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» babble   » walking the talk   » labour and consumption   » I hate the term "child poverty".

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Author Topic: I hate the term "child poverty".
Michelle
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Babbler # 560

posted 27 November 2007 01:40 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've seen the latest report today about BC having the highest rates of "child poverty".

I think that's such a meaningless term. It smacks of the whole "deserving poor" and "undeserving poor" thing. Children, of course, deserve not to be poor. But who gives a shit about their parents' poverty, even though the reason children are poor is because their PARENTS are poor?

Nothing meaningful can be said or done about poverty when we only talk in terms of children who are poor. "Child poverty" is directly about adult poverty. Or, perhaps, "family poverty".

Now, if we want to talk about certain demographics who are more likely to be poor, like women, or people of colour, or younger workers, that's meaningful, because then it's possible to explore systemic reasons why poverty happens to those people more than it happens overall, and to think about targeted solutions.

But "child poverty" isn't about that, because there's no way of making targeted solutions for children who live in poverty without targeting their parents as well. Which is why "child poverty" is such a misnomer. I guess it was coined because we're supposed to feel bad abut poor children, but not for poor parents of children.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 27 November 2007 02:14 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I dunno. I dislike the term 'working poor', so I see what you're getting at. But we all know that children's education outcomes depend a great deal on what they have to deal with at home, and that education is a huge indicator for lifetime income. And the older you get, the harder it becomes to acquire new skills.

If resources are limited, it makes sense to think about where they would be most likely to reduce poverty. Hauling a child out of the poverty trap means that her children and their descendants will have a decent chance of staying out of it. It's much, much harder to do the same for an adult.

None of which means that a Guaranteed Annual Income wouldn't be a good idea (and one I support). But it does suggest that focusing on getting children out of poverty is still a good idea.


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The Wizard of Socialism
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posted 27 November 2007 02:23 PM      Profile for The Wizard of Socialism   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You just made me flash on something. Superstore has "President's Choice" as their house brand. Sobey's has "Complements." Can you imagine some company coming out with "Working Poor" as a brand? Working Poor (tm) Mac & Cheese - only 49 cents a box.
From: A Proud Canadian! | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
E.Ripley
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posted 27 November 2007 02:40 PM      Profile for E.Ripley        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Gordon:
None of which means that a Guaranteed Annual Income wouldn't be a good idea (and one I support).

What if the GAI was wasted on beer and drugs, or used at the casino? The kids would still be without. Better to issue food stamps or some sort of ration boolket, and send rent payments directly to the landlord. It may seem like nannyism, but if we truly wish what's best for the child then this may need to be implemented.


From: Canada | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged
The Wizard of Socialism
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posted 27 November 2007 03:12 PM      Profile for The Wizard of Socialism   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sure, food stamps are an excellent way to demean and embarass poor people. If that's what you're going for. I think Canada can do without food stamps.
From: A Proud Canadian! | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 27 November 2007 03:14 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah. We already have mechanisms for identifying parents whose demons are stronger than their desires to be good parents.
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The Wizard of Socialism
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posted 27 November 2007 03:20 PM      Profile for The Wizard of Socialism   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Even if we didn't - food stamps are not the Canadian Way. They're an American invention, designed to allow people to access food, but in the shittiest manner possible. Incentive to get off the dole, you know. Not very sporting. Not at all.
From: A Proud Canadian! | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 27 November 2007 03:27 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Does anyone seriously think affluent people don't drink (good microbrew) beer, fine wines and spirits? Or snort a wee line of coke? Or go on "gaming" holidays?

People have a right to enjoy themselves, and (though I have very serious disagreements about accessibility with Stephen, in terms of tuition fees) I agree with him that there are other ways of identifying people with serious mental-health problems - whether substance abuse or gambling addiction is involved or not - that are detrimental to parenting. Starving the kids doesn't help, and of course people can traffic food stamps or any other demeaning shite.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
E.Ripley
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posted 27 November 2007 03:29 PM      Profile for E.Ripley        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I thought this thread was about what's best for the kids. Who cares if the parents feel embarassed?
From: Canada | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged
The Wizard of Socialism
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posted 27 November 2007 03:32 PM      Profile for The Wizard of Socialism   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bullshit. This thread was created to poor bash. That's the meat of it. And I'm full.

I don't mean the actual thread. Just the crap about the advocation of food stamps and the direction it was going.

[ 27 November 2007: Message edited by: The Wizard of Socialism ]


From: A Proud Canadian! | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 27 November 2007 03:32 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by E.Ripley:
I thought this thread was about what's best for the kids. Who cares if the parents feel embarassed?

No-one. But parents are generally best-suited and most-motivated to decide what is best for their kids. Not always, and we should keep an eye out for those cases. But generally.

