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Author Topic: The folly of poor-bashing
Michelle
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posted 24 August 2004 04:22 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Three years ago, in the heart of a heat wave, Kimberly Rogers died in her apartment in Sudbury, Ontario. She was eight months pregnant. Her death, writes CAW President Buzz Hargrove, drives home why policies based on prejudice never serve any public good.

Canadian Auto Workers


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 24 August 2004 04:45 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
A large food bank recently surveyed its users receiving welfare and asked them why they were on assistance instead of working. Some of the answers are worth noting. If you need a prescription drug and the only jobs you can find are at, or close to, minimum wage, with no benefits - how can you quit welfare if this is the only way you can keep drug coverage? If you have small children to raise and there's no affordable, safe child care, how can you work without abandoning your children?

Many welfare recipients reported being disabled. They should be on disability benefits, but about half of all people who apply are denied. In many cases, people who are eligible to collect disability benefits simply give up in despair. Being poor, they don't have the resources to fight a powerful government bureaucracy.


Prescription drug costs is the main reason that my son remains on welfare. His costs escalate to almost $700/mo at times. That's a lot of cash to come up with at low wage rates, pretty near impossible for most people.

I had to fight CPP for 4 years to get a disability pension. I had notified welfare that I was doing this, so that my CPP backpay would be repaid to them. After that, I had to refile my income tax for those years, at my own expense. Then I had to fight with Revenue Canada for a year to receive the appropriate income tax rebates so I wouldn't have to pay hundreds of dollars in back taxes.

This was my reward for being honest. Many people I know, didn't notify welfare and just kept the backpay and challenged welfare to try and collect the backpay. Welfare in these cases can not collect as you can't get blood from a stone. By the time welfare found out, the money had already been spent.


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 24 August 2004 04:46 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Three years ago, in the middle of a heat wave, Kimberly Rogers died in her apartment in Sudbury, Ontario. She was eight months pregnant. Her death makes it so clear why policies based on
prejudice and ignorance never serve any public good.

According to the Coroner's report, she took her own life with an overdose of drugs. As such, her death doesn't "make it clear". Far from it.

And since we know she didn't die of heat or pregnancy, why are these inevitably mentioned as though she had?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
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posted 24 August 2004 05:03 PM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by windymustang:

Prescription drug costs is the main reason that my son remains on welfare. His costs escalate to almost $700/mo at times. That's a lot of cash to come up with at low wage rates, pretty near impossible for most people.


Cases like this are the reason why we should have a national pharmacare program.


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
beverly
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posted 24 August 2004 05:04 PM      Profile for beverly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
And since we know she didn't die of heat or pregnancy, why are these inevitably mentioned as though she had?

Could it be because a pregnant woman locked up in a hot apartment just might be driven to commit suicide???

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: beverly ]


From: In my Apartment!!!! | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 24 August 2004 05:05 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Kimberly Roger's is dead, Magoo. It doesn't matter to conservative types now anymore than it did then. That's as clear now as it was when tens of thousands were being kicked off welfare roles.

The inquest also found that Ontario's social assistance rates are woefully inadequate in supporting a subsistence existence. She wasn't buying cases of beer and cigarettes.

Canada is losing Ed Broadbent's and the UN declared war on child poverty. Canada has one of the worst infant mortality rates of developed nations and just better than the US and Mexico's.

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 24 August 2004 05:12 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Cases like this are the reason why we should have a national pharmacare program.


I agree Gir

From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 24 August 2004 05:20 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Could it be because a pregnant woman locked up in a hot apartment just might be driven to commit suicide???

It could be, although the report I read cited ongoing family difficulties as the chief factor.

It could also just be more inflammatory.

quote:
The inquest also found that Ontario's social assistance rates are woefully inadequate in supporting a subsistence existence.

I'm not arguing with any of the coroner's recommendations. I'm just noting that when nobody knew how she died, speculation was rampant that she had died of heatstroke, that she had died from inadequate nutrition, that she had somehow been "murdered" by government policy.

Now we know, thanks to the coroner's report, that she died of a drug overdose. But nobody ever mentions the drug overdose. They mention the heat, the house arrest, and her pregnancy, and they hope we'll put two and two together to make five.

I find it all very manipulative. When we didn't know how she died then it was just speculation, and maybe making a little hay, but now it's inexcusably dishonest.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 24 August 2004 05:23 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But she killed herself. That's the extent of the politically conservative's curiosity into a broader issue affecting society. Deep.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
beverly
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posted 24 August 2004 05:41 PM      Profile for beverly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
that she had somehow been "murdered" by government policy.

I think she was though. I mean -- you can't think that for what she did house arrest was the proper sentence at all can you?


From: In my Apartment!!!! | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 24 August 2004 05:41 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The fact that she killed herself, and the broader social issue aren't one and the same thing.

So if they think of Kimberly Rogers and think "Oh, she took her life as thousands each year do" they're not ignoring anything. Until there's a connection between her house arrest and her suicide, besides trite assumptions, then what reason should they have for connecting the two?

Here's one for you though: every year a few men who are not awarded custody of their children, and who feel themselves unduly burdened by family court, take their lives. Can you name any of them? Does the fact that you can't mean you don't care about Family Justice? Or do you see their suicides as separate and distinct from the concept of custody and support? Did the family courts "kill" these men in the same way you may feel the government of Ontario "killed" Kimberly Rogers, or are their suicides their choice but hers wasn't?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
beverly
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posted 24 August 2004 05:46 PM      Profile for beverly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
every year a few men who are not awarded custody of their children, and who feel themselves unduly burdened by family court, take their lives. Can you name any of them?

Unfortunately I can name one. He was a really good friend of mine and he did it Christmas Eve in his garage. I don't know what that proves at all.


From: In my Apartment!!!! | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 24 August 2004 06:12 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
The fact that she killed herself, and the broader social issue aren't one and the same thing.

So where's "le joi de vivre" in our society since political conservatism highjacked the social contract beginning in the 1980's ?.

People in Europe, China, Cuba, Singapore, India and more nations simply go to school, Magoo. They aren't required to haggle with small minded dod damned conservative politicians and bureacrat over the cost of living.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
peskyunderclass
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posted 24 August 2004 06:35 PM      Profile for peskyunderclass     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As much as I admire the kimberly rogers commitee for doing everything they have been doing over the past few years.I think people have lost sight of things.
I think that government spin doctors and well meaning leftists have really fucked the intended message up a little bit. The Kimberly Rogers situations key points are beyond that of the suicide or kimberly rogers herself.
It's about People getting arrested for trying to better there lives (by getting some sort of education so you aren't doomed to Social assistance forrever.
About a corrupt cold hearted government making something a crime that shouldn't be (collecting OSAP and social assistance would make it easier for students to get through there edcation.
Other female MPs within opposition have admited that if it were against the Law when they were in her shoes they would have been starving.
It's about a Government that cut social assistance to the point that in a place like sudbury where the vacancy rates are extremely low and the rent (for most Sudbury slums)is at around $350 for something a bit smaller than you would pay $500 + for in Toronto)Groceries will need to be padded by a food bank half way through the month.
It is also not mentioned that at the time of her house arrest she was also for a short period banned from collecting social assistance (so she could have just as easily starved to death with nobody in the Gov' giving a shit as well.
But this was fought in court and during her period while on house arrest she was given a reduced amount of assistance I beleive.
As Somebody that Suffers from Depression (as Kimberly was described) and as someone totally isolated while on house arrest in an area even more rural than "greater sudbury", I do know a bit about the strain that is put on you.
When deppressed people are supposed to make there best effort at remaining social and out of doors she was secluded in a scorching apartment.Added to the pressure is the insecurity of having to pick up all the peices again when the states done with you.
The permanent end of any social safety net to help you pick up those peices. The stress of having a kid in your belly but no food.
your dependance on your family and your landlord to understand that your getting screwed and can't earn a living.Every one of us has our breaking point, I thought I've seen mine over and over again but for some reason I'm still alive. The real kicker is that these politicians have commited greater crimes but it pays to be the law makers.
At least it makes it easier to taunt the law breakers (look at the teachers strike for example - make a law to make sure you come out law abiding and they come off as criminals).
I've been to fancy hotels where eligibility tribunals were being waged over a person feeling entitled to be fed and housed after welfare forced her into a telemarketing firm workfare program whose lighting and computer screens were making her sick and giving her headaches every day (or at least something in the old building was)At the same time millions get wasted on good ol' Anderson Consulting on Computer programing aiming to cut as many people out of there $520.00 a month.
They spend more money poor bashing than they do helping people. Just like they spend more money on cops than they do social assistance probably because jails will soon have a greater ability of pushing people into shitty telemarketing jobs.

upon editing
(sorry about that folks it's hard to see how things look until it's put into the forum, plus I was too busy ranting to even read).

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: peskyunderclass ]

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: peskyunderclass ]

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: peskyunderclass ]


From: Sulfer City | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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posted 24 August 2004 07:17 PM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The enter key is the big one above the shift.
From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 24 August 2004 07:23 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The fact that she killed herself, and the broader social issue aren't one and the same thing.
So if they think of Kimberly Rogers and think "Oh, she took her life as thousands each year do" they're not ignoring anything. Until there's a connection between her house arrest and her suicide, besides trite assumptions, then what reason should they have for connecting the two?

Expert on suicide are we now.

The connection between poverty,isolation,marginalization and suicide is actually well established.

No it is not a simple deterministic equation it is a probablistic relationship in which certain social condtions will increase the risk of suicide.

So yes suicide and the "social issue" are the same suicide actually is a social issue.

But hey if you want to know about suicide why ask a mental health worker who deals with it every day.

Excellent post pesky but if you break up the text as Jacob is suggesting it makes for easier reading.

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: N.R.KISSED ]


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Debra
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posted 24 August 2004 07:28 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Great post peskyunderclass

Thanks N. R. perhaps Mr. Magoo would like to tell us of his experience of being pregnant since his has such great insight into how a pregnant, poor and being royally screwed by the government woman feels.


From: The only difference between graffiti & philosophy is the word fuck... | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 24 August 2004 07:55 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Master of empathy our magoo would put Carl Rogers to shame.
From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 24 August 2004 08:38 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Expert on suicide are we now.

Lemme guess: because I haven't killed myself, I don't know, right? Is that what you're getting at?

What I do know is that it is, apparently, possible to be pregnant and on welfare without kiling oneself. It's even, apparently, possible to be pregnant in prison. I will concede that this observation comes only from seeing pregnant women in prison who were alive, and not from my personal experience as a pregnant woman. Given that it's really hard to conclude that the mean ol' guv'ment killed Kimberly Rogers, doncha think?

But how about the men who, upon not being granted custody of their children, and being asked to pay what they believed to be excessive support, killed themselves? Did the government kill them too? I ask because if you visit some of those kooky "Men's Justice" websites they'll make the claim that the government did, just as "Justice for Kimberly Rogers" groups will insist that the government killed her. Do government policies force people to suicide? If so then we need to examine welfare and house arrest, AND grant custody of children to fathers and not require them to pay child support... right? Or else we have to take the position that people commit suicide for many reasons, and that it's a choice, albeit a tragic one. If we take the position that people can be forced to commit suicide because they've been made to pay child support, or because their partner leaves them, or because they got fired, or because they were sentenced to stay at home, then we're going to have a field day in the courts.

Do we all need to be "experts" on suicide to know that the latter is NOT the case?

quote:
Thanks N. R. perhaps Mr. Magoo would like to tell us of his experience of being pregnant since his has such great insight into how a pregnant, poor and being royally screwed by the government woman feels.

Surely you can do better. How much first hand information do any of us have about being anything but what we are? Have you been an Israeli lately? An American? A man? Ya, I thought not. Have you ever commented on anything a man has ever done? How could you, since you have no idea what it's like to be a man?

