The following are my teaching assignments on critical thinking for California 12th grade students in the semester-long courses, “US Government” and “Economics.” I offer them for non-profit use:
- Information and recommendations for your child’s success (and overall introduction to this article series) 1 of 6
- Heart of social science (2 of 6)
- Critical thinking skills in government and economics (3 of 6)
- Case Study: Economics and policy of ending poverty (4 of 6)
- Critical thinking skills in action: policy analysis of ‘current events,’ past and present (US Government: 5 of 6)
- Critical thinking skills in action: economic analysis of ‘current events,’ past and present (Economics: 6 of 6)
In the progression of these assignments, I as the teacher have:
- connected with parents,
- set the context of social science,
- defined and explained critical thinking skills
Now, before students consider and research a topic of interest, I provide a case study to reveal how dark our history/present can be. Paradoxically, this darkness co-exists with game-changing solutions for Earth to become beautiful and alive beyond our imaginations. This kind of case study is essential preparation for students to see full factual truths and solutions that thousands of us in alternative media reveal for essential basic education in government and economics (in my public citizen voice):
- Unlawful Wars of Aggression based on easily-provable lies (here, here, here, here),
- Bankster-looting economics (here, here, here, here, here),
- Lying sacks of spin corporate media that “cover” the crimes.
The case study of our .01% “leaders” of the so-called “developed countries” absolute failure to end poverty prepares students to face a reality worse than their capacity to imagine, and recognize powerful solutions ready to implement here and now:
Case Study: Economics and policy of ending poverty
Instructions: Read this passage. Then cut and copy the questions onto your own document. This assignment is worth 1 point per question, for a total of 13 points.
“Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans to gain or maintain power… What is more, those who choose not to empathize may enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it through our own apathy… If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” – J. K. Rowling, Harvard Commencement, June 5, 2008.
Poverty is the deprivation of basic economic needs required for human life.
For 18 years I helped create and grow the citizens’ lobby, RESULTS now in over 100 US communities and 7 countries, working with economics and policy to end domestic and global poverty. I was the founder of this work in Northern California. RESULTS has been a leading voice for US Head Start programs that reach over a million children. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director, James Grant, credited RESULTS with saving over one million children’s lives a year from increased funding we won for cost-effective programs that reduce infant mortality. We championed two UN Summits for heads of state: the 1990 World Summit for Children (largest meeting of heads of state in world history) and the 1997 Microcredit Summit (topic of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize). The UN and nations were so impressed with our work that they asked RESULTS to manage nations’ progress toward the Microcredit Summit’s goals. Today, over 100 million of the world’s lowest income families now have access to credit; a total population greater than the United States. This saves millions of lives, tremendously improves quality of life, and in every historical case has reduced population growth rates and promoted wiser environmental management.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that US political leadership has chosen to only take token efforts and permits a million children to die every month from preventable poverty. In fact, “leadership” from both parties have reneged on all promises, public and private to us at RESULTS. The cost is almost unimaginable numbers of children suffering gruesome, slow, and agonizing deaths.
Let’s examine this crucial real-world economics and policy problem, and available solutions.
You want to live in successful communities: family, friends, work, city, nation, and the global community. For our global community, let’s look at one area of how “success” can be measured, our current status, and the opportunity of building a brighter future through future policy. The purposes of this class project are to understand this important area of policy for its own value, and to model possible approaches for your consideration in the next project: your choice of a policy area for research, analysis, and policy position. You will document your findings in a brief, and present your findings to your classmates. Of course, this example on ending poverty is far more detailed than I’ll ask of you. With that said, you can also benefit from the depth of this example.
