poverty

The poverty scam

What is poverty?

It’s a good question since the left-wing likes to claim that some number of children live in poverty. They constantly bang on about poverty and child poverty.

But the reality is that in New Zealand there is no real poverty. Poverty has simply been redefined to suit their agenda to control the narrative.

James Bartholomew looks at the same redefinition of poverty and what it is reality in the United Kingdom.

The word “poverty” is bandied about as never before. Labour politicians, columnists for The Guardian and The Independent, representatives of charities such as Oxfam, use the term repeatedly, suggesting that poverty in Britain is a major and even a growing problem. Very rarely does anyone on radio or television dare challenge this idea. But what do we mean by the word “poverty” today? And how does our idea of poverty compare with that of the past?

Flora Thompson experienced poverty in late 19th-century Britain and later described it in her famous trilogy of books known as Lark Rise to Candleford. She was brought up in a small village in rural Oxfordshire, the daughter of a labourer. In that village “some of the cottages had two bedrooms, others only one”. If there was only a single bedroom, a curtain or screen would separate the parents and the children. The cottages were often “a tight fit, for children swarmed, eight, ten, or even more in some families although they were seldom all at home together”. The only way to pack them all in was for “beds and shakedowns” to be “closely packed” so that the “inmates had to climb over one bed to get into another”.

There was no running water and, of course, no electricity. The only lavatory for each household was “either in a little beehive-shaped building at the bottom of the garden or in a corner of the wood and toolshed known as ‘the hovel’ ”. It was “a deep pit with a seat set over it”. Once every six months the pit would be emptied creating such a stench that it “caused every door and window in the vicinity to be sealed”. As for food, “fresh meat was a luxury only seen in a few of the cottages on a Sunday”. People mostly depended on bread and lard. “Fresh butter was too costly for general use” and “milk was a rare luxury”.

Shoes and boots were barely affordable, to the extent that “how to get a pair of new boots for ‘our young Ern or Alf ’ was a problem which kept many a mother awake at night”. Obtaining clothes was “an even more difficult matter” so that “it was difficult to keep decently covered”. Labourers sipped their beer slowly in the evening because they could only afford half a pint. The girls were sent out to be servants in richer households when they were between 11 and 13.

Going back further in time to the beginning of the 19th century, many ordinary people could not afford shoes at all and wore clogs instead. People died of starvation in 1846/47 in Scotland as well as in Ireland during the potato famine. Indeed, Britain was affected by more than 95 famines in the Middle Ages, such as the one in 1235 when about 20,000 Londoners died of starvation and many resorted to eating tree bark in an attempt to survive.

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So poverty is now defined as having no pajamas

The Herald on Sunday has announced a new campaign, giving away pajamas to the poor.

The Herald on Sunday is today launching a campaign to provide much-needed pyjamas for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable kids.

We have teamed up with the Middlemore Foundation to support its annual Jammies in June campaign.

The initiative is in its third year and we’re calling on readers to help raise a record $40,000 and 10,000 pairs of new pyjamas.

Cash donated will be used to buy more pyjamas, as well as blankets, socks and other items to keep Kiwi kids toasty this winter.

Herald on Sunday editor Miriyana Alexander urged readers to get behind the campaign.

“The foundation does a fabulous job, and I’m delighted to lend our support to this pyjama fundraiser,” Alexander said.

“It’s confronting to think so many Kiwi kids might be going to bed cold this winter — but that’s the reality.

“Please join us to ensure thousands more can go to bed snug and warm this winter.”

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They pimp the poor in Australia too, but a bogan mayor has sledged the media back

Fairfax, the NZ Herald and John Campbell all love to pimp the poor.

In Australia they have been doing it too, but one resident plus the local mayor have gone feral on the media.

SBS has been slammed for offending Mt Druitt residents and making fun of a man with dementia in a new show.

The three-part taxpayer-funded series Struggle Street — produced at an estimated cost of $350,000 an episode — has been described as “publicly funded poverty porn”.

One of the promo clips for the series features Ashley Kennedy, 53, who was diagnosed with dementia during the filming, passing wind on the front step of his house and shouting and swearing.

“When I saw that promo I was shocked and horrified. They showed my husband farting on national TV,” Mr Kennedy’s wife, community leader Peta Kennedy, 55, said yesterday.

“When we signed up for it we thought it was supposed to be about people’s struggles and going through their problems and getting back on their feet, but this is awful.”

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Nearly 20% of all children continue to be born into welfare dependency

Lindsay Mitchell blogs:

If there is one statistic that epitomises the state of modern family under decades of benefit influence it’s the following.

Each year I put the same question to MSD (adjusting dates obviously):

At December 31, 2014, how many benefit recipients aged 16-64 had a dependent child born in 2014?

This time the answer  is 11,149 – or 19.4% of all children born in 2014. Still nearly one in five.

While there is gradual and steady improvement (below are the percentages for the last 10 years) the pattern remains well entrenched (largely independent of the economy), a point I have made repeatedly over the years: Read more »

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No surprises here, being poor makes you stupid

The Daily Mail reports on a study that confirms that being poor makes you stupid, with brains on average 7% smaller.

Poor children develop smaller brains than their richer classmates, according to two US studies.

Neuroscientists who studied the brains of more than 100 young people found that the surface area of their cerebral cortex could be linked to family income.

The region of the brain studied is responsible for language, memory, spatial skills and reasoning.

Columbia University found children in families that earned less than $25,000 ( £16,900) a year had surface areas six per cent smaller than those whose families earned $150,000 (£68,500) or more.    Read more »

Daniel Hannan on poverty and why Nelson Mandela was wrong

Daniel Hannan is a thinker, and an eloquent speaker.

