Tag Archives | Inequality

Breakfast of Gentrifiers at the Cereal Killer Café

cerealIf you want to protest against inequality and the (lack of) affordability of housing as relentless waves of gentrification price residents out of traditional working class neighborhoods, naturally you’d want to attack the post-modern breakfast haunt of the invading hipsters, right? From Citylab:

London’s gentrification debate has taken a bizarre turn in the past week. On Saturday night, demonstrators staging an impromptu anti-displacement protest in heavily gentrified East London cut loose and attacked a local landmark, daubing it with paint. Curiously, their chosen target wasn’t a new skyscraper or luxury apartment development. It was a café. One that specializes in selling cereal.

The choice of the Cereal Killer Café as target might seem odd, but the protest has clearly struck a chord. The U.K. media has been debating it furiously all week, while as a Londoner my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been so dominated by the story I’ve honestly been a little reluctant to go near my computer.

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Automation and Income Inequality: Understanding the Polarisation Effect

robot child

This article originally appeared on Philosophical Disquisitions

(Previous Entry)

Inequality is now a major topic of concern. Only those with their heads firmly buried in the sand would have failed to notice the rising chorus of concern about wealth inequality over the past couple of years. From the economic tomes of Thomas Piketty and Tony Atkinson, to the battle-cries of the 99%, and on to the political successes of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the US, the notion that inequality is a serious social and political problem seems to have captured the popular imagination.

In the midst of all this, a standard narrative has emerged. We were all fooled by the triumphs of capitalism in the 20th century. The middle part of the 20th century — from roughly the end of WWII to 1980 — saw significant economic growth and noticeable reductions in inequality.… Read the rest

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It’s not a lack of self-control that keeps people poor

The Sleeper
When considering poverty, our national conversation tends to overlook systemic causes. Instead, we often blame the poor for their poverty. Commentators echo the claim that people are poor because they have bad self-control and therefore make nearsighted choices. But psychology research says the opposite might be the case: poverty makes it hard for people to care about the future and forces them to live in the present.

As a researcher who studies goals and motivation, I wanted to know how self-control works and if science can help us get better at it. Poverty seemed like a good place to start, because greater self-control could be especially helpful there. In fact, the federal Administration for Children and Families is adding character-skills training to its programs in efforts to improve self-control among children.

But as I started this work I was surprised by all the reasons that it’s so hard for people in poverty to have good self-control.… Read the rest

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Joe Stiglitz: How to Solve Inequality, if Anyone Will Listen

"Joseph E. Stiglitz - cropped" by File:Joseph E. Stiglitz.jpg: Government of Thailandderivative work: LK (talk) - File:Joseph E. Stiglitz.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

This is an interesting interview, via Gawker:

Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and author of The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them, is one of the world’s most influential thinkers in the battle against economic inequality. He’s trying hard to remain optimistic. But it ain’t easy.

Gawker: Have you seen progress on inequality since the financial crisis and the Occupy movement made it a mainstream issue?

Joseph Stiglitz: What I’ve seen, I would say, is progress in the discussion. It has moved up to the mainstream, with people in both parties talking about it, all the presidential candidates, and that’s obviously a major step forward. If anything, I suppose, inequality in some dimensions has gotten worse. There have been a few steps forward—the raising of the minimum wage, the number of cities passing local minimum wages.

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Children in Some Communities Have Higher Rates of PTSD than Veterans

india sad
Emily Watson writes at Alternet:

In his 22 years of teaching high school English to East Oakland’s teenagers, Jeff Duncan-Andrade has witnessed kids and their families struggle through all kinds of trauma. He has seen how the constant, unrelenting stress – what researchers are now calling toxic stress – that comes from housing, employment and food insecurity, as well as continued violence in the neighborhood, visits a punishing impact on students and how they learn.

These experiences led Duncan-Andrade, some years ago, to begin looking for ways to better support students and their families — to show students they were valuable members of a community and worthy beyond their test scores. Buoyed by the belief that it is essential to provide kids with the most basic supports (food, shelter, safety) before they can learn, in early August Duncan-Andrade opened the doors of the Roses in Concrete Community School, incorporating his philosophy of involving parents and families to lift up the whole community.

