Tagpoverty

Global poverty down between 1970 and 2006

We use a parametric method to estimate the income distribution for 191 countries between 1970 and 2006. We estimate the World Distribution of Income and estimate poverty rates, poverty counts and various measures of income inequality and welfare. Using the official $1/day line, we estimate that world poverty rates have fallen by 80% from 0.268 in 1970 to 0.054 in 2006. The corresponding total number of poor has fallen from 403 million in 1970 to 152 million in 2006. Our estimates of the global poverty count in 2006 are much smaller than found by other researchers. We also find similar reductions in poverty if we use other poverty lines. We find that various measures of global inequality have declined substantially and measures of global welfare increased by somewhere between 128% and 145%. We analyze poverty in various regions. Finally, we show that our results are robust to a battery of sensitivity tests involving functional forms, data sources for the largest countries, methods of interpolating and extrapolating missing data, and dealing with survey misreporting.

National Bureau of Economics Research: Parametric Estimations of the World Distribution of Income

(via Overcoming Bias)

Distributed Manufacturing Beyond Trinkets

Primary good that can be presnetly produced via Ponoko: a bat box. Sounds simple, admittedly, but it’s well suited to the current production capabilities of Ponoko. Additionally, this qualifies as a “primary good” precisely because, by housing bats in one’s yard, it’s possible to 1) control insect populations, and 2) accumulate valuable fertilizer from the bats for use in localized food production. Bee hives and relate systems are another good example, though the need for wire mesh is slightly beyond the current Ponoko capabilities. Another: cold frames. Worm farm. The list goes on.

Primary good that can be produced via Ponoko with modifications to its capabilities: A hand pump. This would probably require the ability to work with metal, in both sheet and tube form. I recognize that this is well beyond the current capability of Ponoko, but it’s not theoretically that big of a change. Also, if you added the ability to work with sheet metal and pipes/tubing, the universe of potential “primary” goods would open quite quickly (e.g. solar water heaters, stoves, etc.).

Jeff Vail: Distributed Manufacturing Beyond Trinkets

Two million slum children die every year as India booms

India’s growing status as an economic superpower is masking a failure to stem a shocking rate of infant deaths among its poorest people.

Nearly two million children under five die every year in India – one every 15 seconds – the highest number anywhere in the world. More than half die in the month after birth and 400,000 in their first 24 hours.

A devastating report by Save the Children, due out on Monday, reveals that the poor are disproportionately affected and the charity accuses the country of failing to provide adequate healthcare for the impoverished majority of its one billion people. While the World Bank predicts that India’s economy will be the fastest-growing by next year and the country is an influential force within the G20, World Health Organisation figures show it ranks 171st out of 175 countries for public health spending.

Guardian: Two million slum children die every year as India booms

(via Cryptogon)

One in nine Americans receiving food stamps

Yikes.

More than 35 million Americans received food stamps in June, up 22 percent from June 2008 and a new record as the country continued to grapple with the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The food stamp program, which helps cover the cost of groceries for one in nine Americans, has grown in step with the U.S. unemployment rate which stood at 9.4 percent in July.

Reuters: Food stamp list soars past 35 million: USDA

(via Cryptogon)

Low-Wage Workers Are Often Cheated, Study Says

Low-wage workers are routinely denied proper overtime pay and are often paid less than the minimum wage, according to a new study based on a survey of workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The study, the most comprehensive examination of wage-law violations in a decade, also found that 68 percent of the workers interviewed had experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week. […]

In surveying 4,387 workers in various low-wage industries, including apparel manufacturing, child care and discount retailing, the researchers found that the typical worker had lost $51 the previous week through wage violations, out of average weekly earnings of $339. That translates into a 15 percent loss in pay.

The researchers said one of the most surprising findings was how successful low-wage employers were in pressuring workers not to file for workers’ compensation. Only 8 percent of those who suffered serious injuries on the job filed for compensation to pay for medical care and missed days at work stemming from those injuries.

New York Times: Low-Wage Workers Are Often Cheated, Study Says

But if poor people would just work harder they wouldn’t be in this situation. Right? Right!?!