Anyway, the coroner, who knows more than you or I are ever likely to, established that family issues were at the forefront of Kimberly's problems. How come that always takes a backseat to the fact that she was sentenced to house arrest? It wouldn't have anything to do with, oh, I don't know... making a little hay, perhaps?

quote:
Master of empathy our magoo would put Carl Rogers to shame.

This isn't an issue of empathy. You too could do better. Seriously. Suggesting that I'm somehow heartless for preferring the truth to someone's spin is really picking the low hanging fruit, NRK.

peskyunderclass: thank you for being able to separate the issues of poverty and social assistance from Kimberly Rogers and her suicide. I couldn't care less about the line breaks.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Debra
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posted 24 August 2004 08:51 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
*sigh* magoo I thought we had the beginning of something special.

But truly having had six kids I think I may have just a titch more insight into how she felt/


From: The only difference between graffiti & philosophy is the word fuck... | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
thwap
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posted 24 August 2004 09:06 PM      Profile for thwap        Edit/Delete Post
Getting bitter in our old age Mr. Magoo?

Splitting hairs over whether it was the house arrest, the depression, the fear, family issues, poverty, that caused Ms. Rogers to kill herself?

Here's a no-brainer for you: If a man loses access to his children, and is given crushing support obligations, and finds that his children have been trained to hate or fear him, and he commits suicide, then I'd say yes the system killed him.

[note: the above doesn't mean (as you tried to insist it does) that divorced fathers should be granted custody instead of mothers, or that divorced fathers should be exempt from support obligations.]

If a stupid jack-ass like Mike Harris sentences a woman to house arrest, threatens to cut off all means of support for her, publicly shames her, while she's depressed, has family problems, and is pregnant and alone, then I'd say stupid jack-ass Mike Harris did have a hand in her death by suicide.

We should try to make our society such that as few people as possible are driven to suicide, for whatever reasons. This isn't too hard to figure out.

(Oh, and I'm aware that it was a number of lower-level functionaries who did all these things, not Mike Harris personally, ... just in case you thought that needed correcting.)


From: Hamilton | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 24 August 2004 09:14 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Why not? Everyone else split hairs and chose the house arrest as the reason she died. Then it was the reason she killed herself.

Actually agreeing with the coroner in the face of overwhelming social opposition isn't a bad thing and if hairs are to be split, then at least magoo picked the non-split-end.

From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Debra
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posted 24 August 2004 09:14 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
for thwap

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: Debra ]


From: The only difference between graffiti & philosophy is the word fuck... | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Debra
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posted 24 August 2004 09:15 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
oops

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: Debra ]


From: The only difference between graffiti & philosophy is the word fuck... | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
peskyunderclass
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posted 24 August 2004 09:21 PM      Profile for peskyunderclass     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Anyway, the coroner, who knows more than you or I are ever likely to, established that family issues were at the forefront of Kimberly's problems

In what way were family issues at the fore front of the problem? And Could an overwhelming reliance on her family due to being cut off the dole have exacerbated this situation?

Don't you think being punished for getting a loan and social assistance at the same time would have improved her outlook on the fairness of the world and the chances for her and her unborn child within all this?

I don't know but when the government needlessly toys with me and my future it tends to make me feel a little helpless.
My latest court battles make me feel like giving up every afternoon that I wake up. Being forced to accept house arrest as a bail condition for a crime I'm absolutely innocent of and forcing me into unsteady relationships with a parent I never really got along with adds a lot more stress.
I also know that people could handle my situation a lot better than I have but I can't even find the energy to wake up and trying to sleep is hard when my overstressed brain refuses to shut down.

I also know if the government wasn't on my back I'd be working or going to school or doing something to get my mind off of things instead of sitting here waiting to go to jail.

No matter what the case was Ms. Rogers could have used a lot more support from this society in dealing with the problems she faces. Activists in the community of Sudbury also blame themselves for not hearing about the Injustice inflicted upon Kimberly until after she died.
And the Government ain't getting any nicer to people.
What about cuts to CMHA funding?
Arbitrary Social assistance decisions and war on the poor tactics of stonewalling people entitled for bennefits?
or a million other claw backs people face as north american society becomes even less of a caring place that gives it's "human resource" less and less subsidy while corporations get a shit load more welfare.

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: peskyunderclass ]


From: Sulfer City | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 24 August 2004 09:26 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Aw. And here I was just getting up to take a bow.
From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
spiritbear
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posted 24 August 2004 09:35 PM      Profile for spiritbear     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:

I'm not arguing with any of the coroner's recommendations. I'm just noting that when nobody knew how she died, speculation was rampant that she had died of heatstroke, that she had died from inadequate nutrition, that she had somehow been "murdered" by government policy.

Now we know, thanks to the coroner's report, that she died of a drug overdose. But nobody ever mentions the drug overdose. They mention the heat, the house arrest, and her pregnancy, and they hope we'll put two and two together to make five.

I find it all very manipulative. When we didn't know how she died then it was just speculation, and maybe making a little hay, but now it's inexcusably dishonest.


I find manipulative and less than sympathetic that you would assume the factors determined during the inquest would not have led to the drug overdose.

I have not experienced pregnacy myself either but I have been with my wife while she was pregnant with four of our children. I can't tell you first hand how difficult it is but I imagine it is harder than anything I will experience.

If you add the stress of being confined to her apartment in extreme heat, inadequate nutrition, the excessive sentence, the possibility of going to prison and losing her child, plus the government pressure she was experiencing, I don't think it a great leap of logic to assume this contributed to the overdose.

quote:
What I do know is that it is, apparently, possible to be pregnant and on welfare without kiling oneself. It's even, apparently, possible to be pregnant in prison. I will concede that this observation comes only from seeing pregnant women in prison who were alive, and not from my personal experience as a pregnant woman.

It is possible for women in prison to be pregnant. They also have access to supports such as adequate nutrition, and the other factors that Kimberly Rogers did not have access to.

She wasn't murdered by government policy, but they certainly contributed to her suicide, and therefore policy must be examined and protocols put into place so this situation is never repeated again.

One death is more than enough.

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: spiritbear ]


From: Algonquin Park | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 24 August 2004 09:41 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And let's not forget Lewis Whelan who was just trying to earn enough money to go to college when he was made a triple amputee working for some fly-by night oufit via BrassCan. He died,too, during a heat wave. Let's get small and nit-pick about his situation, too, Magoo.

Meanwhile, kids in 13 social democracies, Cuba, Singapore and even Turkey, ffs, just go to school without haggling over the cost of Canadian school books printed in god damned Texas and skyrocketing tuitions in Canada with small minded god damned conservative politicians like Mike Harris or Ralph Klein or Paul Martin.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
thwap
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posted 24 August 2004 09:44 PM      Profile for thwap        Edit/Delete Post
Heywood,

Magoo quoted the coroner's report correctly. But the whole thing just seemed a little tasteless (in my opinion).

..nite all.


From: Hamilton | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 24 August 2004 09:48 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Meanwhile, kids in 13 social democracies, Cuba, Singapore and even Turkey, ffs, just go to school without haggling over the cost of Canadian school books printed in god damned Texas and skyrocketing tuitions in Canada with small minded god damned conservative politicians like Mike Harris or Ralph Klein or Paul Martin.

Ok. What are you getting at? I haven't seen any canadian school children haggle over the price of textbooks either. I've seen university students haggle but I'd take haggling over re-education camps any day.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 24 August 2004 09:54 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by HeywoodFloyd:

Ok. What are you getting at? I haven't seen any canadian school children haggle over the price of textbooks either. I've seen university students haggle but I'd take haggling over re-education camps any day.


Ok. Excuse me if I show you a little friendly disrespect in return, HeyWoodFloyd. We're talking about Canadian's struggling to access higher education. I believe this is what KR and LW were trying to achieve to try and better themselves and become taxpaying god damned Canadian citizens. Do-you-un-der-stand that ?. Or will you reply with yet another god damned small minded, irrelevant conservative comment ?.

Re-education camps ?. My-my. It seems HeyWoodFloyd isn't aware of the engineering talent taking Canadian and American jobs overseas and being offered BH-1 work visas here in N. America. Get real.

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 24 August 2004 10:09 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Like I said, I'll take haggling over textbooks as the price of freedom of speech and the surprising lack of re-education camps as a good thing in Canada.

God forbid those lucky Cubans with a B.Sc or B.A. speak out against the system. All that university education would be supplemented with a tidy year or ten of re-education, all paid for by uncle Fidel.

Viva la revolucion indeed.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 24 August 2004 10:18 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by HeywoodFloyd:
Like I said, I'll take haggling over textbooks as the price of freedom of speech and the surprising lack of re-education camps as a good thing in Canada.

God forbid those lucky Cubans with a B.Sc or B.A. speak out against the system. All that university education would be supplemented with a tidy year or ten of re-education, all paid for by uncle Fidel.

Viva la revolucion indeed.


Oh bullsh!t. Cuban's love Fidel. And they've got more physicians per capita than any other western nation as well as a lower infant mortality rate than its cold war nemesis, Uncle Sam. And so do the poor African-American and Hispanic kids currently in Cuba to take advantage of Castro's offer for six years of free medical education. They'll work in under-serviced and no-service regions of third world America. Come to think of it, we're short of physicians here in Canada as well as teachers and medical technologists and nurses and skilled trades people and so on. I've got an idea. Instead of our pinhead CMA people suggesting the conservibrals fight with the States for skilled immigrants, why don't we subsidize university education here in god damned Canada ?. I know we've abandoned farmers out west like no other developed nation, but why do we have to feed our young to the morlocks of the "free market" like we do?. Let;s stop preaching free market for the poor while practicing socialism for the rich in N .America.

Ever been to Cuba, HeyWood ?. I have, and I feel that I can make some valid comments without shoving my foot in my mouth as you have.

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 24 August 2004 10:29 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, since the "myth" of "re-education" camps in Cuba has been stunningly dispelled (I'll just ignore all the journalists that uncle Fidel "re-educated"), I will take this moment to actually agree with you in that I would be happier to see a reform to the post secondary education system in order to make it more available to those who are genuinely interested in getting an education.

Perhaps in the form of a loan payback upon successful completion of the student's program, excluding the first year.

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: HeywoodFloyd ]


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
peskyunderclass
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posted 24 August 2004 10:33 PM      Profile for peskyunderclass     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
freedom of speech and the surprising lack of re-education camps as a good thing in Canada.

um, up until the 1970's we used to have a little thing called residential schools there buddy!
Our schools today tend to forgo any freedom of speech considering that students are to busy with there standardized everything and skills testing (as opposed to skills building)

Considering the CRTC's predominant role in enforcing "canadian values" and deeming whether Al jazeera is healthy for us plebeians to watch on satelite that we can't even afford. Or the enforcement of canadian society on our first nations. Or the enforcement of gender roles on high school students (being female with a shaved head is too distracting and possibly gang related)
yeah it's nice to live in good ol' free canada.
but an arguement on who's human rights violations are worse than who's (but it does need saying that as far as I know we aren't facing constant external pressures to have our government overthrown by miami mobsters and ultra-right freaks with the U.S. turning a blind eye. That would cause things like canadas version of the patriot act to get expanded even more were it to happen)isn't really productive. All I know is that it's up to people within the canadian state to deal with our governments authoritarianism and not the United States, And those who agree with me on that one should have no problem in agreeing with the same for cuba, venezuala, or any other country that amerikkka has it's beady little eyes on.

And how did talking about supporting the poor end up turning into a discussion on totalitarianism. Oh yeah because if single mothers get some help goin to school it will lead us down the slippery slope of re-education camps.After all Horizontal measures of governance could not increase our potential for human social policy at all levels while limiting anti-democratic corporate control.

[ 24 August 2004: Message edited by: peskyunderclass ]


From: Sulfer City | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 24 August 2004 10:39 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well that's very wide of you, HeyWoodFloyd. Look, Cuba is not a wealthy country, I agree. And there are certain consequences for sh!t disturbing in Cuba. But the ones most vocal about that, the Yanks, currently have the equivalent of half of Cuba in prison, on probation or on parole. The Yanks have the largest gulag population in the world. They've prevented humanitarian aid from being sent to Cuba as well as N. Korea, a nation where about 14% of the land is arrable enough to grow food.

