poverty

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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I figured out the source of New Zealand poverty

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It turns out, the parents spent all the money!

Shoppers spent a massive $5.3 billion last month, the latest Paymark figures show.

Spending last month – fuelled in part by Christmas shopping, Boxing Day sales, and New Year’s Eve holidaymakers – was up $300 million, or 5.4 per cent, on December 2013.

Last year also saw the highest growth in spending since 2007, with Paymark processing $52.3 billion of transactions for the year – up 6.6 per cent on 2013.

Don’t you see?  People have no money, because they are spending it in every increasing amounts.   Read more »

Comment of the Day

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Pete (not ours, the other) had a pearler this morning

As I was eating crayfish last night I was wondering who is feeding all those 10,000s of starving kids we keep hearing about who are living in poverty over this xmas New years break while the schools are closed?

I haven’t read any reports of them turning up in droves at A&E suffering from malnutrition …or are they only starving when politicians are not on holiday???

Hard proof there is dreadful poverty in this country

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Post-Christmas shoppers break the bank

Eager shoppers have splurged on clothing, jewellery and food in a record-breaking post-Christmas spending spree.

A staggering $404 million was spent on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, according to the latest Paymark figures.

Last-minute shoppers set a new record by spending $263.5 million across the Paymark network on Christmas Eve, up 10 per cent from last year. Read more »

Auckland City mission admits it’s not about poverty

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Another bit of native advertising in the NZ Herald proved to be enlightening

Auckland City Mission will provide Christmas lunch to more than 2600 people this year, a more than 25 per cent increase on the 2000 meals they served last year.

On Christmas Day the Auckland City Mission will host its annual lunch and celebration at Auckland’s Viaduct Event Centre. Read more »