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The Evidence Keeps Pouring In: Capitalism Just Isn’t Working

G20 April 1st

To followers of Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan, and to all the business people who despise government, ‘community’ is a form of ‘communism.’ Even taking the train is too communal for them. Americans have been led to believe that only individuals matter, that every person should fend for him/herself, that “winner-take-all” is the ultimate goal, and that the winners have no responsibility to others.

To the capitalist, everything is a potential market. Education, health care, even the right to water. But with every market failure it becomes more clear that basic human rights can’t be bought and sold like cars and cell phones. The pursuit of profit, when essential needs are part of the product, means that not everyone will be able to pay the price. Some will be denied those essential needs.

Global Failures

Capitalism hasn’t been able to control runaway global inequality. For every $1.00 owned by the world’s richest 1% in 2011, they now own $1.27.… Read the rest

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It’s time to redraw the world’s very unequal knowledge map

If you map the world by scientific research output, things look rather uneven. From www.worldmapper.org

If you map the world by scientific research output, things look rather uneven. From www.worldmapper.org

If the world were mapped according to how many scientific research papers each country produced, it would take on a rather bizarre, uneven appearance. The Northern hemisphere would balloon beyond recognition. The global south, including Africa, would effectively melt off the map.

This image makes a dramatic point about the complexities of global inequalities in knowledge production and exchange. So what is driving this inequality and how can it be corrected?

Money matters

Money and technology are needed to produce research. The average research and development intensity – that is, as a percentage of GDP – was 2.4% for OECD countries in 2009. But few developing countries had reached 1%. Without sufficient national funds, researchers must spend a great deal of time fundraising and dealing with grant organisations outside their universities. This means less time for actually undertaking and producing research.… Read the rest

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Poverty and Mental Health: A Chart

There appears to be a connection between poverty and mental health problems. According to Dylan Matthews at Vox:

But the reality is that poor Americans are much more likely to face mental health problems than rich ones. This chart, put together by the Huffington Post’s Jonathan Cohn and Cameron Love using data from a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, shows that 8.7 percent of people living in poverty exhibited signs of “serious psychological distress” when polled from 2009 to 2013. But only 1.2 percent of people with incomes of four times the federal poverty level or higher did:


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Mental health care access for teens improving, but less for communities with disparities


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University of Michigan Health System via EurekAlert:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Teens in the U.S. have more availability of mental health care than they did two years ago, according to a new survey from the University of Michigan National Voices Project, but access is not equal in all communities.

The University of Michigan National Voices Project was commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to facilitate a five year study to gauge opportunities for children and teens at the local level in communities across the U.S. The National Voices Project surveys over 2,000 adults across the U.S. who work and/or volunteer on behalf of children and teens.

In a 2014 National Voices Project survey, 40 percent of adults said teens in their communities had lots of availability for mental health care. In a 2012 survey, only 30 percent of adults reported lots of availability. In comparison, 59 percent of adults in 2014 said that teens had lots of availability for primary care.

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Learning from Limbaugh

(Photo: Brett Tatman/cc/flickr)

(Photo: Brett Tatman/cc/flickr)

Christopher Brauchli writes at Common Dreams:

“At length I recollected the thoughtless saying of a great princess, who, on being informed that the country people had no bread, replied, ‘Let them eat cake.’’” Jean Jacques Rousseau, Confessions

In 2008 Rush Limbaugh was paid $38 million. In 2014 Rush Limbaugh earned $66 million. For terrestrial navigation he drives, among other things, a Mayback 57S that costs $450,000 fully loaded. For celestial travel he flies in a Gulfstream G550 that cost $54 million.

April 2015 was noteworthy for reasons having nothing to do with the income tax. On April 19, 2015, Dan Price, the CEO of a company called Gravity Payments, a credit card processing company located in Seattle, Washington, announced that he was cutting his own salary and raising the minimum annual salaries for everyone in his company to $50,000 immediately and over the next three years, years, to $70,000.

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