Please, ignore the snide remarks because I do feel strongly about the situation in Cuba and Latin America in general, HeyWood.

cheers!


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 24 August 2004 10:44 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
And how did talking about supporting the poor end up turning on totalitarianism.

You're asking the wrong guy. I pretty much agree with everything else you said.

quote:
But the ones most vocal about that, the Yanks, currently have the equivalent of half of Cuba in prison, .... (etc)

At what point did I start talking about the US? I was comparing Cuba to Canada.

And what's with the capital W? The way it looks, you'd think I was on viagra for the first time.

As to N. Korea, there is still a state of war between them and the UN so I don't see the problem in a geopolitical sense.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 24 August 2004 10:59 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by HeywoodFloyd:

At what point did I start talking about the US? I was comparing Cuba to Canada.

And what's with the capital W? The way it looks, you'd think I was on viagra for the first time.

As to N. Korea, there is still a state of war between them and the UN so I don't see the problem in a geopolitical sense.


The blocking of humanitarian aid is illegal, according to the UN. The Yanks do it anyway. And the Yanks owe membership back-dues to the UN as well.

And the ten year long embargo on Iraq, a desert nation, was effective in "softening up" the Iraqi's for an invasion and fomenting general discontent for Saddam. The result, according to the UN, has been more than 700 000 Iraqi children perishing of malnutrition, intermittent bombing and the remnants of exploded shells and bombs lined with depleted uranium. OF course, the Yanks have blocked UN sponsored studies of the effects of DU weapons in Iraq.

The capital W is "Hungarian notation." MS Windows programming years ago is why I'm semi-literate now. Scuse.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
peskyunderclass
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posted 24 August 2004 11:01 PM      Profile for peskyunderclass     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't understand how giving some food to poor people in any country would be of benefit to the rich that run things?
This whole thread has been dedicated to how the fucking government doesn't give a damn whether we live or die. So how does cutting off humanitarian aid make sense geopolitically?

From: Sulfer City | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 24 August 2004 11:06 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The capital W is "Hungarian notation." MS Windows programming years ago is why I'm semi-literate now. Scuse.


Cool. I haven't had to do that since I gave up my HP calculator.

From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 24 August 2004 11:18 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by peskyunderclass:
I don't understand how giving some food to poor people in any country would be of benefit to the rich that run things?
This whole thread has been dedicated to how the fucking government doesn't give a damn whether we live or die. So how does cutting off humanitarian aid make sense geopolitically?

Officially, it makes no sense. And few mainstream news channels here in Canada or the States will even mention it, except when they have no choice as in the case of Iraq. Unofficially, we'd have to ask politician's and the Yankee department for economic warfare on communist countries and Latin America. Haiti was prevented from accessing IMF loans while Aristide was president as well. It's harder to make Latin American's starve to death though as the surrounding country sides are usually lush and fruit bearing. Perfect for banana Republican foreign policies.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 25 August 2004 01:50 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
She wasn't murdered by government policy, but they certainly contributed to her suicide, and therefore policy must be examined and protocols put into place so this situation is never repeated again.

Sounds good to me. As I said very early on in the thread, I'm not quarrelling with the coroner's recommendations one bit — only the convenient meme that the government murdered Kimberly Rogers, or the watered down version in which they didn't actually murder her but were the primary cause of her death. And I think it speaks loads — absolute loads — that poverty activists never actually do mention her real cause of death.

quote:
Let's get small and nit-pick about his situation, too, Magoo.

What's to uh, "nitpick" about Lewis Whelan? He did indeed die of heatstroke, brought on directly by the massive burns which prevented him from sweating and managing electrolytes normally. But here's a fun question for you: since he did indeed die, first by half, then the rest of the way thanks to policy, why isn't he the symbol for the cause instead of Kimberly, assuming a symbol is needed? I'd hazard a guess that many people have never heard of him, or might remember "that electrocuted kid" and know nothing else.

Anyway, I return you to discussions of Cuba, the People's Paradise (if you're not gay or a dissenter).


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 25 August 2004 02:01 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Sounds good to me. As I said very early on in the thread, I'm not quarrelling with the coroner's recommendations one bit — only the convenient meme that the government murdered Kimberly Rogers, or the watered down version in which they didn't actually murder her but were the primary cause of her death. And I think it speaks loads — absolute loads — that poverty activists never actually do mention her real cause of death.

Murder by omission is still murder. If I fail to do something to keep you alive, at th every least that's negligent homicide. If I knew that my failure to do that something would have led to your death, that's wilful negligence.

Your excuses are simply attempts to hand-wave away the death by wilful negligence with malice aforethought on the part of the Ontario Government because by your lights, Kimberley Rogers is now just another one of those drug-addled degenerate wastes of DNA in your neighborhood you love to bitch about.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 August 2004 02:02 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think you're an asshole deluxe, Magoo. Why don't you go phuck yourself?.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 25 August 2004 02:20 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If I knew that my failure to do that something would have led to your death, that's wilful negligence.

And if the government could effectively prevent people from taking their own life they'd save thousands of lives per year. But apparently they can't.

quote:
by your lights, Kimberley Rogers is now just another one of those drug-addled degenerate wastes of DNA in your neighborhood you love to bitch about.

Uh, this has actually become your little "love to bitch about". But you're clearly spot on. All this talk about accepting the coroner's report instead of making up a new ending that's more politically advantageous is really just thinly veiled disdain for the people in my neighbourhood.

Holmes, you've done it again!

quote:
I think you're an asshole deluxe, Magoo. Why don't you go phuck yourself?.

:cryingmyselftosleepsmiley:


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 25 August 2004 02:26 AM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm surprised no one has pointed out to Mr. Magoo that 'drug overdose' and deliberate suicide are by no means synonymous. Indeed, I would think that most overdoses are not deliberate. I haven't heard of any evidence that would indicate this one was.
From: ... | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 August 2004 02:27 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Notice Magoo's talent for typing a lot but saying nothing ?. No wonder our infant mortality is one of the worst in the developed world. No wonder our child poverty rates are abysmal with toe heads like this running around.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Trisha
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posted 25 August 2004 02:33 AM      Profile for Trisha     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Kimberley Rogers was given only a token amount of money, she had been cut off of welfare. She was very pregnant, to the stage where heat is not only unbearable but also impacts on the way medications work on the body. She was confined to home except for a few hours here and there for necessary trips such as doctor visits. People who know the family say there were no family problems that would have caused this.

The authorities may have come to the conclusion that she killed herself but there are factors that were ignored that indicate this was not her intention. DAWN Ontario has a lot of information on the Kimberley Rogers case on the website.

Most of the recommendations made as a result of Kimberley Rogers' death and the hearings have not been implemented. More people are in danger because of this.

Have any of you ever been stuck in a small, upper floor apartment during the heat of summer? Imagine your discomfort being doubled by being in the last stages of pregnancy where you feel the heat more, your body is big and awkward and sleep is next to impossible. Heat sickness is an almost guaranteed result.


From: Thunder Bay, Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 August 2004 02:43 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I remember seeing a picture of the house she lived in. There appeared to be a window in the gable end peak at the front of the house on what I think would have been the third floor from ground level. I hope that wasn't where she was holed up, because if it is, I swear I'll kick the crap out of every conservative MPP who were finally given the heave-ho in Ontario last election.

Blind folded at dawn, urinated on and shot between the eyes would be too good for the small minded little ba$tards.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 25 August 2004 02:57 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
And if the government could effectively prevent people from taking their own life they'd save thousands of lives per year. But apparently they can't.

Deliberate misinterpretation of my statement.

Let's do this, again, slowly.

Kimberley Rogers was put under house arrest, with conditions that apparently amounted to 24-hour confinement within the four walls of her apartment.

Now. Let's put you in her place.

You're pregnant, just about flat fucking broke, and you got shat all over by the government of Ontario for doing something that was, admittedly, against the rules, but which you may have done because you really really needed the money, or whatever.

You're in a world of hurt, and it's a fucking oven in your apartment, and you have to put up with not only the pregnancy and the associated back and neck trouble, but the unyielding heat and the sheer monotony of home confinement.

Now let's step back out of her persona for a sec.

You wanna tell me that in her situation, you wouldn't see drug use as a pretty attractive alternative to being in a world of hurt?

The government of Ontario's paid employees have brains and presumably know how to use them. The people directly associated with monitoring Kimberley Rogers as well as the welfare boys that got the case prosecuted probably knew very well what the possible consequences would be of condemning a poor (monetarily), pregnant woman to be a total shut-in.

At the very least she would be demotivated and the conviction would do more harm than good by making it harder for her to achieve the alleged ultimate objective of welfare, which is to move people into the workforce with reasonably steady jobs. And don't even start with the bullshit about how if you kick someone in the ass hard enough they'll move. I heard an interesting story about jackasses and mules. It seems that in times of old, when jackasses were used as pack animals, if they had done what they figured was enough work for the day, you could kick them in the ass all you wanted and they wouldn't budge an inch.

Well, the moral is clear: You can kick people in the ass all you want, but past a certain point they are just not going to do anything no matter how much you kick them.

At the very worst, these officials and employees had to have had some idea of the possibility of suicide and/or heatstroke.

The fact that they did nothing to alleviate Kimberley's situation suggests that (a) they were at the very least negligent, and (b) in all probability, did this with malice aforethought since the conditions of her house arrest were overly punitive and disproportionate to the offence.

Ergo, negligent homicide by failing to do something that would have prevented a death.

I bitch about your attitude problem and I keep bringing up those examples because they're so indicative of how you think about anybody who isn't as well-off as yourself. No matter how you dress it up, disguise it or hide it, the fundamental fact is that what you want is for the government to be a control freak over poor peoples' lives.

The fact that you advocate a higher minimum wage is meaningless in light of the fact that you resist easing controls on welfare recipients.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Trisha
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posted 25 August 2004 03:13 AM      Profile for Trisha     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Kimberly Rogers did live in the third floor apartment as far as I know. I can recall someone making the stupid comment that she could have climbed out of the window to take air on the roof. I can't recall who said it or where it was but that's some indication of how people tried to blame her for her situation.
From: Thunder Bay, Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 August 2004 03:23 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh for Krist's sake. And Harris stopped funding affordable housing in Ontario too. I remember some housing projects that were in the middle of being built in my home town during Rae's time. Then Mike Har-ass got in and ythe work stopped. I think some local housing developer got'em for cheap. Nice places, too.

[voodoohex] May their blood scream for all eternity.[/voodoohex]

I swear ...


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Trisha
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posted 25 August 2004 03:45 AM      Profile for Trisha     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Right on, Fidel. Many poor people are in very substandard and unhealthy housing because there is a shortage of affordable accommodations. When you are on assistance and allowed approximately $350 for rent, plus half of hydro or heating costs, you can't pay for what is available. The extra allowed on this for each child doesn't bring it up a lot.

There is an anti-poverty campaign called "Pay the Rent or Feed the Children". This is the true situation for many people. Low-paying jobs don't improve the ability to find housing.

On top of this, there has recently been the assumption that all seniors are wealthy and the cost of senior housing in the buildings alloted for them has risen a lot plus many older buildings are now opening their accomodations to anyone, reducing the security that was once available. Another great government decision.


From: Thunder Bay, Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 August 2004 04:11 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've known what it's like to try and find an apartment in Ottawa. I lived in my van one spring before finding work several years ago. Every affordable bachelor pad I enquired about was occupied by anywhere from couples to five or six people. I ended up commuting from Arnprior, a 40 minute drive in summer and anywhere from an hour to hour and a half in winter, depending on how clear the highway was and traffic backed up.
And every other townhouse rents one room bed-sits. And they like to charge anywhere from $350 on up. No thanks. This is all unnecessary in a rich country. Some of the shacks I've seen should be condemned and torn down, not substituted for decent housing so some creep can be a slum lord.

