Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Scraping your way out of poverty

What does it take to get out of poverty and live in the land of self-sustaining middle-income level? I don’t know. I’m convinced it is all about tenacious self-determination and luck.

But a host of experts and other concerned people propose a suite of answers. I was quite surprised to come across a posting in ScienceBlog about economics and poverty. But it is an interesting post: Job growth not the only factor in reducing poverty in large metro areas. According to a study by researchers at Ohio State University and Oklahoma State University, despite an increase in the number of jobs created during the 1990s, many people living in large metro areas across the United States failed to find jobs. The study suggests that it may be easier for people living in small metropolitan areas to get out of poverty than it is for those living in large metro areas. Hmm. Is this about competition and marketing forces?

I was also flipping channels and watching CSPAN when I came across Star Parker of the Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education. It is a Washington, DC based think tank (very conservative leaning) that addresses the moral and practical obstacles of poverty elimination. I’m still not sure where I stand. She makes a lot of valid points, but don’t buy that very conservative agendas hold the best answers to poverty elimination any more than liberal agendas did. Plus, I’m biased. Any organization that thinks Reagan was such a great leader when it comes to economics and poverty-elimination is just crack-smoking to me. In my book, Reagan is the devil.

Finally, my blog friend at Education and Class has some great recent posts about this topic.
Learning Your Way Into the Middle Class? Which examines this idea of how the (public) education system plays a critical role in preparing our young citizens to be productive contributing members of society? Without an adequate education (what does that mean nowadays?) then citizens can’t compete for ‘good’ jobs and these ‘good, middle-class-level’ jobs are taken to other countries or given to ‘other people’. Personally, I think education makes a difference – whether it’s formal or informal. Basically, upwardly mobile jobs aren’t given to those who perform rote, non-thinking, unspecialized duties. To set yourself apart and to be on the “fast track” you’ve got to be a thinker AND a doer – one who can cease opportunity and create it.

1 comment:

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

u should see what i wrote today