The New Poor

698
-1

Published on

One of the most prominent outcomes of the financial crises is the emerging new class of poverty, the people who represented the “wellbeing dream of development” are now poor, and they are mainly Young, Educated and Unemployed!
Though it is without any doubt their right to have their basic human rights attained, they remain framed in a new category of poverty that makes them as they themselves have described it to be “Invisible”.

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
698
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The New Poor

  1. 1. The New Poor: Welcome To Poverty! By: Bayan Shadaideh WPHR Harvard Spring 2010 “The world is yet to see the extent to the problem that we have ourselves created. But the measures to tackle the problems shouldn’t lead to more trouble. It is in our hands to change things in a way that don’t ever get into the kind of mess we have got ourselves into now” Amartya Sen speaking at a conference organized to commemorate his 75th birthday One of the most prominent outcomes of the financial crises is the emerging new class of poverty, the people who represented the “wellbeing dream of development” are now poor, and they are mainly Young, Educated and Unemployed! Though it is without any doubt their right to have their basic human rights attained, they remain framed in a new category of poverty that makes them as they themselves have described it to be “Invisible”. In this article I will focus on unveiling this new category of poverty, and begin unfolding the impact of that on development in its broader sense.
  2. 2. Though the “New Poor” is a world-wide phenomenon, for the purpose of brevity this article will focus mainly on the USA. A Snapshot of the New Poor Though the world has been watching the percentage of unemployment with anticipation and anxiety, there has been a hopeful sigh of relief as the media focused on having these percentages dropping and stabilizing in January 2010. The fact is however that 26 million people in the USA are jobless today! They are educated and experienced, they have been struggling to get that promotion for having an even better life and then suddenly they became poor. This is definitely changing the paradigm of the Human Rights for Development, for this segment is what we have been developing others to be. According to Sen’s Capability theory, these people are capable but they definitely now are not able to practice their skills and expertise, for the best choice that they have is to strive to find much lower paying jobs which are basically non-existent, or to try to raise their case as unemployed and fight to get unemployment benefits to feed their children as they do so. Obviously they are losing their freedoms one by one, for according to the five types of freedom defined by Sen in “Freedom as End of Development”, first their protective security is gone, then their transparency guarantees, followed by social opportunities and economic facilities and now they are losing their political freedom only as a result of the aforementioned. But above all of that, they lost what the “very poor” will never lose, hope! The dream of a better tomorrow in which if you work hard you will live well.
  3. 3. However, as agents for development we pause here and reflect by asking ourselves what will this do to the dream of development we have been promoting to those who we identified as underdeveloped, will there be “trust” in what we are advocating while everyone sees the impact of this vehicle on those who are now “newly poor”? How will “Public Reasoning” be transformed after this intense change took place? The New Poor have the right to be heard and visible. The world needs to understand their survival needs most compassionately and with extreme delicacy and respect while addressing this to be only the tip of the iceberg. Here are only a few examples of how the new poor are going through, Can’t afford having divorce! “With a divorce costing as much as $188,000 and many couples owing more on their homes than the properties are now worth, some are turning to marriage counseling. One Illinois therapist has seen a 25% jump, bucking the trend of rising divorces during recession. Says a New York therapist: "I had a woman say to me: ‘My God, I can’t stand my husband. Every day I just want to leave him, but I can’t afford it.'" Are Violence, Aggression and Suicide the answers for the “New Poor”? The body count is still rising. For months on end, marked by bankruptcies, foreclosures, evictions, and layoffs, the economic meltdown has taken a heavy toll on Americans. In response, a range of extreme acts including suicide, self-inflicted injury, murder, and arson have hit the local news.
  4. 4. The American Dream is now a foreclosure notice! “Foreclosures are about the home. The importance of the home to Americans can hardly be overstated. The home is the center of American life. It is where we live, where we raise our families, where we gather with friends, and, in many cases, where we work. It is the physical and emotional nexus of many households as well as the centerpiece of many Americans’ finances. The home is the single largest asset of many Americans” This home, the symbol of good living has now turned to be the void bubble that either already vanished or is on the way for that. Over half a million homes were actually sold in foreclosure or otherwise surrendered to lenders in 2007 and over 700,000 were sold in foreclosure in the first three quarters of 2008 alone. This means that nearly one out of every twenty residential borrowers entered the foreclosure process in the past two years. At the end of the third quarter of 2008, one in ten homeowners was either past due or in foreclosure, the highest levels on record. Most of these people live now in “Tent Cities” in which they struggle to survive while the rest know for sure that their turn will come. Did it stop? NO! Employers took 1,570 mass layoff actions in February that resulted in the separation of 155,718 workers reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor. And many more layoffs are taking place as we speak.
  5. 5. As the “New Poor” begin having a clearer definition new consequences are inevitable to arise, such as the coming wave of education debts just as those that happened with real estate, and definitely many people become homeless, helpless, and suicidal. This is a call for identifying the “New Poor” and the impact of losing the paradigm that once stood to be iconic of the development dream of “wellbeing” References, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEDDTxRrtK4 http://www.linkedin.com/answers/government- non-profit/government-policy/GOV_GPO/646666- 12753693?browseIdx=0&sik=1269938507589&goba ck=%2Eamq http://www.iyfnet.org/uploads/IYF%20Spotlight.pdf Foreclosure Crisis: Working Toward a Solution. March Oversight Report. March 6, 2009 Effects of Poverty, Hunger, and Homelessness on Children and Youth American Psychiatry Association http://www.apa.org/pi/families/poverty.asp x http://www.bls.gov/news.release/mmls.nr0.htm
  6. 6. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/aug2009/hmls- a10.shtml http://www.mint.com/blog/finance-core/a-visual- guide-to-the-financial-crisis-unemployment-rates/ http://www.corporate- eye.com/blog/2008/11/financial-crisis-recession- usually-layoffs/ http://inform.com/vanity-fair-magazine/rush-exits- suddenly-poor-manhattan-families-yanking-kids- private-school-367219a http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va &aid=18203 http://topnews.us/content/23373-unemployment- rate-highest-16-years-598000-layoffs-announced- january http://www.oprah.com/money/Layoff-Survival-Guide

×