I hate what they're doing to this country. How can they sleep with their bad selves at night?. Ba$tards!


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 25 August 2004 03:11 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Notice Magoo's talent for typing a lot but saying nothing ?. No wonder our infant mortality is one of the worst in the developed world.

Tell the truth Fidel: were you a little drunk when you penned this specious bit of cause-and-effect?

quote:
Have any of you ever been stuck in a small, upper floor apartment during the heat of summer?

Yes, and during a much hotter heat wave than Ottawa felt when Kimberly died. I think I posted about it once on babble: so hot that candles melted in their candlesticks, like some kind of Salvador Dali painting.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 August 2004 04:08 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
...
Anyway, I return you to discussions of Cuba, the People's Paradise (if you're not gay or a dissenter).

I think you're beginning to sound like a drone of the American right wing, Magoo. You shouldn't pay too much attention to the cold war rhetoric coming from the land of economic Darwinism. They've got the largest gulag population in the world along with some not so flattering social statistics. The Yanks make Cuba look like a social democracy by comparison.

Try harder, Magoo. Your comments are entirely irrelevant as per usual.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 25 August 2004 04:15 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
You shouldn't pay too much attention to the cold war rhetoric coming from the land of economic Darwinism.

It's not from my lifetime subscription to USA Today, it's from a number of gay babblers who've mentioned or commented on the situation in Cuba. If you think they're full of shit then tell them, not me. Maybe they're just making it all up.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 August 2004 04:24 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The situation for gays in Cuba has more to do with Spanish culture in general and little to do with the revolution or Castro. Perhaps Magoo would prefer to nit-pick about an AIDS epidemic in those poorest of poor African nations and Latin American sh!tholes now struggling under IMF/WB economic reforms for so called liberal democracy?.

Do you want to know anything positive about Cuba, or are you just a small minded conservative drone with nothing much to say otherwise, Magoo ?.

C'mon. I've got four workspaces open on a Sun workstation and waiting for your petty comments to grace my screen on another. C'mon old man, hurry the phuck up, I'm gettin old!

[ 25 August 2004: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 25 August 2004 04:34 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Are those my only two options?

So would Hephaestion, or another gay activist, tell me that Spain is just as repressive as Cuba (or even moreso, if that's the birthplace of it?).

And for what it's worth, I know that Cuba leads the Carribean in many areas, like life expectancy, literacy, etc., etc. I just have great trouble abiding the idea of a government "for the people" that is happy to persecute 1/10th of them. I'm glad that they're doing better than Haiti, and I'm glad their track record with regard to sexual orientation is better than nearby Jamaica, but before anyone wants to hold them up as an example of successful socialism in action, they'll need to tell me:

- why the government of the people means 'government of the heterosexual people"

- why the government won't enforce official change the way Ontario has with SSM

- why dissent isn't allowed (if it's so freakin' awesome, why can't you disagree??)


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 August 2004 04:55 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Are those my only two options?

I'm glad that they're doing better than Haiti, and I'm glad their track record with regard to sexual orientation is better than nearby Jamaica, but before anyone wants to hold them up as an example of successful socialism in action, they'll need to tell me:

- why the government of the people means 'government of the heterosexual people"

- why the government won't enforce official change the way Ontario has with SSM

- why dissent isn't allowed (if it's so freakin' awesome, why can't you disagree??)


In about the 1980's, an AIDS epidemic began sweeping the Carribe and Latin America in general. The world condemned Cuba for their "los Cocos" sanitorium for the segregation of Cuban's with AIDS. The problem I have with that is, what are the other options for an island nation where the probability for spread of infection is high?.
The quarantining of Cuban's, although definitely controversial as far as human rights is concerned, worked to a greater extent than in countries where AIDS has become epidemic and patented anti-retroviral drugs are not an option for the poorest nations of the world, including Cuba which has restricted means of funding its needs.

In fact, Cuba is a net exporter of volunteer physicians to other Latin American countries that are short of physicians and are providing made-in-Cuba tropical vaccines which would otherwise be too expensive to buy for most third world countries in Africa and Latin America if they were to rely on big pharmaceutical companies. The Cuban's have also developed tropical vaccines that big pharma just doesn't produce themselves.

Cuba shines in many aspects of health care throughout Latin America, Magoo. Isolation hospitals are a must for an Island nation and part of an agressive approach in fighting infectious diseases. In fact, Canada is in short supply of specialty hospitals and losing ground with respect to Canadian's accessing preventative medical care, the third corner stone in the history of our model for socialized medicine here in Canada. Although Cuba is seen as violating the rights of gays, the Cuban's refuse to apologise until a more effective solution to preventing disease is offered to them. So far, no one has.


I believe that the reason Ontario will have SSM rights is that we have a strong left wing voice in Canada. The same cannot be said for Uncle Sam and the religious right wing who control domestic policy and citing family values in the land of the "free."

[ 25 August 2004: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
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posted 25 August 2004 05:22 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I believe that the reason Ontario will have SSM rights is that we have a strong left wing voice in Canada. The same cannot be said for Uncle Sam and the religious right wing who control domestic policy and citing family values in the land of the "free."

So what is the excuse for Cuba, given that it has a stronger left-wing voice than Ontario? After all, not all homosexuals have AIDS and not all AIDS victims are homosexuals.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 25 August 2004 05:33 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by HeywoodFloyd:

So what is the excuse for Cuba, given that it has a stronger left-wing voice than Ontario? After all, not all homosexuals have AIDS and not all AIDS victims are homosexuals.


HeywoodFloyd, you might as well ask why Canadian's prefer Canadian beer to American fairy pee. Spain, itself, does not recognize SSM, but they have a strong left wing representation in that country. On the other hand, northern regions of Spain and the Basque region where strong socialist sentiment is engrained in the culture, SS unions are recognized. Sweden leans hard toward democratic socialism for a long time, and they have embraced equal rights for all for many years now. Spanish culture is very male oriented and has been for a very long time. Cuba has had park benches and cafe areas designated, "para flores" for many years now. I wondered what it meant, myself, but the signs meant - for flowers. The Cuban's don't send all gays to isolation hospitals, just the ones who have AIDS.

I've got an even better question though. Why do the largest tracts of land in Central America still belong to priveleged families as a result of dated Spanish colonial law while millions of peasants are landless and will dream of even the most basic of human rights for decades to come ?. Why, when they are geographically so close to and enjoy "free trade" pacts signed with democratically elected leaders of the free western world, including Canada ?.

And as far as voicing dissent in Cuba is concerned, what about closer to home?. Canada's largest trading partner with the largest gulag population in the world has free markets in racism and corporate welfare statism.

Voicing dissent now dangerous in America

$Prison$ Industrial Complex:Warehousing the Poor in America

And after all that fascist manouvering down there, the first one to lose his job was left-wing talk show host, Bill Maher for voicing dissent over "the regime."

Let's start sounding like Canadian's for a change. Phuck the Yanks and their spiteful cold war on Cuba.

[ 25 August 2004: Message edited by: Fidel ]


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
peskyunderclass
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posted 25 August 2004 08:26 PM      Profile for peskyunderclass     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Bush the most outspoken opponent of cuba is also proposing a federal ban on Gay marriage that even Cheney doesn't support (he's a little wobbly on the subject considering his Daughter is gay and working on his campaign, He feels it's a state issue)

As for freedom of dissent neither country has one as it's being stated in another thread that police are increasingly using things such as "causing a disturbance through swearing" or just pinning charges on folks to get them off the streets or out of there hair for good.
You can be an activist for algerian rights one day and off to Buffalo for deportation to Algeria,the next (even if your within church sanctuary it seems).

Or your Dudley George and the Gov't been given machine guns to handle an unarmed land dispute.
What about being Gay in a public high school where youth suicide rates are disgusting. Half of the homeless youth population at least in Toronto have a rather blurred sexual orientation. The Canadian state just has a more veiled approach to it's discrimination - Don't ask us to help - don't tell us anythings wrong.
Rely on family dynamics dooming children to poverty if they don't meet there parents expectations (which haven't changed much from there parents before that).
enforcing gender roles in high school and elementary school until it becomes concretely realized as the norm for "Canadian values".

-Police and there notorious continueing efforts to stop gay men from having sex in numbers of more than two (otherwise it's public indesency)
by raiding private establishments and properies.

-CRTC telling us what we can say, whats canadian, and all that other bullshit.

-Quebec language police.

The world has a long way to go and the North is just as bad as our orientalist neo-con's and leftists make out other Nation states and there populations.It's time to look in the fucking mirror.

"Left wing right wing,you can stuff the lot. Dirty fucking politics that's gonna get us all shot"
the immortal words of crass.


From: Sulfer City | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 25 August 2004 09:34 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
Yes, and during a much hotter heat wave than Ottawa felt when Kimberly died. I think I posted about it once on babble: so hot that candles melted in their candlesticks, like some kind of Salvador Dali painting.

Now imagine that while being pregnant, to boot.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
peskyunderclass
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posted 25 August 2004 09:59 PM      Profile for peskyunderclass     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Imagine not being alowed to leave that situation by law. The people that are saying that "the government may have had an impact in her wanting to kill herself but let us make sure the semantics are perfectly clear that she killed herself" are total apologists and nothing more.

"Cuz you got no where to fall when your backs to the wall"
- Steve Earle

[ 25 August 2004: Message edited by: peskyunderclass ]


From: Sulfer City | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Bernard W
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posted 25 August 2004 10:46 PM      Profile for Bernard W        Edit/Delete Post
We say a lot about how the government is responsible for Ms. Rogers death, but one thing nobody mentioned (my apologies if I'wrong; I did not read every single post):

Why did none care about this lady? How about her parents, siblings or friends? How about her (presumably) ex-boyfriend who made her pregnant? OK maybe her parents were deceased, she had no siblings AND no friends. If that's the case it is truly sad.

If I knew my parents or siblings were in serious trouble I would help, as I'm sure they'd do for me. The family is the best social program conceivable. It is a shame all kinds of social engineers do their best to undermine it.


From: Algonquin Park, Ontario | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
Trisha
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posted 26 August 2004 01:40 AM      Profile for Trisha     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'd have to go back and read everything over again but there were people trying to help her. Being forcefully confined to that apartment is not something anyone could do anything about.

I recall some comments about there being a pizza box and pop bottle in the apartment. What was wrong with someone dropping in with a treat?


From: Thunder Bay, Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 26 August 2004 01:59 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think that Ontario's big giant welfare bureacracy is a testament to outdated conservative ideas. They pointed to a pregnant Rogers breaking the rules, but the bas$tards are pros at it themselves. There's be no end to the squawking if some business person were to have his liscence pulled for cheating on his taxes(theft from taxpayers) or violating safety or environmental laws. Brascan Corp. got off cheap with less than a million bucks as the set price for Lewis Whelan's two legs, an arm and several fingers. Lewis just wanted an education, and so did Kimberly Rogers, an "A" student at the time of her and her unborn child's death.

We need nothing less than a god damned revolution!.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 26 August 2004 02:44 AM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Bernard W:
The family is the best social program conceivable. It is a shame all kinds of social engineers do their best to undermine it.

Lots of assumptions to address here. I assume you mean social engineers like conservative governments and politicians, who make it impossible for young parents to access childcare, yet demonize them when they can't get a job. Or maybe the corporate libertarians who seek to open up world markets, and force us all into the role of nothing more than consumers, with family, friendship and community all being irrelevant barriers to the consumer lifestyle.

Perhaps you refer to free traders, who open up borders to multinational corporations, which then commodify lands and property formerly held in common, like rural Mexico, forcing people to uproot and move into slums, destroying communities and splitting up families.

