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Category Archives: poverty

How are we doing?

If the latest OECD report is any indicator, not so well. As Bernard Chazelle notes:

Here are the US rankings out of the 30 OECD countries (1 is best; 30 is worst — worst as in Somalia-like). The names of the countries even more Somalian than the US appear in parens.

Infant Deaths: 28 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey).

Life Expectancy: 24 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Czech & Slovak Republics).

Health Expenditures: 1 out of 30.

Poverty Rates: 28 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey).

Child Poverty: 27 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Poland).

Income Inequality: 27 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Portugal).

Obesity: 30 out of 30.

Incarceration: 30 out of 30.

Work Hours (ranked in ascending order): 30 out of 30.

Height (women): 25 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Korea, Portugal, Japan).

Height (men): 24 out of 30 (Italy, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Korea, Japan).

OECD countries: Turkey, Mexico, Poland, USA, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Greece, Luxemburg, Australia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Korea, Czech Republic, UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, Iceland, France, Austria, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.

Of course, as Bernard mentions, those darned French folks sleep more, are taller (this will come to haunt us before too long in Olympic basketball competitions), work fewer hours, and are still skinnier on average than US residents. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do the combination of high stress, those overly long work hours, and poor diet endemic to the US.

Seriously, note the disconnect between health expenditures (where we really are #1) and measures of quality of life such as infant mortality rate, life expectancy. Get the feeling that our “privatize or perish” approach to practically all social concerns should be renamed “privatize and perish”?

Thank goodness we don’t live in a third-world plutocracy. Oh wait – never mind…

Food Not Bombs: or, Free Bread and Soup is a National Threat

Food not Bombs promotes organization and democracy. This is a problem for most people in power here in the US. The clear message that has been sent for 20 years straight now is that charity is something that should weaken people.

Observe the Faith-Based Initiatives for a resonably firm proof of this. The Salvation Army is another fine example. Poor people are not being told how to actually improve their quality of life, they are instead given a deeply sick rationalization for their suffering, coupled with the promise of an afterlife that will be better.


“They said they want to end homelessness and I guess one way to do that is to starve them out,” said Cameron Morrow, a Parker resident who volunteers twice a week feeding the hungry at the park.


the USDA estimates we throw out about 10 tons of perfectly good food each month here in the US. They also estimate that 11.9% of all US homes suffer from the hilarious euphemism of “food insecurity” — in other words, they don’t have enough f***ing food. That’s bad enough, but remember this is US homes, not US shelters and streets.

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