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A Planning-like role in ending poverty

luckless pedestrian

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This is a fascinating article about how Canada seems to be able to reduce their poverty level by a staggering 20% - it's all about community and connecting - something all of us in community development have been saying for years!

Posting here for thoughts and obvious jealousy of our northern neighbors
 
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kjel

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Poverty is a very local issue as it doesn't look the same everywhere, yet the same set of band-aids are applied everywhere.
 

Eric Kaplan

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Personally, it seems to be a lack of education and access to resources that really create poverty in today's modern, first-world societies. While food pantries are important as a safety net (if you've ever lived hand to mouth, you know what I mean), bridging socio-economic gaps prevents institutional elitism. That, in turn, would lead to direct change because the powerful, rich, business owners would be, under this sort of a program, obligated to be at the same level as their less fortunate counterparts.
In theory, it is similar to how most mixed-use urban neighborhoods tend to be safer and more functional than demographically similar yet less socio-economically dynamic ones. Often times, it is overly developed, industry centered neighborhoods or completely residential urban areas with little economic activity that become afflicted by poverty.
Similarly, if you make people from different areas and fields network often to solve problems, it will have the effect of making the city's social fabric tighter and more "dynamic".
However, as stated in my opening sentence, I think a lot of core issues lie in those two elements associated with poverty. Perhaps addressing those would lower poverty by 50%....
 

Eric Kaplan

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In the laundry list of factors that lead to the success of this type of innovative program in Canada, compared to the reality of it possibly failing if implemented in the exact, same way in the U.S. , one really struck a chord. Social Medicine and first-rate Universal Healthcare. Because the "poverty" demographic involved in the non-profit led socio-economic networking experiment all had good healthcare and guaranteed medical help for any kind of emergencies, it may have been easier for them to focus on making the most out of the opportunities offered when joining this initiative. How can climbing your way up the economic ladder because of a public-private program, that would seemslofty to many Americans, be your priority if your dying of a treatable ailment? The Social Darwinist attitude inherent in the American healthcare system is a large cog in the phenomenon of domestic poverty.
On a similar note, because of Socialized Medicine, a conversation about implementing a policy-based project like this wouldn't be far-fetched because of how many great, left-leaning, public services there are available to people. But, in the land of private medical insurance, where we can't even come up with reasonable policies for preventing mass-killers from obtaining firearms legally, it would seem unrealistic to poor participants that this type of a pragmatic project could drastically lower the poverty rate.
Thus, I argue, that in America, a policy-based program to change systemic, societal issues would have to offer more economic incentives to business-owners and wealthier members for contributing their time and aid to eliminating poverty. Somehow, given the political differences between Canada and the US, there would be less hesitation to sacrifice a bit of excess, personal resources for the greater good. After all, that and the faith in that political ideology part of what makes Universal Healthcare a working reality.
 

Doohickie

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Thus, I argue, that in America, a policy-based program to change systemic, societal issues would have to offer more economic incentives to business-owners and wealthier members for contributing their time and aid to eliminating poverty.
You want to give the rich more money? I hesitate to turn this into a political thread, but a good part of the reason people can't afford healthcare and other things that were once within reach of the working person is that wealth is being disproprotionately funneled to the very rich.
 

Eric Kaplan

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I didn't say give them more money...I said "more economic incentives", meaning tax breaks, liens, excellent returns on their investments, the ability to cut through excessive, bureaucratic red tape and expedite results, etc. Notice, I didn't say "the rich", I said "business owners and wealthier members". Business owners can very often be working, or middle class, people, however they can directly impact economic change by hiring those in need. The wealthier members of this experiment in Canada were willing to help out, and as said in the article there were also incentives for them to partake. But, given the state of affairs in America, do you think that would really work? I am merely taking a pragmatic approach, that of a social entrepreneur.
Money is money. Whether it comes from the government or the private sector, much of it is earned with ill-gotten gains. Market demand controls medicine and health care, gun control, prisons and the criminal justice system, among other things in the U.S. Don't tell me that corrupt government officials (of which the U.S. still has plenty) should take less money from WEALTHIER (by that I don't mean the 1%, as you were suggesting) private actors that will gain from helping the most neglected demographic of our society. God forbid wealthier people (again, not the Illuminati...I'm talking American, suburbanite, upper-middle class, borgeous folk) that invest in helping society should benefit from it, huh?
Given the socio-economic and political climate in America right now, I don't think that the Canadian program would work in the US without more incentives. Perhaps, they don't necessarily have to be economic, though. That's where planners and policy makers need to get creative.
Interestingly enough, I'm working on a white paper/proposal that deals with this very issue. Eliminating poverty through innovative and modern-day means (like the networking in Canada). However, I personally believe technology needs to be implemented more often and effectively. It requires a lot of innovation to get America to the level of our first-world peers in sociological terms, and there is no easy answer, either way, as to how to pick up the pieces.
No, I do not support the rich getting richer unless they are using a good sum of money to give back to society efficiently and often. Of course, by earning their money through legal, hard working means, not "funneling". I oppose the funneling and apparent upper-class agenda to systematically swindle people in recent years.
By the way, I've been on Welfare and Medicaid, and had to go to the Newark, NJ Essex County welfare department. Believe me, I know how demeaning it can be to be poor in America. At this point, if wealthy people make more socially conscious purchases an investments, it can only help. Unless you want to grab the pitchforks and start a revolution....
 

The One

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True - I took a class from Donna Beegle and she changed my entire outlook and really helped my work in community development
Same here, but my class was Social Planning with Bernie Jones author of Neighborhood Planning. He had numerous examples of how Canadian planners interacted with those in poverty and worked in a wide variety of positions, not just land use.
 

Whose Yur Planner

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Poverty in America is a tangled skein of racial, social, finacial, health and religious issues. I don't think there is the will to solve it.
 
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