Maybe you mean the conservative politicians and business folk who argue that workplace safety laws restrict their 'competitiveness', and thereby kill and maim hundreds and thousands of family members. Those same social engineers who rationalize employing child labour in slave conditions around the world to provide cheap commodities. For the good of the economy, you see.

Or maybe you buy the idiotic conservative wedge issue that suggests women thinking and acting for themselves, in an equal society, is somehow undermining the family as an institution. That gay people wanting families somehow makes families weaker. If so, I'm sorry to be the first to point this out to you, but you are a dupe.

I'll assume you were talking about the real social engineers though, the ones who do everything to homogenize our lives and communities, to redefine us all into consumers and disposable labour.

Social engineers who see the economy as the highest, the only value. Who use words like 'family' as mere social marketing tools to dupe people who are experiencing social and financial insecurity into supporting the causes that are contributing most to that insecurity. I'll assume you are a bit more reflective and thoughtful than your offhand jibe about 'social engineers' implies.

[ 26 August 2004: Message edited by: arborman ]


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Trisha
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posted 26 August 2004 02:17 PM      Profile for Trisha     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Maybe Bernard was referring to the programs designed to keep women and children (or men) is abusive households. Or maybe the program that financially penalizes people for trying to live together to make the resources cover the needs. Or maybe the one that doesn't allow home care for those in need because they may have children or a spouse living with them.
From: Thunder Bay, Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 26 August 2004 02:48 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Excellent post Arborman I always cringe when I see that term "social engineering" It does act as a good idiot alert signal though.
From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 26 August 2004 03:14 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
This isn't an issue of empathy. You too could do better. Seriously. Suggesting that I'm somehow heartless for preferring the truth to someone's spin is really picking the low hanging fruit, NRK.

A little bit on the sensitive side there.

Just because you have difficulty empathizing does not mean you necessarily lack compassion, so I'm not suggesting you are heartless.

Empathy is the ability to evocative imagine the experience and perspective of another person. To attemtp to experience the world as they might. What myself and others are suggesting that if you were able to empathize to a greater to degree with Kimberly Rogers it would inform what you consider the truth.

It is worth noting that you lack of empathy does seem to apply to those who are less powerful or fortunate.


quote:
What I do know is that it is, apparently, possible to be pregnant and on welfare without kiling oneself. It's even, apparently, possible to be pregnant in prison. I will concede that this observation comes only from seeing pregnant women in prison who were alive, and not from my personal experience as a pregnant woman. Given that it's really hard to conclude that the mean ol' guv'ment killed Kimberly Rogers, doncha think?

I tried to address the problem of this kind of assumption in my previous post. In looking at social or psychological causation, interaction or relationship between variables it is impossible to make simplistic deterministic causal statements.

You cannot say if A always B. i.e. pregnancy and confinement = suicide.

The relationship is best expressed in terms of probability and risk. In other words the probability of A given B.

My original assertion that conditions of poverty , isolation and marginalization are variables indicating an increased risk of self-harm is supported by an enormous amount of research both quantitative and qualitative.

So in the case of Kimberly Rogers the actions of the government increased her impoverishment, isolation and marginalization and would therefore be rationally considered an increased risk of self harm. Therefore it is not unrealistic to infer these conditions as contributing factors.

It is also interesting that you take the coroner's conclusions as "the truth" in reality they are only one person's assessment. To just except the perspective of one person just because they are a doctor is a rather shallow appeal to authourity.

Consider that Doctors are also not trained to look at the impact of social conditions on people's psyche or behaviour nor are they trained in family dynamics. So I would be highly suspicious of any conclusions made by a Doctor. A coroner also interaction with suicides is always after the fact so they have no first hand experience with the person prior. (It is interesting that a psychologist named Schneidman attempted to develop a technique of psychological autopsy I think he eventually gave up in despair though.)

Finally I was questioning your sense of "expertise" concerning suicide because you so readily dismissed others concerns about reasonable contributing factors.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
lonewolf
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posted 26 August 2004 06:33 PM      Profile for lonewolf     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
How can we harness all this energetic discussion to invoke real change?

Serious question.

WIth all the many different reasons to complain about the Harris deconstructuction (or is it destruction?) of our social safety net in a 10 year period, we (supposedly) have a more sympathetic government in office now.

What can be done to REBUILD it?

Anyone know of any active groups that are having success at getting things restored?



From: Toronto, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Klingon
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posted 26 August 2004 06:42 PM      Profile for Klingon        Edit/Delete Post
Poor Bashing is the practice of greedy devious little Ferengis and other dishonourable P'Tachk!

I'm certainly no proponent of the "welfare culture" that many "leftists" have adopted. But facts are facts: there are very few lazy poor or working class people.

Rather, spoiled privileged upper-class parasites who prosper off of corporate hand-outs are the lazy and most expensive ones in society, since their opportunities and hand-outs are directly or indirectly involuntarily paid for by the rest of us. Profits, big remuneration and other dividends going to elite capitalist clubs, corporate CEOs and bureaucrats, private exclusive trust funds and big banks are the biggest form of undeserved welfare anywhere.

If these types were to get off their asses and actually make something of themselves by doing useful productive work that actually benefited someone else and did the community some real good, and the billions they currently sit on were put back into working peoples' hands, and therefore into the economy, things would be a lot better all-round.

Having been able-bodied and poor (or at least severely cash-strapped and asset-deficient) at times, I can attest that most people in that situation are in fact NOT lazy. Instead, unless they are suffering from some mental disorder or depression (quite common among the poor--which of course means they are no longer able-bodied), or have drug or alcohol problems, they are usually quite resourceful, innovative and efficient. They have to be, since they have to make do on very little, with almost no room for fiscal error.

Many of these folks are on welfare from time to time (only a minority are no it steady), but many are not. Since welfare rates do not come anywhere near what it takes to feed, clothe and shelter a person adequately, especially in cities, most of these people that I have known (whether they are on welfare or not), are constantly cruising around mowing lawns, painting fences, cleaning up yards, helping with some moving, busking on street corners or in front of malls, collecting pop bottles, etc. to pick up a buck here and there. I have even witnessed many people doing this who actually even DO have drug/alcohol problems, mental disorders, etc., although they don't have as severe conditions as others.

In other words, lazy doesn’t even enter the picture. Rather, it's reserved for the wasteful, undeserving, unproductive rich.

Everyone on welfare is poor, unless, of course they are involved in some elaborate scam job, but that's a microscopic percentage. But not everyone who is poor is on welfare--in fact according to the National Council of Welfare study of 1995, the majority of those under the poverty line (established by Revenue Canada), are people who have jobs that simply don't pay enough or aren't steady or secure enough to make it. That's a shocking 32 per cent of the work force in this country.

Meanwhile, Statistics Canada reported about ten years ago that the biggest percentage of welfare beneficiaries, about 50 per cent if memory serves, are kids under 15. So working isn't much of an option for these people, nor do their parents, who are quite often single mothers, have very much opportunity to earn a living by working at a job.

So if you want to rag out on lazy people, head down to your local elite social club, or Board of Trade luncheon and knock a few teeth out. But equating poverty with laziness, or vice versa, is out to lunch, since there are not very many lazy poor people.

A versin of this post is already on the NDP Platform string.


From: Kronos, but in BC Observing Political Tretchery | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Olly
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posted 27 August 2004 11:30 AM      Profile for Olly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I thought people would find this bio intersting:


Single person living in Toronto – ‘Darryl’ Jiminez

Darryl Jiminez is a forty four year old man living and working in Toronto. He does not have a grade 12 education and does not speak English too well but takes pride in the fact that he has found steady work in the city.

He immigrated to Canada in 1989 when his aged mother (who died in 2000) sponsored him into Canada under the Family Plan sponsorship program. He came from South America where he went by his real name of Domingo. He has two children by a previous marriage in Columbia but his dreams to bring them here did not work out. He has visited his two daughters just once and tries to send back some money through his sister when he can.

Darryl, who got his new name from a friend at the restaurant that he works at (he thought he looked like a ‘Darryl’) has been working as a busboy at the Breadalbane Bar and Grill since 1995. It is steady work – they like the job he does and he doesn’t mind the odd hours he has to work because it gives him time to help with his sister and her three children. His sister’s husband died in 1991 on a visit back to Columbia when an attempted robbery went wrong.

The Breadalbane Bar and Grill opens for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday and is open for lunch on Sunday. Darryl goes to the restaurant from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and works from Wednesday to Saturday. He works from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 8:30 p.m. to Midnight on Friday and Saturday. Basically he is there when the dishes need cleaning and to do set up and cleanup for lunches. He does not share in the gratuities received by the waiters and waitresses who receive a lower minimum wage.

Darryl gets $7.15 an hour for his 31 hours each week and therefore grosses $221.65 a week and this averages out to $965.64 a month or a yearly total of $11,479.70.

Darryl sometimes stays downtown between his shifts but more often than not, he goes home or to his sister’s place to be there when the kids get out from school. This is convenient for both he and Maria and they make the most of it. But traveling from southeast Scarborough twice per day six days a week not only makes a TTC pass a bargain, it’s also a necessity. Darryl buys one once per month at a cost of $98.75 per month. When you put this with the $500 a month cost of rent, his costs before other necessities are $598.75 a month.

Working at a restaurant has its perks. Darryl is able to take leftovers of various sorts from most of his shifts but still finds himself spending about another $70 a week on food resulting in an expenditure of just over $300 a month. This includes taking the odd bag of groceries to his sister. This brings his total costs for necessities other than clothing to $900 a month.

Darryl buys his clothes at Goodwill and goes to the food bank. He spends about $15 a month for clothing. This helps out but he pays an average of $12 a month at the drug store for shaving cream, razors, and the bay rum which he uses for after shave.

For recreation, Darryl spends long hours at his local library as well as the library downtown on Yonge street just above Bloor. His furniture was donated to him and he has an odd assortment now in his bachelor apartment.

He watches his money closely. In some months, he manages to save as much as $20. He watches television at his sister’s place and has a friend he can buy homemade wine from at a cost of $3.00 a bottle. There is always nothing left at the end of the month.

Darryl is healthy. He is lucky because he has no health or drug plan of any sort. He has no insurance, no car and has no entertainment budget. He bought a pair of glasses at Shopper’s Drug Mart and he finds he can read better than he could before. He keeps a bottle of generic aspirin and buys vitamins in bulk.

Some Annual Bottom Lines for Darryl:
Gross Income $11,479.70
CPP paid $395.00
EI Paid $228.00
Income Tax Owed (net of property tax credits and other provincial credits) $181.55
GST Credit (paid quarterly) full year -$305.12
Real Net Income $10,980.27
Monthly $915.02
Weekly $211.15

Some Bottom Lines for Darryl: Expenses [Monthly Income of $915.02]
Rent $500.
TTC pass $98.75
Food $302. @$70 per week or $3.33 per meal on average
Drug store – personal $12 a month
Clothing $15 a month
Total $927 a month
Nominal Deficit $12 a month


Conclusion

Darryl cannot make ends meet on the job that he has. He cannot get sick. He cannot use prescription drugs for which he cannot pay. He cannot save.

Darryl is able to work extra hours from time to time and he has started to work under the table between the restaurant shifts for another restaurant downtown that pays cash.

This provides an extra $50 a week and it means money to send home and money to keep from falling behind. It is $5.00 an hour but it’s cash and no questions are asked.


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
wedge_oli
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posted 27 August 2004 12:22 PM      Profile for wedge_oli     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sad...

I dishwashed over the summer with this really nice guy from Ecquador who had emigrated a couple years ago cuz of political problems. He had a gruelling schedule that he had to stick to to make ends meet: construction work from 7am-4pm, then dishwashing from 5pm-12pm, with rarely a day off.

Over one of our late night conversations over stolen muffins and leftovers, I found out he went to school for a very long time in Ecquador and was an Industrial Engineer. A goddamn engineer cleaning scraps of uneaten food off of people's plates.