[ 27 November 2007: Message edited by: Stephen Gordon ]


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Fidel
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posted 27 November 2007 03:52 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I dislike the term "working poor" too. It's so unrefined, especially when Jack Layton and other NDP'ers use it so often in describing the second-largest low wage, non-unionized workforce in the developed world next to the U.S.A.'s Dickens-Darwinian model. Perhaps if everyone referred to the working poor as low wage philanthropists", it might sound more dignified. It might help corporate North America redeem themselves. Not all of them are penny-pinching Scrooges with friends in government and who tip the balance of power in favour of corporate power at key times. Some of them, at times, want to be known as upstanding members of society who preside over key pillars of our private sector economy for the good of the country. And I'd really like to believe that sometimes.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 27 November 2007 04:10 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by E.Ripley:

What if the GAI was wasted on beer and drugs, or used at the casino? The kids would still be without. Better to issue food stamps or some sort of ration boolket, and send rent payments directly to the landlord. It may seem like nannyism, but if we truly wish what's best for the child then this may need to be implemented.


The slumlords and rabbit warren rentier class already take the lion's share of welfare cheques. The vast majority of welfare recipients and working po' don't have money to burn in casinos or on cases of beer. Canada's desperately poor would have to scratch their way up to working poor to afford good living like that.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
oldgoat
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posted 27 November 2007 04:37 PM      Profile for oldgoat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
E.Ripley, you are poor bashing. That is contrary to the spirit of rabble as well as policy. That would be an official type moderator warning. You're post reflects a highly paternalistic and uninformed mindset about confronting the issue of poverty.

As I often say when I'm posting on the run, and don't have time to really get into it, I strongly suggest that you re read the babble policy statement, and then lurk for a while until you are familiar with the culture of the board you just signed onto.


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arborman
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posted 27 November 2007 05:15 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To get back to the original post, I actually think that 'child poverty' is an effective means of getting a point across. It isn't perfect, but it does give those who would otherwise ignore poverty very little wriggle room in terms of avoiding an issue.

It is a carefully thought out approach to policy advocacy, that takes into account our current social and political context.

But maybe I'm just being a little defensive.


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Ward
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posted 27 November 2007 05:26 PM      Profile for Ward     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't object to food stamps. As long as I can get get beer stamps and hockey game stamps and new car stamps too. (a while I'm at it throw in a set of house stamps as well.)
From: Scarborough | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 27 November 2007 05:29 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I think that's such a meaningless term. It smacks of the whole "deserving poor" and "undeserving poor" thing. Children, of course, deserve not to be poor. But who gives a shit about their parents' poverty, even though the reason children are poor is because their PARENTS are poor?

Thank you. It is another example of creating a disconnect between the real problem and the marketing and, not surprisingly, efforts at reducing both the problem and the marketing have failed.

From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 27 November 2007 06:12 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think one of the reasons for defining child poverty, is because it's viewed like this: if people don't give a shit about the welfare of children, then where will a line be drawn? The next step backward in time is child labour. Because at that point, children can be paid a lot less than adults. And don't think the bastards would not be(pardon the pun) as small minded. Child poverty should always be viewed as the most despicable level of deprivation and not to be tolerated in a civilized society.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Le Téléspectateur
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posted 27 November 2007 07:37 PM      Profile for Le Téléspectateur     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I think one of the reasons for defining child poverty, is because it's viewed like this: if people don't give a shit about the welfare of children, then where will a line be drawn? The next step backward in time is child labour. Because at that point, children can be paid a lot less than adults. And don't think the bastards would not be(pardon the pun) as small minded. Child poverty should always be viewed as the most despicable level of deprivation and not to be tolerated in a civilized society.

I would not be surprised if there was a child "workfare" program somewhere in North America.

And I know many people whose kids' paper routes contribute to the family economy.

ETA: There is also unpaid labour, like older kids picking up childcare duties while parents are at work.

[ 27 November 2007: Message edited by: Le Téléspectateur ]


From: More here than there | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 27 November 2007 08:05 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Le Téléspectateur:

I would not be surprised if there was a child "workfare" program somewhere in North America.


You are absolutely correct. There are child labourers in Mexico stitching jeans and other clothing items for GAP, Tommy Hilfiger and more.

And in Central America, Salvadoran children as young as five and six are cutting sugar cane with machetes under the tropical sun all day. And many school aged children in El Salvador spend long days at landfill sites rummaging through garbage, human excrement and medical waste looking for trinkets to sell. These are gross violations of children's rights happening right here in this hemisphere and within a few day's drive of president dubya's home state of Texas.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
scooter
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posted 28 November 2007 02:44 PM      Profile for scooter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Le Téléspectateur:
And I know many people whose kids' paper routes contribute to the family economy.[ 27 November 2007: Message edited by: Le Téléspectateur ]

Same here, its kind of sad.

From: High River | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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