My regular Sunday piece of interesting, longer, deeper stories I found during the week. It’s also a chance for you to share what you found this week too. Those stimulating links you wanted to share, but just didn’t fit in anywhere (no linkwhoring). This week: Child poverty, malnutrition, austerity, Israel in the media and stoicism.
Seventy years ago yesterday a report was released in Britain which proved the foundation of their welfare state. It was very well received, particularly by the UK Labour party, who won election at the end of World War II on the back of supporting it. The question is, if we had a report like Liberal MP Sir William Beveridge’s today, would we be so open to it?
Back then there were the ‘deserving poor’, now too often we see them as scroungers – even though there’s no evidence that the poor have got lazy. The UK think-tank Demos went through all the groups that make up the 30% on low-incomes (“hardly a hidden underclass”) and found none of them to be ripping off the system. The Tories want to redefine poverty from simply not having enough money to a moral dimension – “dadlessness” and drug use etc according to their think-tank Centre for Social Justice. The UK’s Child Poverty Action Group points out though that:
“A child is much more likely to be in poverty because they have a dad who is a security worker or a mum who is a carer than because they have a dad who is a gambler or a mum who is a drug addict.”
On causes of Child Poverty the question is asked: why the elite insist on austerity – in short because all the options look bad, so they’ll go for the option that’s worked best for them in the past.
On outcomes of Child Poverty: 40% of the world’s children suffer malnutrition, even though we could eradicate it in 20 years if we wanted. Causes aren’t just lack of food to eat; they are also dirty water causing diarrhoea; and, sadly, a lack of attention by carers.
The New York Times’ Jerusalem Chief got in a measure of trouble on Twitter and facebook for making such comments from her trip to Gaza: “they have such limited lives tha[t] in many ways they have less to lose.” And “when I talk to people who just lost a relative, or who are gathering belongings from a bombed-out house, they seem a bit ho-hum.” To her credit she had gone to Gaza, and she also engaged with the angry response. But the New York Times isn’t taking such risks in future – the Jerusalem Chief’s future social media posts will be edited to reduce risk of reader engagement.
Finally it’s been Stoic week, so learn about true stoicism.