I realized how easy I had it. I've been on this high-school-->university-->job track all my life, only worrying about the next chemistry exam or english essay. All the while, these other equally deserving people get caught in this cruel cycle of poverty, and are denied the chance to an education and a better life.

We all deserve, at the very least, a chance

[ 27 August 2004: Message edited by: wedge_oli ]


From: Montreal, QC and St. Catharines Ontario | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
BlueGreen
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posted 27 August 2004 06:39 PM      Profile for BlueGreen   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Quick note on the Kimberly issue:

Socially she was stuck and doing what she felt she had to do, I think. It was the lack of proper social services which put her where she ended up. Stupid policy = bad results. Arguing over whether or not the state 'killed' her is really a lot of hair splitting. The state had a hand in there. That's enough for me.

(After all, going into prison, if they think you're suicidal, they take away your shoelaces, and check in often...)

Even under hosue arrest, the state is still responsible for the person's health and welfare, or should be!

[ 27 August 2004: Message edited by: BlueGreen ]


From: Near the Very Centre of the Universe | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
lonewolf
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posted 27 August 2004 06:46 PM      Profile for lonewolf     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
BlueGreen:

Totally agree.

When the state wants to precipitate tragedies and produce inequities, they are responsible for the results.


From: Toronto, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
britchestoobig
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posted 29 August 2004 12:54 PM      Profile for britchestoobig     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That was an excellent post Olly. It speaks to an element of the currently dominant economic ideology that I find to be particularly baffling.

During my undergrad in the early 90’s, I remember clearly the almost breathless enthusiasm with which a professor of mine discussed the onset of the “information revolution” and of the benefits that would acrue as this new revolution replaced the aging industrial paradigm.

Fast forward to the present and regard the depth of the intellectual failure. The information revolution, slaved to the legislative infrastructure of transnational capital (ie globalization) has grotesquely failed to serve the true domestic economy.

Walled off in Ivory towers constructed on the fundaments of false axioms, our most influential academic disciplines have become completely disconnected to the reality. Economists and their sycophantic followers among the media have failed to grasp the implications of a market economy whose gains are no longer correlated to increases in the standard of living among the majority.

Locked within the prisons of their own academic experiences, too many of our professors fail to grasp that their perspectives are built upon interpersonal relationships. Priding themselves on rational epistemology, they ignore the role played by personal experiences. You only get answers to the questions you think of asking, and in most cases the questions you think to ask spawn from the interplay of personal history and respect for your academic supervisors. Graduate supervisors introduce grateful Masters and Ph.D. students into schools of thought. Not only do graduate students learn subject material, they learn what to teach to graduate students of their own. So the process continues.

Academics wield undue authority based upon suppositions of rational analysis. Personal agendas, prejudice, and social class also find justification within the guise of rational thought.

But that is the world in which we find ourselves. How do we untie the Gordian knot?

In the eyes of the public, again no thanks to the media, the current economic paradigm is entrenched as common sense. If we seek democratic solutions, if we seek to sway the majority away from this dangerous course, then angry diatribes can work against us. Politics is based on percpetion, and we have to start thinking about how to wage successful war against misdirected “common sense”.

I would suggest that those who seek change within a Ghandiist framework should temper their anger with academics, and my post is written in the hopes of furthering an understanding of how the academic system has failed. Should we make war with the dominant academic community, should we seek to change their minds? How can we support a counter-revolution within the academic community?

How can we inject Olly's story, and the multitudes like it, into mainstream consciousnes?


From: Ottawa ON | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 29 August 2004 01:18 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
britchestoobig: How can we inject Olly's story, and the multitudes like it, into mainstream consciousnes?

Support your alternative media. Like rabble.ca, like a whole host of cash-starved publications and so on.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
britchestoobig
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posted 29 August 2004 01:42 PM      Profile for britchestoobig     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Beltov I agree that is a start.

But is this A Field of Dreams? If we build it will they come?

My concern here is that alternative media speaks to its own...is support enough in the face of well organized and disciplined attempts among the elite to manage and define the spectrum of acceptable thought.

Alternative media is a beginning, but how far does it reach, how many people admit they are wrong thanks to alternative media?

Alternative media is a slow growth approach. The fear that I have is that the far-right have already identified the longterm potential of internet media and may be able to control and/or marginalize this venue long before it is able to realize any gains.

Take a look at one of the goals of Cheney/Rumsfeld et al's Project for the New American Century and you see that control of the Cyberspace Commons is a recognized goal.

background:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1665.htm


From: Ottawa ON | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 29 August 2004 01:59 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Once you've identified who is likely to be on your side...the next issue is how to reach them. What other democratic approach is there?

Some shit-disturber in Russia suggested starting a newspaper for like-minded people. It led to a revolution that changed the world.

OK...maybe it took more than a newspaper.

What is to be Done? by some guy named Vladimir

[ 29 August 2004: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
britchestoobig
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posted 29 August 2004 03:03 PM      Profile for britchestoobig     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Beltov:

Thanks for the link.

After the last post I stepped out to get groceries. As I was out I had to chuckle at myself. I pendulum back and forth b/w pessimism and optimism. The irony being that I usually have completed the swing before I realize it, and the realization alone usually sends me falling back.

Yeah, I'm a bit pessimistic right now and you're right. The fact that I'm involved in this sort of dialogue, and the promise for organized socialism inherent in alternative media today IS exciting.

But when I poke my head up from the screen, Jesus the world is a scary place!

Cheers,


From: Ottawa ON | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 29 August 2004 03:13 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hey...before I forget...welcome to babble britches_too_big. Check out the FAQs and feel free to ask those dumb questions. There are, of course, NO dumb questions.

I don't post as much as I used to (I'm back at work again and I'm reluctant to post during working hours) but babble is the best I've found for reasoned Canadian debates on the web. But watch out! There are all sorts of clever "lurkers" and "trolls" who will happily slap you upside the head for a misstep. And then there's our fabulous moderators whose children I would happily bear...who,

mother-like,
will gently raise us
from the slime

and keep our hands
from hellish crime!

[ 29 August 2004: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
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posted 29 August 2004 03:20 PM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That poor woman and baby. Mr. Harris and his ilk should be ashamed. Utterly ashamed. I feel nauseous.
From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 29 August 2004 03:38 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by britchestoobig:

Should we make war with the dominant academic community, should we seek to change their minds?

Welcome to babble.

As a fully paid-up member of the academic economics community - tenured, funded by SSHRC, publications, the whole nine yards - I would first want to know what you mean by 'make war'. If you're thinking of physical intimidation, I'm guessing that it would be counter-productive. If you're thinking about writing angry denunciations about what you perceive as being wrong with economics, you'll soon find that many people have gone before you with little perceptable effect: we're quite capable of defending our positions. If you're thinking of creating an internally-consistent analytical framework that explains the data better than what we have now, then you'll find that it's harder than it sounds (and it doesn't sound particularly easy to me).

We're not insensible to stories like Darryl's: that's why people become economists in the first place. If you think that we've made a mistake somewhere, tell us what it is. But be prepared to do some homework.


From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 29 August 2004 04:18 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oliver, may I ask, what is your position with respect to economics in Canada?. " " the States, our largest trading partner ?.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
britchestoobig
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posted 29 August 2004 04:19 PM      Profile for britchestoobig     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hmm, well you see I have in fact been doing a bit of homework.

But first off and for the record: definitely not physical warfare. I firmly believe in the notion that violence begets violence, endlessly. Pacifism, with certain caveats I guess.

But as to homework:

Robert Kuttner "Everything For Sale". An economist suggests that the economists do not have mechanisms to accurately assess and cost for externalities, they do not make the necessary distinctions between truly free market enterprises and those markets which have restricted access (like HMO's...not everyone can start one, so not "free"; or any element of the public infrastructure where there can be no competition beyond the bidding phase - can we have competing sewage lines?).

Kuttner also suggests that many of the axioms in the currently dominant neo-classical economic system are false. So for example, how can "all other things be equal"? Or what is your empirical evidence to support the notion that, when taken in aggregate, we can assume that the consumer has "perfect knowledge"?

Currently I'm reading Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz's "The Roaring Nineties" and have just read a useful warning about the fallibility of economists, as well as the role played by agenda and ideology. During the nineties, Stiglitz worked as an advisor for the Clinton administration. His experience with Alan Greenspan and the Fed is illuminating reading. When the discernable facts of a witnessed lowering employment rate clearly contradicted the NAIPU model which related low unemployment to high inflation - when the model was wrong did the Fed question the model? No.

Furthermore, the manner in which the President could address this refusal by the Fed is instructive: he couldn't address it. The president of the United States could not put Greenspan in check because they were afraid of his ability for political reprisal. Given Greenspan's current open support of the Bush Tax cuts, in face of all previous rhetoric, one can now see why a Democratic president might fear him?

So yes, I'm not an economist. Your approach fits the standard retort: you don't know so leave us be.

But isn't it possible that (edit here)- those among your discipline - are blinded by complex constructions of your own making?

[ 29 August 2004: Message edited by: britchestoobig ]


From: Ottawa ON | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
britchestoobig
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posted 29 August 2004 04:33 PM      Profile for britchestoobig     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh yeah!

Sorry, I'm trying to read this while preparing supper. And in multitasking I've forgetten my manners...

To Oliver and Beltov, thanks for the welcome!


From: Ottawa ON | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 29 August 2004 04:50 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
[Written to follow your second-last post. Must learn to type faster]

Of course.

On the other hand, maybe not.

[ 29 August 2004: Message edited by: Oliver Cromwell ]


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Fidel
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posted 29 August 2004 04:52 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Scuse, but I couldn't help but eavesdrop. Here is a small news item from 2003 about Stiglitz criticizing what amounts to Bush's trickle down deficit spending. Nice job loss recovery they're having in the States, btw.

Economists attack Bush's ' madness'


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 29 August 2004 05:00 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
b_t_b ...Here's an interesting reference:

"The Myth of Objectivity in Positive Economics", in F. Green and P. Nore (eds.) Economics: An Anti-Text, Macmillan, 1977, 3-20.

I read this a long time ago. In a short google search I wasn't able to find a copy of the essay...but here's Francis Green's website if you are interested...

Francis Green homepage, articles in refereed journals, etc.

I guess that's a thumbnail critique of much of orthodox economics...(or any social science including, of course, Marxist theory) with a high likelihood of embedded values, hidden in the work like slippery eels...The only remedy I can point to is open, transparent social partisanship that goes along with rigorous work. Science infused with humanist values.

Of course, that doesn't mean falsifying results. And that (fake or fixed or misleading or incomplete, etc. )goes on all the time in all sciences...not just social sciences. So economists aren't any worse than any other social scientists. (But perhaps the stakes are larger ...since some things presented as orthodox economics come across as articles of faith.)

I see tht Francis Green has some publications in Quantitative Models of Marxism ...OC, are you listening?

[ 29 August 2004: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
britchestoobig
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posted 29 August 2004 05:41 PM      Profile for britchestoobig     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Funny that you should mention it that Fidel, because that was the article that made me buy his book.

Oliver when you say:

"We're not insensible to stories like Darryl's: that's why people become economists in the first place."

When I read that, I can't help wondering how flexible members of your discipline are in the application of introspection.

I'm not aware of the workings of economics departments, but my experience within the social science of anthropology has given me a grudging respect for the role played by power and pedigree within academic disciplines.

From many sources, some in exlpicit critique others by neo-classical sources themselves, I have learned that economics as a field has adopted rigorous and empirical mathematical methodologies in an effort to construct a field of study with internal consistency and testibility.

Would you agree? I am distrustful of modern economics, so maybe it is unfair but from what I understand it would be accurate to suggest it.

My problem with that approach (and assuming I have not constructed a straw man) is that in employing mathmatical models one would constrain oneself to only those things that could be assigned a discrete numerical value. Is real life like that?