He has challenged Nelson Mandela’s thinking on poverty and explains why Mandela was wrong.

“Like slavery and apartheid,” Nelson Mandela told 20,000 people in Trafalgar Square ten years ago, “poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

They were inspiring words, and the crowd duly went wild. But the old man was talking utter, unadulterated bilge. Poverty is not “man-made”: it is the primordial condition of all living organisms, including humans. It is wealth that is “man-made”.

As usual Hannan is straight into it without hesitation.

Perhaps 100,000 years ago, our distant fathers hit on the idea that, instead of having to do everything themselves, they could specialise and exchange. If Ug is particularly deft at making flint weapons, let him stay behind and concentrate on what he’s good at while the rest of the tribe hunts and brings him a share of the meat. While we’re about it, Og from the neighbouring clan has a rare gift for making fishhooks: why not trade some of them for Ug’s flints?

From that simple discovery came, in due course, wheels and printing presses and spinning jennies and skyscrapers and antibiotics and the Internet. The greater the number of people drawn into a commercial nexus, the more each individual can concentrate on improving his or her particular métier. The hours which we need to work in order to support ourselves fall, giving us more free time – both to employ in leisure pursuits and to come up with yet more ingenious inventions. People became longer-lived, more literate, more comfortable, better-fed, taller, more numerate and more numerous. They also, incidentally, become more peaceable: far from being ruthless or selfish, capitalism joins men and women together in a cats-cradle of mutual dependency. That, in a nutshell is the history of homo sapiens.

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Who feeds them in the holidays?

Paula Bennett is dead right, and of course the usual harpies of the left are moaning that she is benny bashing.

But is she?

Minister of Local Government Paula Bennett says she expects parents to send their children to school with lunch.

National, ACT and United Future parties have voted down the Feed the Kids bill by 61-59 which sought to feed 20 per cent of New Zealand’s lowest decile school children.

“It absolutely is the right thing to do. We provide breakfast into any school that wants it and this is being taken up which is great, but we believe in parental responsibility and I stand by the decision we made,” Bennett says.

Meanwhile Labour Justice Spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says of course it’s the role of parents to feed their kids but some parents cannot afford to feed their families.    Read more »

National to target “Family hardship”

Listen up folks:  Poverty, that statistical abomination that the opposition uses to guilt us all into thinking we have a quarter of a million kids that go without the essentials of life, is on the outer.  National are not addressing poverty, but they will deal with family hardship.

Prime Minister John Key has announced a review of the ways the Government spends billions on vulnerable families and children ahead of the Budget in May.

A review on what we are spending and retargeting money that isn’t providing a good returns is a good initiative.  It won’t please the left, as they just want “more money”.  As if more money has ever solved anything by itself.

“The Government is looking at ways to help families and children in material hardship,” he said in his Prime Minister’s statement….

“As a first step, the Government will look hard at the billions of dollars already spent on vulnerable families and children to determine how this could be better used.”

Expect some bludgers with manufactured hardship to face some real hardship unless they get off their arses and back to work.   Read more »

Brilliant for the World – tragic for the Left/Socialism

Bill Gates has published his annual letter.

In it he states:

The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else’s.

and;

But we think the next 15 years will see major breakthroughs for most people in poor countries. They will be living longer and in better health. They will have unprecedented opportunities to get an education, eat nutritious food, and benefit from mobile banking. These breakthroughs will be driven by innovation in technology — ranging from new vaccines and hardier crops to much cheaper smartphones and tablets — and by innovations that help deliver those things to more people.

The rich world will keep getting exciting new advances too, but the improvements in the lives of the poor will be far more fundamental — the basics of a healthy, productive life. It’s great that more people in rich countries will be able to watch movies on super hi-resolution screens. It’s even better that more parents in poor countries will know their children aren’t going to die.

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Busting Oxfam’s spin on the 1% now owning 50% of the world’s wealth

The other day Oxfam claimed via some highly questionable figures that suggest the richest 1 per cent will soon own over 50 per cent of the wealth.

Predictably the left-wing were all over this as some kind of truism that capitalism is inherently evil and the government must act somehow to stop this.

The mere notion that Oxfam puts forward is silly in the first instance and wrong in the second.

Fraser Nelson at the Spectator explains.

The hijacking of Oxfam by the politicised left is nothing short of a tragedy. It’s heartbreaking to see a charity that has built up so much goodwill from so many people being used by activists as a vehicle for global class war. As a result, Oxfam is switching its focus away from global poverty towards something very different: wealth inequality.

It has today come up with some questionable figures suggesting that the richest 1 per cent will soon own over 50 per cent of the wealth. Here is Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, with a message she intends to give before she heads off to Davos:

‘We see a concentration of wealth capturing power and leaving ordinary people voiceless and their interests uncared for… The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.’

She didn’t have space, it seems, in her Guardian interview or in the Oxfam research to point out that right now global poverty has been declining faster than at any point in human history.

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Even if Oxfam’s forecast came true, you have to ask: isn’t the charity supposed to be worried about the poor, rather than obsessing about the rich? Its adverts want to you believe that age-old (and laughably incorrect) trope that the poor are poor because the rich are rich: that wealth is a pie, and the powerful are helping themselves to an ever-larger slice. In fact wealth is something that people generate, and on a global basis more of it is being generated than ever before. This ought to be celebrated, because the pie is bigger than ever before – this is translating into fewer hungry people than ever before.

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