Please pay attention to the following four pages of economic and political information. Millions of lives are at stake. Also importantly at stake is how you will rate and respect yourself as a global citizen. This section focuses on global poverty. Ready? Here we go:
Gradually after WW2, the world’s peoples committed to replace imperialism with self-sufficient free nations. This development ideal faced the problem that colonial practices of resource extraction to maximize profits had created enormous communities of landless and uneducated people who had been the forced labor for imperialists. Public commitment translated this problem into the goal for developed nations that profited from this neo-slave labor to contribute about 1% of their income toward these new nations’ development and self-sufficiency. This goal became a history of unrealized policy beginning in 1969 (and here). (1)
The most current version of this goal is the United Nations (UN) Millennium Goals for 2015 (and here), (2) agreed to by 192 countries. This is a good start to see how we’re doing as a global community:
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
To fund these goals, the developed nations committed to annually contribute 0.7% of their gross national income (GNI) for the approximate 10 years to realize the project goals. For the US, this translates to about $100 billion a year for 10 years. The total costs of meeting the Millennium Goals is estimated from $40-$60 billion per year by the Borgen Project (3) to an average of $150 billion per year at the most intensive phases by economist Jeffrey Sachs (4). The low estimate is about 0.2% of the developed nations’ GNI, with the high estimate just over one half of one percent. Most nations have not funded the Millennium Goals up to their promise of 0.7% (5), with Sachs reporting the 2005 contribution of the US at 0.22%. The Bush administration requested and Congress approved a 2006 reduction of aid to 0.17% (6). That means the US taxpayers are funding the end of poverty with only one-sixth of one percent of our income. Funding for 2007 dropped to 0.16% (7), and to 0.19% in 2009 under the Obama administration (8). In dollars, this is about $30 billion/year (in contrast, the US spends ~$600 billion/year on military projects). Sachs also reports that Americans report in polls that they believe the amount of the US budget to help the poor is 25%, with the median response of what we “should” give as 10%. Ten percent of the US budget (different from gross national income) is about $380 billion for 2015.
Importantly, the US official position has been that 0.7% has been too much to contribute for ending deaths by poverty. Democratic and Republican leadership have always rejected promising 0.7%, and also never inform and ask the American public for their policy preference.
Therefore, we know that current US leadership prefers the following human costs rather than investing 0.7% of income or even asking Americans to exercise their democracy on this issue:
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (9), the hunger-ending organizations RESULTS (10), and Bread for the World (11) estimate that 15 million people die each year from preventable poverty, of whom 11 million are children under the age of five. Jeffrey Sachs says the total deaths are closer to 8 million (12). Either way, poverty causes more human destruction every year than a Holocaust. The total deaths from poverty in the last 15 years is conservatively greater than from all wars, revolutions, murders, accidents, and suicides in the 20th century (13). In the past 20 years, the total deaths from poverty probably eclipse all the above categories of death in all known human history (14). Make sure you get this: in your lifetime of being a high school Senior, human beings have allowed other people in poverty, mostly helpless children under the age of five, to die before our eyes in numbers greater than all of the catastrophic events in our history books. Since I graduated from high school in 1978, preventable poverty has killed ~ 500 million people; one-half a billion people, which equals the entire population of the United States plus five additional Californias.
When our political leadership have not yet expressed connectedness to the suffering of our fellow human beings to even give 1% of our income, what does that mean? Are you shocked by this reality check of “American generosity” from both political parties’ leadership? Can we even conclude that US government leadership have evolved enough to call them socially competent, or even willing to consider the consent of the governed?
You should know that our government’s acts are in stark contrast to the American public being the most generous people in the world for private voluntary contributions to charities, and volunteering our time (here, here) (15). We give ~$300 billion every year, about 2% of our private income.
But back to the issue: our government’s choice to reject ending poverty is not because there are other economic reasons arguing for that choice. In fact, ending poverty is arguably the number one wisest investment for a sustainable human future imaginable.
In every historical case where poverty has ended, birth rates have dropped, thereby decreasing population growth (16). When infant mortality rates (percentage of children who die before their first birthday) are compared with population growth rates over time, the data reveal that when families are confident that their children will survive, families have fewer children. This data can also be confirmed by comparing fertility rates of women to income, from current and historical work from The Population Reference Bureau (17). The type of poverty we’re speaking of is called “extreme” or “absolute” poverty: a human being attempting to live on $1/day or less. On our planet of ~7 billion people, over one billion live in absolute poverty (18).
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development links ending poverty to resource protection and long-term planning only possible without the understandable short-term actions of desperate poor people at risk of death. For years, RESULTS used a CIA report of their findings that terrorism in a nation is most closely correlated to infant mortality, also the statistic best measuring poverty. The CIA reported that ending poverty is therefore the most effective strategy to end terrorism (19).
Therefore, it’s in our collective self-interest to end poverty for population control, resource-preservation, and national security. Of course, almost all human beings report a moral calling to help people who needlessly suffer, especially young children.
But wait, there’s more. US political leadership has so far rejected a way to end poverty while making a profit.