On another tangent:

Consider pre-Copernican conceptions of the solar system. For centuries philosophers, working from Aristotelean philosophy, assumed an Earth centered solar system. When data accumulated that challenged the theory Arab, and later European, philosophers instead constructed ever more arcane and complicated models *within* the earth centered model to explain anomolies.

This is what I think to be the major failure of neo-classical economics. Your models may have robust internal consistency, but the axioms from which they are based are flawed. Until you question the axioms you will continue to fail to make positive contributions to the real world.

And that is the point of disconnect between economists and many of their critics. Yes, you have an understanding of mathmatics that would likely cow me into a corner, but that is unimportant because the entire construction, your entire solar system of thought and ideology, is flawed. And that is plain to see, especially for members of the other social sciences who have a better understanding of the nature of power dynamics on individuals within their disciplines...


From: Ottawa ON | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 29 August 2004 05:57 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
[Written to follow N. Beltov's post.]

Yes - can't find the book in my university library catalogue, though. I don't know what to make of this notion, unless it's a formalisation of what goes on already. If you want to to make the claim that policy X yields outcome Y, you have to state all the axioms that are necessary to get that result. And then you need some sort of empirical demonstration the model is not a bad approximation for reality.

At this level, the debate is about logic (is the propositions correct on its own terms?) and about whether or not the data support - or can ever support - the various hypotheses about how the economy works. It is often the case that the data cannot cleanly distinguish good assumptions from bad, so many debates in economics amount to people interpreting the same data in different ways. Clearly, people with different political agendas will bring their own biases into the debate. But if the problem is well-posed, it will be possible for the data to eventually decide the debate.

Then there's the entirely different question of whether or not outcome Y is a Good Thing. All economic welfare analyses are based on an explicit measure of social welfare. Unless the choice of a social welfare function is obvious (as is the case with representative agent models), then welfare analyses will not generally be robust to the choice of the social welfare function.

[ 29 August 2004: Message edited by: Oliver Cromwell ]


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N.Beltov
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posted 29 August 2004 06:17 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Unless the choice of a social welfare function is obvious (as is the case with representative agent models), then welfare analyses will not generally be robust to the choice of the social welfare function.

Uh huh. Social welfare function, representative agent, robust analysis...Do I have to look these terms up or can you summarize for me?

quote:
Yes - can't find the book in my university library catalogue, though. I don't know what to make of this notion, unless it's a formalisation of what goes on already. If you want to to make the claim that policy X yields outcome Y, you have to state all the axioms that are necessary to get that result. And then you need some sort of empirical demonstration the model is not a bad approximation for reality.

At this level, the debate is about logic (is the propositions correct on its own terms?) and about whether or not the data support - or can ever support - the various hypotheses about how the economy works. It is often the case that the data cannot cleanly distinguish good assumptions from bad, so many debates in economics amount to people interpreting the same data in different ways. ...


It's been a very long time. I think the main thrust of the book was to identify and critique the teaching of economics (in university)...with the intent of exposing students to alternative approaches to "scarcity" without waiting until 4th year Normative Economics.

OC, you must have come across "foundational" critiques other than F. Green before today?

Time to be a consumer. Ha ha. I'll be back.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 29 August 2004 06:21 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
about whether or not the data support - or can ever support - the various hypotheses about how the economy works.

Sounds good. I'm robust to that.

But I find, like Bel'tov, that the slippery assumptions are never addressed, and too often hidden.

Like "the market". If "the market" is to decide anything, then we are simply consulting the existing distribution of wealth in a society (complicated slightly by factors such as liquidity) for our answers.

Another way of claiming that "the market" should decide a question is to say: "Give the wealthy most of the votes on this."

Now, maybe in their esoteric, math-dominated pper-reviewed journals, this is an often addressed point. But out here in the other world, it isn't. People talk about the market without the slightest notion of the inherent bias in their propositions.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 29 August 2004 06:30 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Apparently, JM Keynes said all that stood in the way of real economic change were a few old men in the House of Parliament with their coats buttoned too tightly. They should be shown a little friendly disrespect and "bowled over" like nine pins.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 29 August 2004 08:18 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by britchestoobig:

Until you question the axioms you will continue to fail to make positive contributions to the real world.

Questioning those axioms is what academic economists do: they're under continual attack. Stiglitz' claim to fame is that he - along with George Akerlof and Michael Spence - was instrumental in exploring the assumption that agents had equal access to information.


quote:
Originally posted by N.Beltov:

Social welfare function, representative agent, robust analysis...Do I have to look these terms up or can you summarize for me?

Sorry. A social welfare function assigns a numerical value to a given allocation: a higher number means a better social outcome. A representative agent model is one in which agents have the same preferences (heterogeneous agent models are very difficult to handle, so it's a common assumption in many fields), so if the representative agent is better off, society must be as well. Propositions are said to be 'robust' if minor variations in the assumptions yield qualitatively similar results.

quote:
OC, you must have come across "foundational" critiques other than F. Green before today?

Of course. They come in many flavours.

quote:
Originally posted by jeff house:

...the slippery assumptions are never addressed, and too often hidden.


That's why we insist on a formal axiom-proposition structure. As I said in another post, you can tap-dance around a fatal flaw in 300 pages of text, and get a best-seller out of it. But if you can't list all the assumptions and show how they generate the results you claim, it won't pass peer review.

From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 29 August 2004 08:37 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Oliver Cromwell:

Questioning those axioms is what academic economists do: they're under continual attack. Stiglitz' claim to fame is that he - along with George Akerlof and Michael Spence - was instrumental in exploring the assumption that agents had equal access to information

...for which Stiglitz shared a Nobel prize in making a case for a "visible hand" in the economy as opposed to the worship of false economic deities of Smithian era laissez faire capitalism.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 29 August 2004 08:53 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
It's not as if they were persecuted for their views. Their articles were published in leading journals, and they generated a new brach of economic theory.

I would argue that this shows just how open economists are to new and revolutionary ideas.


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Fidel
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posted 29 August 2004 09:14 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oliver, would you say that there is more monetary incentive extended by big corporations for graduates of economics to hold monetarist views than Keynesian ?. Which sector of the economy are graduate level economists employed the most ?.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 29 August 2004 09:34 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
The private sector does hire economists, of course, but only the ones who have lost any sense of intellectual integrity (John McCallum comes to mind here). I remember a story of a woman who got her PhD at Toronto, and since she didn't want to leave Toronto, she ended up taking a job at one of the banks. She felt so badly about taking the job that she felt obliged to go and apologise to her thesis supervisor.

At my school, most students who leave with a postgraduate degree end up in the public service. Unless you're really obnoxious about it at the job interviews, your political leanings wouldn't even come up. They're looking for professionals.

Even if you're asked for your views during an interview with the Bank of Canada, it wouldn't be a good idea to refer to yourself as a 'monetarist' or a 'Keynesian'. It would look like your knowledge of monetary economics had been entirely gleaned from an intermediate macroeconomics text published in the mid-1970s. Even the term NAIRU isn't used much these days.

My experience with public sector economists - at least, those at the federal level - is that they are very good. They keep up with the academic literature (with a bit of a lag, of course), and they are very conscientious about getting all their ducks in line when they're preparing a new policy.


From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
britchestoobig
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posted 29 August 2004 09:38 PM      Profile for britchestoobig     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
heh,

Clearly I'm getting in way over my head, but the beautiful anonymity of this forum allows me to slog on a bit further...

OC when you suggest that:

"Then there's the entirely different question of whether or not outcome Y is a Good Thing. All economic welfare analyses are based on an explicit measure of social welfare. Unless the choice of a social welfare function is obvious (as is the case with representative agent models), then welfare analyses will not generally be robust to the choice of the social welfare function."

I have a couple of questions. I understand what you said about representative agents, but how do define these good things? I mean there can be different conceptions of a good thing can't there? So for example, one person might (ahem, foolishly) suggest that it is a good thing to privatize medical insurance, could not a Sophist construct an argument and a model to support it? And could not this individual develope a following as a result of others for whom the model's outcome is appealing?

And how often are your models correct? And how well do logic modelling predict rapid systemic changes of the sort that other disciplines seem to be suggesting are looming on the horizon?

So for example the end of the oil economy.

I'm troubled by this sense that I get from you that economics is somehow a purely rational discipline. I've been in two anthropology departments, I've had friends of mine go through post graduate programs in medicine, physics, MBA's and human physiology and in ALL of the departments research was conducted with human politics in the forefront. The question of research funding, and the ever-present fear of losing said funding, all too often leads academics to defend their body of work in the face of contrary evidence.

You would seem to have us believe that economics departments are staffed by teams of Data's...I look back at my own experience and see Will Rikers everywhere else and so I have to wonder...

My example regarding Stiglitz and his discussion of the Fed is again relevant. In the face of contrary evidence Greenspan stuck to his model. That is a very human action, and has very little to do with rationality.

Anyways, this has been pretty interesting for me. Thanks for the time.

One question OC or anyone, I have just read an article about the possible end of the dollar hegemony for OPEC oil sales, but I really don't have any idea how reliable the source is (I question some of the assertions within the paper, but thought it was interesting nonetheless)

http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/RRiraqWar.html

And with that I will tuck tail firmly between legs and bid you all adieu.


From: Ottawa ON | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
britchestoobig
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posted 29 August 2004 09:43 PM      Profile for britchestoobig     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One other thing:

OC...do you believe that one can assume agents have perfect knowledge? Do you think a model can be constructed upon that sort of assumption

ok, two things...

I'm curious, would you consider yourself to be attached to the Hayek school of neo-classical economic thought...what are your opinions regarding the extent of deregulation?

Cheers,


From: Ottawa ON | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 29 August 2004 10:31 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
You can certainly build a model based on the perfect information assumption. But since models are - pretty much by definition - approximations to reality, we don't get too upset at the notion that they may not be literally true in all dimensions. If the deviations from what the stylised model predicts are small enough to live with, we'd say that people act pretty much as though they know everything.

In models with uncertainty, we generally assume that agents know or can learn about his or her environment, and that they do the best they can with the odds that they face.

About deregulation: Regulations make sense if there's a market failure to correct. Not all places where markets fail are regulated and should be, and not all regulated sectors require it and should be de-regulated. I'd go on a case-by-case basis.

[ 29 August 2004: Message edited by: Oliver Cromwell ]


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N.R.KISSED
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posted 29 August 2004 10:54 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
If the deviations from what the stylised model predicts are small enough to live with, we'd say that people act pretty much as though they know everything.
In models with uncertainty, we generally assume that agents know or can learn about his or her environment, and that they do the best they can with the odds that they face.

In case you haven't noticed there is a vast difference between having sufficient information to make a decision and thinking you have all the information.

In models of uncertainty economic predictions of human decision making have uniformly been demonstrated to be completely inaccurate.

People (the word is people or individuals not agents)do not make decisions in the rational manner that economics assumes primarily because we are rational emotive creatures as a result we use for the most part psychological short-cuts that ignore even available evidence let alone fail to search for further evidence. Try reading a little Cognitive Psych. Tversky and Kahneman on Judgement under uncertainty: Heuristics and bias.

I think we might need a new thread here I'm suggesting it be on Economics and it's assumptions.

[ 29 August 2004: Message edited by: N.R.KISSED ]


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 29 August 2004 11:06 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Oliver Cromwell:

About deregulation: Regulations make sense if there's a market failure to correct. Not all places where markets fail are regulated and should be, and not all regulated sectors require it and should be de-regulated. I'd go on a case-by-case basis.

[ 29 August 2004: Message edited by: Oliver Cromwell ]


I think that Stiglitz has pointed to Wall Street finance, banking interests and Greenspan's warning to the Clinton admin in the early 90's to take a hands off approach and the fact that the end result cries out for a need for regulation in those areas. Stock brokers acted as consultants, auditors acted as consultants, bankers acted in unofficial capacities as stock promoters and everyone was crossing boundaries that became more and more blurred with that one economic incentive of the model driving it all - self-interest and greed distorting and magnifying what should normally be one human behaviour among the full range. What incentives are there for honesty, integrity and contributing toward a greater good in this model ?.

