Learning Change

Learning Change Project: 8 Blogs, 6960 Readings

Posts Tagged ‘poverty

Austerity, Poverty and Inequality – Caritas Europa Report

Greece has received fresh ammunition in its negotiations with creditors, as a new report about poverty in bailed-out countries paints a grim picture of the social cost of austerity. “The people paying the highest price currently are those who had no part in the decisions that led to the crisis, and the countries worst affected are amongst those with the biggest gaps in their social protection systems,” according to the latest “Crisis Monitoring Report” published Thursday (19 February 2015) by Caritas Europa, a pan-European charity. The study was carried out in seven countries who were particularly hit by the crisis and/or received international financial assistance in the past years: Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain. The report examines the situation of children, working poor, the unemployed, migrants and people with disabilities. Greece – currently at the crux of the anti-austerity debate in Europe – stands out as a particularly problematic case. Caritas Greece runs a soup kitchen and clothing delivery project, which has seen demand increase over the past year, both for Greek people and immigrants. “The number of Greek people that avail themselves of the social common meals has, in the observation of Caritas Greece, increased at an exponential rate – many of these people were until recently successful freelancers but now have no money to satisfy their basic living needs,” the report reads. “Within the past year, in particular, Caritas Greece has pointed to serious reductions in both income and purchasing capacity affecting all those on low wages, including the working poor, pointing in particular to the hardship caused by increased electricity charges and transport costs,” it adds. The left-wing government led by Alexis Tsipras, elected last month, has repeatedly spoken of a “humanitarian crisis” that the bailout-linked austerity has brought upon Greece. The Tsipras government has promised to pardon half of the debt of those who cannot afford to pay their taxes and focus on the rich tax-evading Greeks.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

February 19, 2015 at 11:07 am

Anthropologies of Class: Power, Practice and Inequality

Rising social, political and economic inequality in many countries, and rising protest against it, has seen the restoration of the concept of ‘class‘ to a prominent place in contemporary anthropological debates. A timely intervention in these discussions, this book explores the concept of class and its importance for understanding the key sources of that inequality and of people’s attempts to deal with it. Highly topical, it situates class within the context of the current economic crisis, integrating elements from today into the discussion of an earlier agenda. Using cases from North and South America, Western Europe and South Asia, it shows the – sometimes surprising – forms that class can take, as well as the various effects it has on people’s lives and societies.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

November 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm

The Economics of Revolution

A new paradigm is organically evolving: new economic systems, sustainable communities, solar energy, organic farming, liquid democracy, worker co-ops and new media. For all the problems we are confronted by, there are existing viable solutions. There is much to feel positive about. A decentralized global uprising is undermining systems of centralized and consolidated power. A new world is being born. However, as exciting as the evolution presently occurring is, after extensive research I am forced to confront the fact that I do not see how emerging solutions will reach a critical mass and create the needed change before the affects of inequality, poverty and the overall deterioration of society will lead to widespread chaos and violence. As much as I wish this wasn’t the case, as much as I want to just disengage from the status quo and focus on the implementation of local solutions, we cannot ignore the urgent need for significant systemic change on a mass scale now.

Read: Part IPart IIPart III

Written by Giorgio Bertini

October 29, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Poor Transitions – Social Exclusion and Young Adults

This study set out to explore what had become of young people living in the poorest neighbourhoods of the poorest town in Britain, several years after we first contacted them. As they moved into young adulthood, had their longer-term experiences of disadvantage changed or stayed the same? While individuals reported feeling considerable subjective change in their lives, because of key turning points and critical moments (especially in respect of family and housing, and among offenders and dependent drug users), their objective circumstances had remained constant and their experiences of poverty persisted. Despite continued commitment to finding and getting better work, most were still experiencing poor, low-waged, intermittent work at the bottom of the labour market. After obtaining poor school qualifications, further poor quality training and education had not improved their employment prospects. This lack of progression had ramifications in other aspects of their lives, resulting in social exclusion. Few had established ties into networks beyond their close personal associations. Their social networks had become smaller in scope, more focused on immediate family and friends and even more embedded in their immediate neighbourhoods. This further restricted wider support and longer-term education, training and employment opportunities.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

