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>The fact that this causes poverty is simply tautological. Poverty is defined as a lack of market income + certain cash benefits. Once a person is unable to work they will become poor regardless of transfer programs or how high their consumption is.

Not in any place were welfare covers those costs. There are people unable to work for life (e.g. severily injured) that still get a special pension instead of getting thrown to the streets to be homeless.

And we're not talking about "unable to work forever" either. I've had hard working friends in the united states who blew all their pension savings because of some urgent need for a few months of hospital care or some surgery. This should just not happen (and it doesn't in other places in the West).

>The way to fix this is to measure poverty by consumption rather than income, but this is unpopular since it would reveal how little poverty really exists

How about you try lowering your personal consumption to the levels you find acceptable for the "non poor", and tell us how it feels? Or, try working 2 jobs to support a child as a single mother, and tell us all about the great cushy living these people have...

http://www.amazon.com/Nickel-Dimed-Not-Getting-America/dp/03...

This idea, that poverty is some absolute value, and we should be thankful that we don't have to eat from garbage bins or live in caves really needs the Ole Yeller treatment...




The US has welfare which covers the things you describe - this is excluded from the poverty measure. You could provide $1MM/year in in-kind benefits (servants, an estate, you name it) but you wouldn't decrease poverty (as defined by the US govt) at all.

I have lowered my personal consumption to US poverty levels (<$20k/year) while living in homeless shelter like conditions (minus the homeless people, aka youth hostels). In fact i enjoy it so much that I'm checking into one tonight; hello Singapore!

The idea that poverty is not some absolute value is kind of crazy - if we solve all this kid's current problems but give other people flying cars and robots (maintaining his relative position), will he still be unable to finish school?

Also, why do you bring up a highly non-representative example (a person working full time) to personify poverty? Why not choose a far more representative person, like someone not working at all or even seeking work?http://www.epi.org/publication/poor-people-work-a-majority-o... http://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/cps/a-profile-of-the-working...


>The idea that poverty is not some absolute value is kind of crazy - if we solve all this kid's current problems but give other people flying cars and robots (maintaining his relative position), will he still be unable to finish school?

Kind of crazy? That has been the idea for millennia, being poor has never been about specific, fixed in time, living conditions. Poor vs rich is a monetary worth issue, not a "does he have a cellphone" issue, and issues of worth are relative. It's the same "relative poorness" that's behind a guy making $15k a year considered poor in the US and frigging rich in Somalia.

>if we solve all this kid's current problems but give other people flying cars and robots (maintaining his relative position), will he still be unable to finish school?

No, he'll be able to finish school alright (and nobody argued against that).

But he'll still be poor though compared to the people with flying cars and robots. And if success in that society is helped by having access to such things, he'll still be behind his peers that have that access.

Same way that if a guy that cannot afford a car has been given a place to stay, he has solved his homelessness problem, but cannot as easily find a job since he only has access to nearby jobs that don't require commuting.

>Also, why do you bring up a highly non-representative example (a person working full time) to personify poverty? Why not choose a far more representative person, like someone not working at all or even seeking work?

The very title of the first article you linked to is: "A Majority of Poor People Who Can Work Do". As the article itself says, 44.3 percent of the "poor people" are "working full-time". That's why I brought up "a person working full time" to personify poverty.

Sure, it's even worse for those who can't find a job, or can only find a part time job. But at least with a poor person working full time the standard BS arguments that one can say about an unemployed poor person ("he's just lazy etc") doesn't even register in the first place.


So you think that because 30% of poor people work full time, your single mother working 2 jobs is representative? Um, OK.

Note also how that source defines "eligible to work" to get that 44% number (by excluding students/age >64/disabled, many of whom could be working). The single mother working 2 jobs is not even representative of this narrowly defined "eligible to work" category.




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