I am an economic novice, but I tend to want to agree with Stiglitz on that issue.


From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 29 August 2004 11:07 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by N.R.KISSED:

In case you haven't noticed there is a vast difference between having sufficient information to make a decision and thinking you have all the information.


Sure. But after you've been burned by hubris once or twice, it's reasonable to think that s/he'd get a clue.

quote:
In models of uncertainty economic predictions of human decision making have uniformly been demonstrated to be completely inaccurate.

It's a hard problem, and there are many thorny issues that haven't been settled to everyone's satisfaction. But I wouldn't go that far.

quote:
People (the word is people or individuals not agents)do not make decisions in the rational manner that economics assumes primarily because we are rational emotive creatures as a result we use for the most part psychological short-cuts that ignore even available evidence let alone fail to search for further evidence. Try reading a little Cognitive Psych. Tversky and Kahneman on Judgement under uncertainty: Heuristics and bias.

Some of this is being adopted, but there are limits. And the use of the word 'agent' is deliberate: it covers households and firms.

quote:
I think we might need a new thread here I'm suggesting it be on Economics and it's assumptions.

Good idea. I get the feeling that the Grim Moderator is sharpening her scythe...

[ 29 August 2004: Message edited by: Oliver Cromwell ]


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N.R.KISSED
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posted 29 August 2004 11:13 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Sure. But after you've been burned by hubris once or twice, it's reasonable to think that s/he'd get a clue.

You might assume that but people are frequently not reasonable.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 29 August 2004 11:17 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
Of course. But when you're designing policy, you pretty much have to assume that people will respond rationally - or that they will at least move in the direction of the rational response. We've had extremely bad experiences with policy initiatives that were based on the assumption that people would keep using the same behavioural 'rules of thumb'.
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N.R.KISSED
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posted 29 August 2004 11:26 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I would argue that policy is frequently made with the assumption that people do not respond rationally I would even go so far that politicians institute policy that encourages irrationality.

I started the new thread by the way in the ideas section although I haven't composed my opening volley.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Olly
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posted 30 August 2004 11:59 AM      Profile for Olly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here's another profile for those interested:


Single Parent with two children living in Toronto – Alana Raymond and two children Amber age 13 and Mike age 6.

Alana is a 34 year old single parent living and working in Toronto. She has a high school education, but has a lot of work experience in telemarketing, restaurant and maid service. Her work has been steady at times and at other times she has had to apply for social assistance in order to get by.

She has always lived in the Toronto area – she rents in southeast Scarborough in an apartment building that has a lot of single parents. She had Amber in 1991 in a relationship that did not work out. She was married to Mike’s father in 1996 but that marriage was annulled in 2000 when he continued being abusive to her and especially towards her daughter. She has not seen nor heard from him in four years and is very happy about that.

Alana has been working in a small office and working as a telemarketer at the same time. It is not steady work and she is constantly being laid off but they keep calling her back and she is getting a reputation for reliability now that both the kids are in school and are both relatively healthy.

Alana also works in a bar from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 on Friday and Saturday. She has an arrangement with a girlfriend in the apartment who watches out for the kids on weekends. Amber knows that she has to be home before here mother on Fridays and Saturdays or else there will be trouble.

Alana gets $7.15 an hour for the 40 hours each week she works and therefore grossed $286.00 a week and this averages out to $1,234.38 a month or a yearly total of $14,812.51 or $7,406.26 for half the year. The 7.15 an hour is minimum wage in Ontario and the 40 hours is the cobbling together of three different jobs all at minimum wage.


Alana goes home between her shifts and can do some of the follow-up telemarketing from her own home. Her mother takes the kids after school on the days she cannot make it back in time from North York. But traveling from North York, downtown, and East York for Alana makes a TTC pass a necessity. She buys one each month at a cost of $98.75 per month. When you put this with the $900 a month cost of rent, their costs before other necessities are $998.75 a month.


Alana spends $140 a week on groceries from ‘no frills’ but she spends another $50 a week on incidentals like coffee and the odd soft drink resulting in an expenditure of just over $820 a month. This includes taking groceries to her mother’s. This brings his total costs for necessities other than clothing to $1,720 a month.

The family buys almost all their clothes at off brand stores and Goodwill and they go to the food bank every so often. They spend about $60 a month for clothing (most of it for Amber). They also pay an average of $20 a month at the drug store for personal items for Alana and Amber and another $27.00 a month for a basic phone.

For recreation, Alana spends long hours with the kids and admits she watches too much television. She also like to go on the computer and write emails and uses a hotmail account at her local community centre because it does not cost anything. She wants to be close to what the kids are up to and they like computers a lot. Their furniture is what she likes to call “early austerity”.

Alana watches her money closely. She is ‘in the hole’ most of the time and she worries that this has become a way of life. She drinks very little and battles her craving for cigarettes but has it under control. She quit when she was pregnant with Mike.

Mike has some health problems with skin rashes and often needs prescription ointments of various sorts. She has no health or drug plan of any sort. She has no insurance, no car and has no entertainment budget. She is attractive and currently has two fellows who take her out and they always pay. She has no interest in making a long term commitment until both kids are in high school. That’s just the way it is. She committed to relationships before and neither worked out. She gets no support from either of the fathers of her two children.

Alana needs glasses and dreams about getting contacts. She pays about $400 a year in drugs after help from the Trillium program. She buys some extras when she gets the Child benefit check.

School programs for the children aren’t cheap. Alana reckons that she spends at least $20 a month per child for trips and events.

Alana teaches music for cash – and does some child care and housework on the side. She nets up to $350 in a good month. She stays away from credit cards because she knows about the temptations of paying the monthly minimum.

Some Annual Bottom Lines for Alana: Income for 2003
Gross Income – six months $7,406.26
Social Assistance for six months $4,837.02 (6240-$1,402.98 NCBS)
CPP paid $193.36
EI Paid $146.64
Income Tax Owed (net of property tax credits and other provincial credits) - 453.13
Net Income before Benefits $ 12,356.41
GST Credit (paid quarterly) full year -684.00
Canada Child Tax Benefit -5,335.92
Ontario Child Care Supplement - $525.
Real Net Income $ 18,901.33
Monthly $1,575.11
Weekly $363.49


Some Bottom Lines for Alana: Expenses [Monthly Income of $1,575.11]
Rent $900.00
TTC pass $98.75
Food $604.24@$140 per week or $6.71 per meal on average
Drug store – prescriptions $16.50 a mo. in deductibles (6mo)
Incidentals including phone $77 a month
Drug store – personal $20 a month
Clothing $60 a month
Child care and other child costs $81.66 a month
Total $ 1,858.15 a month
Nominal Deficit $ 283.04 a month


Conclusion

Alana cannot make ends meet on the jobs she has. They cannot get sick. They cannot save.

She continues to work extra hours from time to time when she can but the rest is under the table for cash. That extra $200 makes all the difference.

Alana is excited about RESP’s and the learning bond but worries about loss of the Ontario supplement when Mike turns age 7. “I should have been born 20 years later and maybe my kids would have had a better future”.


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
arborman
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4372

posted 30 August 2004 01:25 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My grandfather, who was an economist and statistician for 40 years, was disappointeds when I announced my intention to study economics.

He told me the key to success in the study of economics: 'Make as many assumptions as you need, never make any conclusions.' About a year later, I came to much the same conclusion and moved into the other fields of humanities, where at least efforts are made to identify predispositions and bias, and address assumptions.

The trouble with economics is, unfortunately, how easily the basics can be hijacked and distorted into policy arguments by people with an agenda. Many of the core assumptions of almost all economic theory have significant problems, and unfortunately suit the hard-right, libertarian point of view very well.

High level economics, like most scholastic disciplines, can be more accurate, but nobody outside the field can make head or tails of it. As such, it is easy for the intellectual lightweights to take their Economics 101, develop policy, and feel like rational decision makers.

Assumptions:
1: Rational actor. Nobody is a completely rational actor, ever. This is one of the core values of economics, unfortunately. Without it, the discipline falls apart.
2: Perfect information. Not possible (can't predict future).
3: Decisions are made to maximise monetary/economic gain. Nonsense. Most decisions that most of us make are only peripherally tied to economic and financial gain.
4: Independent and unregulated markets maximize efficiency. Only at the local level (i.e. a farmer's market). Internationally, they tend to favour monopolization and market distortions.

It goes on. I'm sure some economic theorists have addressed these articles of faith in economic theory, but they don't get the funding or the play in public discourse. As such, we get the endless repetition of simplistic economic theories, delivered as if they are received wisdom and common sense. The direct result is very human, and very costly (see: World Bank, IMF, NAFTA, APEC, Ralph Klein etc.)


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 30 August 2004 01:55 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Even if you're asked for your views during an interview with the Bank of Canada, it wouldn't be a good idea to refer to yourself as a 'monetarist' or a 'Keynesian'. It would look like your knowledge of monetary economics had been entirely gleaned from an intermediate macroeconomics text published in the mid-1970s.

I've just finished reading Skidelsky's biography of Keynes. I am curious why it would seem antediluvian to mark such a remark; it wasn't so long ago that Someone said: "We're all Keynesians now."

I recognise that some peripheral aspects of Keynes have gone down the drain, but what about the central doctrines, ie. re savings and investment; are they so out of favour as to make him unmentionable?


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4600

posted 30 August 2004 02:13 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
We still teach Keynes' model, and it's still a good approximation to what happens in the short run, so it's not as though he's fallen completely out of favour. But by now, his is just one model among many.
From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 30 August 2004 02:17 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
We still teach Keynes' model, and it's still a good approximation to what happens in the short run

probably that is why Keynes coined the phrase:

"In the long run, we are all dead."


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lonewolf
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 849

posted 30 August 2004 03:30 PM      Profile for lonewolf     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The thread started with:

quote:
Three years ago, in the heart of a heat wave, Kimberly Rogers died

How is it that a debate on economic models has ensued?

What about societal concerns about "what kind of a people, country, community do we want to be?"

Not everything should be boiled down to money - which was just an invention to ease the barter of goods.

Where is the soul in this discussion???????


From: Toronto, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 30 August 2004 03:43 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The thread isn't about Kimberly Rogers, and neither was the article. The Rogers story was used in the article as a springboard into an economic policy discussion. Economic policy is crafted through analyses of economic models, and what works in them and what doesn't.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Olly
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3401

posted 30 August 2004 04:58 PM      Profile for Olly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The thread was about poor-bashing though, and the economic models debate is going more than slightly off topic. Which is why, I believe, they started a new thread on it.

[ 30 August 2004: Message edited by: Olly ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4600

posted 30 August 2004 05:04 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
Mea culpa. But I couldn't let britchestoobig's comments on academic economists pass without comment.
From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
sladner
recent-rabble-rouser
Babbler # 595

posted 06 September 2004 12:12 AM      Profile for sladner     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Wonderful, chaotic, spirited forum here.

I am interested, generally, in economic scholarship and its persistent inability to recognize its own epistemological limitations.

Years ago, Marilyn Waring's "Counting for Nothing" changed my life. I still read that book and marvel at how leagues of highly educated people did not ask simple questions like, "Why is cooking not work?"

I find economic analysis, for the most part, has lost touch with its original tradition from Smith and Marx as examining social forces (I believe Marx to be better at doing that, but Smith too was able to see the economic embedded within the social).

I agree, Oliver, that most public-sector economists are relatively well read and are conscientious in their analyses before they recommend policy. The problem, however, is the methodological handcuffs (to which many here have previously referred) that make it impossible to ask the simple questions.

Is there a future for economics? I believe the solution lies in those select few economists who, despite the rigours of their methodological training, manage somehow to question the concepts. I know a few such people.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4600

posted 06 September 2004 08:59 AM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
You might want to look at the spin-off threadEconomics and its assumptions.
From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged

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