The realities of extreme poverty in America

LarryC wrote:

Farscry:

Of course. The context was that "it sucked." Why should it suck to be obliged to kill fish for food at any age? Now, not having any food to eat for days because the fishing was lean - that would suck.

It's not the fishing that sucks. It's the situation you find yourself in where you're fishing so that your family can have something to eat or they go hungry. That sucks.

EDIT: Maybe I also have to say "and you're not a fisherman by trade" here, though I'd consider that to be obvious too.

LouZiffer:

Yes, I understood that part, too. Presumably, you don't go fishing for food if you have some easier means of not starving to death. The context is that the poor in America have it as bad as the poor in Third World countries, or so it seemed it was suggested. I was offering a first hand report. To us, it doesn't suck to have to fish for food. That's normal. It sucks to not catch anything.

Larry's focusing on the tone, not the context. There's no real disagreement here.

I hate to say this because it's completely anecdotal, but I've yet to see hordes of American children with distended bellies protruding from skeletal bodies. How do I reconcile the fact that one of the greatest threats to our nation's poor is obesity related disease with the fact that they are being compared to nations where kids are literally starving to death? "Starving to death" is incomparable to "not sure when my next meal will be."

edit: before i'm accused of falling into the trap bombsfall described on the first page, please note it's only the claimed equivalency i'm disputing, not the plight of our nation's poverty stricken.

Got it. I saw a focus on fishing itself, when that's not it at all. Now that I reread it, that was a mistake.

I don't think there is an equivalency. Food is in abundant supply here in the US though malnutrition, including that which leads to obesity, is still a problem for the poor. In much of the country, clothing and shelter are a much bigger problem than they are in places with warmer climates where it's not possible to freeze to death. Still, there are options here that are severely limited or not available at all in other parts of the world. Does that mean we're all good here? Nope. I don't think so.

The fact that there is a contrast with other parts of the world is a given for any place. When poverty in the US is mentioned, that always seems to become a subtext for the discussion. I think it's a distraction from the real problems that are faced by people in this country, especially when there are so many who have the means to address them.

I don't consider not fishing for fun as a mark of poverty. I'm certainly not particularly poor and I fish for food - if I fish, I have every intention of eating what I'm going to catch. Doesn't seem respectful to the fish to have it go through being caught and subjected to suffocation just for my amusement.

Had to make and sell cupcakes in the market for food when I was 10. It was fun. Got hungry occasionally, though.

I think the focus on poverty in the United States should really be on how it is self perpetuating by limiting opportunity. As an employer in inner city Baltimore, I see this all day, every day.

I have single mothers working for me who have no alternative other than to bring their kids to work with them. There, they sit around bored as hell and unstimulated. When I was that age, I was sitting in tutoring classes like other average middle class suburban kids.

Say what you will about the life choices of folks who have kids whilst in poverty, but the kids didn't have a choice in that matter. Moreover, the nation doesn't benefit by squandering its human resources out of some sense of Libertarian ideology. If we're going to be a great nation, we owe it to ourselves to maximize the potential of our children. And we don't do this by punishing kids for the sins of their parents.

To us, it doesn't suck to have to fish for food. That's normal. It sucks to not catch anything.

Larry, I think you're confusing the desire to fish for food and the necessity to fish for food. Will you starve if you don't catch fish?

Malor wrote:
To us, it doesn't suck to have to fish for food. That's normal. It sucks to not catch anything.

Larry, I think you're confusing the desire to fish for food and the necessity to fish for food. Will you starve if you don't catch fish?

Er, yes. I live in a Third World country, Malor. Is it really that hard to believe that some of us (actually a substantial portion of the population) starve on a regular basis? I don't anymore, but I got richer.

Paleocon:

I actually don't find your troubles all that funny because a highly similar set of circumstances plagues me as a fellow employer. It can be exasperating to try hiring from people who don't have a broader view of the world on account of their limited opportunities.

That said, I don't know that it's their fault or that they are the only ones to blame. It may not be very obvious in your situation, but it is abundantly obvious to me that the wealthier inhabitants of my nation do not want the poor to elevate themselves, so they sabotage opportunities and educational systems actively and passively. It is rare for a wealthy person to concern himself honestly with the uplifting of the poor across the nation, and he generally doesn't live very long.

If we are seeing similar end-situations, perhaps some of the core causes are similar.

Yeah, I'm also a bit confused as to why what LarryC is saying re:fishing would be news to anyone. That said, subsistence fishing is not the usual run of things in most communities in the US and represents a significant drop in stability, security and mobility for a family here.

bombsfall wrote:

Yeah, I'm also a bit confused as to why what LarryC is saying re:fishing would be news to anyone. That said, subsistence fishing is not the usual run of things in most communities in the US and represents a significant drop in stability, security and mobility for a family here.

That's why I brought it up. As an American it represents how you can still feed your family even if you are considered some of the poorest people in your country. Yes it is worse in other countries. Even if we have yet to devolve into various warring lords and drug cartels taking everybody's money and keeping the people under threat of violence in a day to day life, we still have poor people relative to other Americans.

It isn't about how poor it is possible to be or how poor you can be, but more about what can we do to prevent it from becoming any worse in our own country, the major causes of it and how we can deal with these problems. It can always get worse, but how can we make it better?

We can't exactly vote people into office that will promise to help solve/end poverty if they are in another country after all.

Paleocon wrote:

I think the focus on poverty in the United States should really be on how it is self perpetuating by limiting opportunity. As an employer in inner city Baltimore, I see this all day, every day.

I have single mothers working for me who have no alternative other than to bring their kids to work with them. There, they sit around bored as hell and unstimulated. When I was that age, I was sitting in tutoring classes like other average middle class suburban kids.

Say what you will about the life choices of folks who have kids whilst in poverty, but the kids didn't have a choice in that matter. Moreover, the nation doesn't benefit by squandering its human resources out of some sense of Libertarian ideology. If we're going to be a great nation, we owe it to ourselves to maximize the potential of our children. And we don't do this by punishing kids for the sins of their parents.

LarryC wrote:

Paleocon:

I actually don't find your troubles all that funny because a highly similar set of circumstances plagues me as a fellow employer. It can be exasperating to try hiring from people who don't have a broader view of the world on account of their limited opportunities.

That said, I don't know that it's their fault or that they are the only ones to blame. It may not be very obvious in your situation, but it is abundantly obvious to me that the wealthier inhabitants of my nation do not want the poor to elevate themselves, so they sabotage opportunities and educational systems actively and passively. It is rare for a wealthy person to concern himself honestly with the uplifting of the poor across the nation, and he generally doesn't live very long.

If we are seeing similar end-situations, perhaps some of the core causes are similar.

Did I miss a post? I did not think Paleocon was suggesting that there was anything funny about it.

LarryC wrote:

Farscry:

Of course. The context was that "it sucked." Why should it suck to be obliged to kill fish for food at any age? Now, not having any food to eat for days because the fishing was lean - that would suck.

Incidentally, similar to why I still hate fishing and camping. (My peculiarly optimist nature feels the need to point out that it taught me a few things that'll help in the apocalypse de jour, but still.)

Others have said it better, but I'll take a swing at it here: It's seen as a little closer to normal where you live. It's... er, not, here.

And the idea that politicians are constantly crowing about how America is so much better while they're content to let what is normal in a notably poorer country go on unopposed is enough to get the blood boiling.

Santa is getting revenge for all the 'I want' spam.