the country was siphoning millions of dollars to the Vietnam War and that his proposed jobs program might not be able to be adequately funded. He was extremely short-sighted in hoping for a New Deal strategy to combat poverty (Isserman). When the government took the attitudes and behaviors he saw as symptoms of poverty and portrayed them as its direct causes, Harrington was ill prepared to respond publicly to set the record straight (Issermann). He allowed his extensive research to be misconstrued which jeopardized the anticipated end result. To correct these behaviors, the government began developing social programs towards improving and correcting the poor’s personal qualities which was much cheaper than developing job programs. One of the objectives of the book was to expose this invisible culture and appeal to the larger society for their help and resources to help remedy the situation (Issermann). Harrington can be credited with influencing John F. Kennedy to begin thinking about poverty in new ways (Living Nonviolence). The fact that the White House had “discovered” poverty because of the book is noteworthy but it was inexcusable and unnecessary that central to the message was a character assassination of the poor. Throughout the book, there is a consistent theme that the poor are misfits and living in a different culture. The author’s accounts of how the poor thought, lived, their values and family dynamics made one imagine that mysterious rituals and peculiar practices were parts of their daily life. This theory is contradicted when he infers that only the poor listen to country music, make bad food choices and drift away from religion. The fact that millions of Americans of all economic classes make these lifestyle choices demonstrates that they are not unique to the poor. Instead of grasping the opportunity to create empathy for the poor, one is left wondering how Harrington thought he could convince society and the federal government to financially support programs to integrate such a hopeless group of people from this other “culture” into mainstream society. Presenting the poor as character flawed was a huge mistake since it insinuated that the roots of the problem were environmental in nature as a result their own way of life and separate culture. Once society was aware of these “human rejects” existence, the focus shifted towards the creation of social programs (Harrington). It diverted attention away from his proposal of a federal jobs program and caused society to form the opinion that the poor were not only lacking money but were also morally and socially bankrupt. The programs created did address some of their needs and provided assistance but a shortage of money still existed. Harrington’s book was successful in raising society’s awareness of those living below the poverty line but his “culture of poverty” theory did not support that the creation of a broad federal jobs program that would eradicate the situation. Due to the popularity of the book, the author brought the issue of poverty to the forefront of the American people and it was no longer an “invisible” issue. However, the issue of poverty still requires effort and support by society and the federal government. Government spending did increase after the book’s publication and many social programs for the poor can be attributed to Harrington forcing society and the government to tackle and address this subject. More positive results may have been realized if Harrington’s message did not focus that being poor was part of a culture. The book still retains its moral clarity today but it is questionable whether or not the book had permanent, long-term benefits for the poor (Isserman). Almost 50 years later, the poor are still among us but their existence is no longer a matter of public debate but there is still much work to do.


Work Cited 1.) Dorrien, Gary. Michael Harrington: Socialist to the End :The Christian Century, October 11,2000 pp.1002-1009. 2.) Barbara Ehrenreich. Time to Rediscover Poverty - posted March 15, 2012 www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/time-to-discover-poverty 4.) Isserman, Maurice. 50 Years Later: Poverty and The Other America www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=4110. March 28, 2012. 5.) Shadroui, George. Crossing Swords: Michael Harrington and the War on Poverty April 11, 2008 www.intellectualconservative.com. March 28, 2012. 6.) Harrington, Michael. The Other America Poverty in the United States. 1962. Macmillan Company. New York, NY. 7.) Isserman, Maurice. The New York Times. The Poverty of an Idea. March 2, 2012. www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03opinion/the-poverty-of-the-idea.html. March 25, 2012 8.) Living Nonviolence. The Other America Turns 50. February 2012. www.livingnonviolence.com/2012/02-other-america-turns-50.html. March 30, 2012.

Personal tools
Namespaces
Variants
Actions
Navigation
Toolbox