I spent 48 hours in Haiti last week. It wasn’t much time. But it was enough to taste the hot, sticky air. To navigate the teeming streets of Port-au-Prince, pressed by a sea of humanity. To jostle my spine on roads which my traveling companion assured me had gotten better since the last time he … Continue reading 48 hours in Haiti
Fifty years ago, Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. The legacy of this war is hotly contested, and there are at least three competing views. Some argue the War on Poverty created a culture of dependency, while pouring massive amounts of money down the drain. They point to official government figures, which show the poverty … Continue reading Should we even be fighting the War on Poverty?
I believe poverty is more than a matter of personal behavior. People are poor not primarily because of bad decisions (though financial stress can disrupt a person’s decision-making ability) but because of other factors, many of them external, which trap them in poverty. That said, I’ve seen the other kind of poverty — the kind that’s … Continue reading The other kind of poverty
Growing up, only a few blocks separated my home from one of the poorer neighborhoods in town. We drove through it from time to time, passing that one house with the huge satellite dish (it was the 90s) and the sports car parked outside. The house and its occupants (who we never met, much less … Continue reading Why do we blame the poor for buying stuff they can’t afford but not the ones who sell it to them?
More cracks in the stereotypical view of poor people as freeloaders: it turns out unemployment benefits don’t diminish a person’s motivation to find work. Just the opposite, in fact. In a post on BillMoyers.com, Joshua Holland shared the findings from a multinational study by Jan Eichhorn, a sociologist at the University of Edinburgh. The study … Continue reading The myth of the unemployed freeloader
Behind the controversy over Dave Ramsey’s “20 Things” post and his defense of it, there’s an assumption that poverty in America is fundamentally different from poverty in the developing world. Almost everyone — including Dave Ramsey — accepts there are systemic, structural injustices which cause poverty in the other parts of the world. “The third-world economy is and should … Continue reading Poverty is more than a matter of poor decision-making
Dave Ramsey probably wasn’t expecting this much pushback when he shared a piece by Tim Corley contrasting the habits of the rich with those of the poor. In her response on CNN, Rachel Held Evans noted that Ramsey and Corley mistake correlation for causality when they suggest (without actually proving) that these habits are the … Continue reading 20 things the poor really do every day
Several prominent evangelicals released a statement today called The Evangelical Manifesto. Definitely worth reading. The statement and its signers seek to define evangelicalism in a way that, to many, may sound a lot like someone trying to put new spin on an old idea. But what this manifesto proposes is nothing more (or less) than … Continue reading Evangelical recovery?