Saturday, October 28, 2006

Word from the Poverty Front

Being on the margins ain't easy

"In sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, the oil crisis is not a vexing 'cost crunch'; it is an unfolding catastrophe that could set back efforts to reduce poverty and promote economic development for years."
Abdoulaye Wade, president of the Republic of Senegal
Africa Over A Barrel
[We often forget that what inconveniences the American middle class can devastate those living on the margins. In fact, we often forget there are people living on the margins both here and abroad]

“A child does not consent. The loss of choice, the deception, the use of frauds, the keeping of someone at work with little or no pay, the threats if they leave — it is slavery.”
John R. Miller, the director of the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, referring to child labor in Africa
Africa’s World of Forced Labor, in a 6-Year-Old’s Eyes
[Even if they are not forced laborers, children always pay the highest price for poverty.]

"When you grow up here, you always have the feeling that you are being associated with garbage."
Aissata Tounkara, who won an annual contest for the most innovative business proposal, referring to Argenteuil, France
A Voice for France's Suburban Poor
[In the industrialized world, we like to quarantine our poor. The psychological impact of living in these ghettoes is hard to overcome unless you are extraordinary. Even then you can still feel like others consider you 'garbage.']

“This upstate cluster — no matter how successful — is not going to create a lot of manufacturing jobs, and it is not going to be an answer for the problem we have in upstate New York of the shrinking job base in traditional blue-collar manufacturing.”
Richard Deitz, a senior economist at theFederal Reserve Bank of New York’s Buffalo branch, referring to an effort to create an industrial cluster in upstate New York, based on microelectronics and nanotechnology
New York Bets on High-Tech to Aid Upstate
[Those who have lost their blue-collar manufacturing jobs ought to be very angry that everyone seems to be more concerned about the overall health of the economy or the tax base of their state or region. To be overlooked routinely must make some feel like 'garbage.']

“We have the most reckless and relentless consumers in the world. It’s wonderful.”
David Kelly, economic adviser at Putnam Investments in Boston
Growth Slackened in Summer
[Americans have been pulling equity out of their homes at more than a $700 billion annual rate, to finance that recklessness. With the weakening home prices and adjustable rate mortgages going up, many are going to be caught in crunches and find that the new bankruptcy laws offer little relief. Just what is 'wonderful' about their plight?]


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