Some Thoughts On Poverty From Various Authors

“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”

Neil Gaiman

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

Mother Teresa

“You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.”

Frank McCourt

“We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.”

Immanuel Kant

Currently Reading: Evicted: Poverty And Profit In The American City By Matthew Desmond

Evicted: Poverty And Profit In The American City by Matthew Desmond explores the poorest neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and tells the reader the story of eight families and their plight in living day to day. Two landlords determine their futures and whether they are put out into a shelter or even worse, out on the street.

Here are some interesting statistics from the book thus far:

“Today, the majority of poor renting families in America spend over half of their income on housing, and at least one in four dedicates over 70 percent to paying the rent and keeping the lights on. Millions of Americans are evicted every year because they can’t make rent. In Milwaukee, a city of fewer than 105,000 renter households, landlords evict roughly 16,000 adults and children each year. That’s sixteen families evicted through the court system daily.”

“If you count all forms of involuntary displacement—formal and informal evictions, landlord foreclosures, building condemnations—you discover that between 2009 and 2011 more than 1 in 8 Milwaukee renters experienced a forced move.”

“In a typical year, almost 1 in 5 poor renting families nationwide missed payments and received a disconnection notice from their utility company.”

“As much as $6 billion worth of power was pirated across America every year. Only cars and credit cards got stolen more.”

Some reviews of the book for your enjoyment:

From The New York Times

From The Guardian.com

An article by the author in The New Yorker

Here are also some videos that may be on interest:

Syntopical Reading On Poverty (A Partial List)

I am extremely interested in learning more on poverty and its effects on our society and what are some solutions that seem to have promise. My wife and I have previously worked with homeless and through our church at a budget apartment complex if you could call it that. It was pretty dismal and the problems seemed somewhat insurmountable. It was very depressing working with them hoping to make progress in their lives. This is a partial list for our readers who may be interested in this subject. Please leave a comment if you have other titles that would be applicable.

(1) $2.00 A Day: Living On Almost Nothing In America (2015) Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

I have finished reading this and it was an eye-opener in the daily struggles that people are going through to get by.

(2) Stuck In Place: Urban Neighborhoods And The End Of Progress Toward Racial Equality (2013) Patrick Sharkey

This includes a discussion of inheritance and how the poor inherit certain characteristics from their parents which can cause several generations of poor and disenfranchised.

(3) In The Shadow Of The Poorhouse: A Social History Of Welfare In America (1986) Michael Katz

The author discusses the history of welfare and the role of politics and how it has played out.

(4) Marked: Race, Crime, And Finding Work In An Era Of Mass Incarceration (2007) Devah Pager

This gives the reader a much clearer understanding of how incarceration affects people in finding work and making progress in their lives.

(5) Work Over Welfare: The Inside Story Of The 1996 Welfare Reform Law (2006) Ron Haskins

This book looks at the politics of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act and the effects it has had on the poor.

(6) Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980 (1984) Charles Murray

Charles Murray examines social policy from the 1950’s to the 1980’s and argues that these overly ambitious programs actually made people in worse condition.

(7) It’s Not Like I’m Poor: How Working Families Make Ends Meet In A Post-Welfare World (2015) Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Kathryn Edin, Laura Tach, and Jennifer Sykes

The authors discuss the earned income tax credit with over one hundred families and its effects.

(8) American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, And A Nation’s Drive To End Welfare (2004) Jason DeParle

Deparle relates the story of three women who are cousins and the paths that they take in moving toward the American Dream from the depths of welfare.

(9) The Most Southern Place On Earth: The Mississippi Delta And The Roots Of Regional Identity (1994) James C. Cobb

A classic look at the Mississippi Delta and its history of rich farmland and extreme poverty in the poorest counties, most likely in the entire United States.

(10) Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare And Low-Wage Work (1997) Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein

From 1997, the authors point out that low-wage single mothers are worse off than single mothers on welfare. It also shows that neither these low wages or welfare are enough to sustain their families.

Some Thoughts On Poverty From Various Authors

“Poverty is the worst form of violence.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“It is too difficult to think nobly when one thinks only of earning a living.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

Mother Teresa

“The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq while the United Nations estimates that for less than half that amount we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitations services and basic education to every person on the planet. And we wonder why terrorists attack us.”

John Perkins Confessions Of An Economic Hitman

“It is very expensive to give bad medical care to poor people in a rich country.”

Paul Farmer

Books On Interest: Education and Poverty

The Teacher Wars: A History Of America’s Most Embattled Profession by Dana Goldstein

The author uses history to point out to us how teachers have been, not only now, but over the past two centuries, an embattled profession and approaches such as merit raises, getting rid of veteran teachers, and charter schools have all been used in the past with little or no success.

I have included a video with the author discussing the book:

$2.00 A Day:Living On Almost Nothing In America by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

Did you know that there are over 1.5 million American families and over 3 million children that exist on $2.00 per day? I will be honest, I had no clue! The authors show us an America that shows us families in survival mode and that have to come up with creative ways to make money in order to make a below poverty wage. This goes along with what has become a major topic in our country about inequality.