October 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Poverty, Disease, and the Ecology of Complex Systems

Understanding why some human populations remain persistently poor remains a significant challenge for both the social and natural sciences. The extremely poor are generally reliant on their immediate natural resource base for subsistence and suffer high rates of mortality due to parasitic and infectious diseases. Economists have developed a range of models to explain persistent poverty, often characterized as poverty traps, but these rarely account for complex biophysical processes. In this Essay, we argue that by coupling insights from ecology and economics, we can begin to model and understand the complex dynamics that underlie the generation and maintenance of poverty traps, which can then be used to inform analyses and possible intervention policies. To illustrate the utility of this approach, we present a simple coupled model of infectious diseases and economic growth, where poverty traps emerge from nonlinear relationships determined by the number of pathogens in the system. These nonlinearities are comparable to those often incorporated into poverty trap models in the economics literature, but, importantly, here the mechanism is anchored in core ecological principles. Coupled models of this sort could be usefully developed in many economically important biophysical systems—such as agriculture, fisheries, nutrition, and land use change—to serve as foundations for deeper explorations of how fundamental ecological processes influence structural poverty and economic development.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

April 21, 2014 at 11:37 am

On the Children Misery Gap

Harvard academic Robert Putnam – ‘America is moving toward a caste society’ –  Basically all parts of American society are failing these kids. Poor kids in America now, compared to 30 years ago, have been ignored and isolated by every major social institution. They’re no longer as connected to their family.  They’re no longer as connected to the schools. They’re no longer as connected to the community institutions, the churches, the Scouts. They have fewer mentors and friends. You can see the number of people they say that they trust and they can talk to is declining. It’s not that this is an adolescent epidemic of paranoia. If you talk to these kids it’s perfectly clear that it would be nuts for them to say that you could trust other people because everybody in their lives has failed them. There used to be a whole dense civil society who worried about all the kids in the neighbourhoodMost parts of that fabric have disappeared over the last 20 years. So if a chick falls from a nest in a working-class neighbourhood it used to be there was a net there to catch them. Now if a chick falls out of the nest — real people in real neighbourhoods that we’ve talked to — there is just nothing down there to catch the kids except gangs. I’m not talking about just ethnic minorities; I’m talking about white kids.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

April 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Posted in Children, Misery, Poverty

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The Human Rights Approach to Social Protection

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One pressing omission to date is the complete absence from the discussion of the human rights implications and outcomes of social protection programmes. This is a significant analytical gap that must be filled. Considering the extensive human rights obligations which States possess by virtue of the multitude of international human rights treaties, and given that all UN agencies have committed to mainstreaming human rights throughout the UN system, the lack of a systematic discussion of social protection from a human rights perspective is problematic. States are subject to legally-binding domestic and international obligations to ensure that human rights guide the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all public policies, and these obligations must be applied to social protection programmes.

Accordingly, for the past four years the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (the Special Rapporteur), Magdalena Sepúlveda, has focussed her work on developing the human rights framework for social protection.

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Read also: Human rights to participation of people living in poverty

Human rights to access justice for persons living in poverty

Ways in which States and social forces penalize those living in poverty

Written by Giorgio Bertini

June 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Poor kids help at home but hide at school, or the dynamics of Exclusion

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Children from poor families cope by hiding their situation from teachers and peers. The study sheds light on the demanding circumstances under which poor children interact with other children – and adults. At home a poor child will tend to take more responsibility in an attempt to tackle and mitigate the family’s economic situation. They don’t nag their parents for money and they alert them well ahead of time if they will need money for something. Another coping strategy these children use is to be withdrawn in social situations. The children told the researcher that not having money for bus fare or trendy brands of clothes is less of a concern than the impact of their poverty on their relationships with other kids. The problem is not that poor children are bullied, excluded or stigmatized because of their situation – in fact, this does not happen that all that often. But problems arise because poor children often exclude themselves socially to conceal their situation. Their peers might then see them as being boring or weird. The link between humiliation and poverty doesn’t seem to be obvious to anyone except poor children themselves. The invisible child.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

April 20, 2013 at 11:04 am

Posted in Children, Poverty

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