The High Cost of Poverty

The poorer you are, the more things cost. More in money, time, hassle, exhaustion, menace. This is a fact of life that reality television and magazines don’t often explain.

So we’ll explain it here. Consider this a primer on the economics of poverty.

“The poor pay more for a gallon of milk; they pay more on a capital basis for inferior housing,” says Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). “The poor and 100 million who are struggling for the middle class actually end up paying more for transportation, for housing, for health care, for mortgages. They get steered to subprime lending. . . . The poor pay more for things middle-class America takes for granted.”

Poverty 101: We’ll start with the basics.

Like food: You don’t have a car to get to a supermarket, much less to Costco or Trader Joe’s, where the middle class goes to save money. You don’t have three hours to take the bus. So you buy groceries at the corner store, where a gallon of milk costs an extra dollar.

A loaf of bread there costs you $2.99 for white. For wheat, it’s $3.79. The clerk behind the counter tells you the gallon of leaking milk in the bottom of the back cooler is $4.99. She holds up four fingers to clarify. The milk is beneath the shelf that holds beef bologna for $3.79. A pound of butter sells for $4.49. In the back of the store are fruits and vegetables. The green peppers are shriveled, the bananas are more brown than yellow, the oranges are picked over.

(At a Safeway on Bradley Boulevard in Bethesda, the wheat bread costs $1.19, and white bread is on sale for $1. A gallon of milk costs $3.49 — $2.99 if you buy two gallons. A pound of butter is $2.49. Beef bologna is on sale, two packages for $5.)

Washington Post: The High Cost of Poverty

(via OVO)

See also: Nickeled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Can Counting Food Miles do More Harm Than Good?

For those of us trying to make more sustainable choices within our daily lives, the decision to buy local produce appears to be an obvious next step. The transportation sector contributes nearly one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries. It seems logical then that cutting down on the distance between consumers and producers should also have a direct impact on emissions. For this reason the last few years have seen a push for food miles labeling particularly in Europe. However, many critics of food miles feel that this system is at best tokenistic and in some cases does more harm than good.

The food miles debate highlights a clash between differing sustainable development agendas. From an environmental perspective, encouraging consumers to alter their purchasing patterns and limiting transportation emissions can only be a good thing. However, from an economic development point of view, food miles labeling can damage important industries in poor countries.

The article concludes food miles are an inadequate measure of the ecological impact of a particular food and suggests more rigorous analysis including:

* Transportation measurements that include all the distances involved in production and distribution, as well as final food delivery (one item is often harvested in one location, processed in another, packaged elsewhere before being sent to a regional distribution center and finally a retail store);
* Allowances for different means of transportation and fuels;
* Emissions associated with packaging, storage procedures, harvesting techniques and water usage;
* Different emissions factors based on methods of cultivation. For instance, the UK Department for International Development have found that ‘the emissions produced by growing flowers in Kenya and flying them to the UK can be less than a fifth of those grown in heated and lighted greenhouses in Holland’;
* An analysis which includes all greenhouse gases. Most studies incorporate only the carbon emissions associated with particular foods, but other greenhouse gases with varying global warming potentials also play a key role;

World Resources Institute:

(via Appropedia)

1 in 50 American children experiences homelessness

One of every 50 American children experiences homelessness, according to a new report that says most states have inadequate plans to address the worsening and often-overlooked problem.

The report being released Tuesday by the National Center on Family Homelessness gives Connecticut the best ranking. Texas is at the bottom.

“These kids are the innocent victims, yet it seems somehow or other they get left out,” said the center’s president, Dr. Ellen Bassuk. “Why are they America’s outcasts?”

The report analyzes data from 2005-2006. It estimates that 1.5 million children experienced homelessness at least once that year, and says the problem is surely worse now because of the foreclosures and job losses of the deepening recession.

“If we could freeze-frame it now, it would be bad enough,” said Democratic Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, who wrote a foreward to the report. “By end of this year, it will be that much worse.”

The report’s overall state rankings reflect performance in four areas: child homelessness per capita, child well-being, risk for child homelessness, and state policy and planning.

The top five states were Connecticut, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island and North Dakota. At the bottom were Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, New Mexico and Louisiana

Full Story: AP

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