One of the strongest tools to empower the poor to end their own poverty is Microcredit, small loans for poor people who do not have the collateral to borrow from commercial banks (20). RESULTS was the primary organization working to create the 1997 UN Microcredit Summit for heads of state. RESULTS also manages global progress for the Microcredit Summit’s goals for ending poverty (21). Muhammad Yunas, the founder of Microcredit, was the recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
Microcredit has funded over 100 million people to work their way out of poverty, which extends to family members totaling perhaps 500 million people. Microcredit requires funds for start-up, then repays those funds and makes a profit. The loan repayment rate reported by banks, such as the founder’s Grameen Bank, is over 95% (22). Microcredit programs could be expanded to help hundreds of millions of human beings living in poverty, but suffers the same lack of political will for funding as the UN Millennium Goals. RESULTS and other groups achieved slight funding increases for Microcredit, but only from focused public pressure in the face of Democratic and Republican leadership’s lack of initiative on their own (23).
In my 30+ years of attention on this issue, I am not aware of any argument in academics, related professions, or in politics to keep hunger as a problem. If you find one, please bring it to my attention. The excuses both parties’ leadership gave us started with fear of appearing too giving to the poor, and ended with Microcredit that they were just too busy to support it.
Therefore the status of this policy is grossly insufficient funding to address promised policy goals, rejection of accurately informing the American public and asking their input, and rejection of Microcredit despite its power to end poverty as a profit-making policy.
This completes the four pages of data.
What you have just read is an economic cost-benefit analysis. Was this empowering to understand the relevant data and how much it would cost to solve this problem? Does the price tag help inform your voice and vote whether this policy is worth our collective tax dollars? Politics could be said to be one cost-benefit analysis after another. All we do is consider proposed policies and answer the question whether it merits our investment.
Let’s consider some analysis on this issue. Analysis includes related facts that help construct an interpretation of the issue, and inform a policy position. Analysis is a subjective choice of objective data that seem to make sense to the person doing the research. As we’ve discussed, this work is never comprehensive of the facts, even if the analyst attempts comprehensive work. Human beings are limited by their own perspectives; therefore the facts and analysis presented is just one possible selection of facts and one possible articulation of meaning and policy.
With that disclaimer, here’s some of what I see on this issue as a model of one possible analysis.
Our political “leaders” are not willing to share resources even at less than one percent of our income to save the lives of those in extreme poverty, despite the will of the American public to do so. By definition, this is a problem of being selfish. The same leaders who consciously vote to under-fund their policy commitment of the UN Millennium Goals and the opportunity of Microcredit every year are among the wealthiest individuals in the nation:
“U.S. senators had a median net worth of approximately $1.7 million in 2006, the most recent year for which their financial data is available, and 58 percent of the Senate’s members could be considered millionaires. In the House of Representatives, the median net worth was about $675,000, with 44 percent of members having net worths estimated to be at least $1 million. By contrast, only about 1 percent of all American adults had a net worth greater than $1 million.” (24)
The top one percent of US household income earners make more pre-tax income than the bottom 40 percent combined and their total wealth is greater than the lowest 90 percent combined (25). The life expectancy in the US of the wealthy with health care is now 30 to 50 years greater on average than the life expectancy of the poor without health care (26). The Bush administration, supported by Democratic Party leadership, enacted three rounds of tax cuts since 2001. The top one percent of income earners have reduced their taxes by $130 billion, more than the rest of the 99% of US taxpayers combined (and here) (27). This amount would likely fund the Millennium Goals all by itself. The top one percent currently earns more than $350,000 a year (28). The US current tax structure also allows the majority of the US’ most profitable corporations to pay zero federal taxes (29).
The 1% argue that the top 10% of US income earners pay for 70% of US income taxes. This is an example of a lie of omission and a strawman argument because it doesn’t include how much income and wealth are held. In the US, the top 10% have 73% of the wealth (30). For example, if we live in a community of ten people with a flat tax rate of 10%, nine of us earn $100/year and one earns $1000, the total tax revenue is $190/year. The top 10% pay over 50% of income taxes, but also hold 50% of the wealth. For Chris Hayes’ 7-minute video on MSNBC to explain, go here (31).
Given this brief data, a fair question is whether our leadership is a plutocracy (32) (control by the wealthy for their own benefit rather than the public good), and if our political leadership have become addicted to wealth and power rather than representing the political will of the people (33). The data seem to support this hypothesis and falsify the ideal of our having a government that represents the public’s interests, at least on the issue of ending poverty. How much can leadership care about the public when they allow a million children to suffer horrifically and die every month?
Regarding US domestic poverty, over 20% of our children live in poverty and experience at least periodic hunger and poor nutrition (34). Five million US seniors experience food insecurity, with at least one million in hunger at any time (35). This occurs in the world’s leading agricultural exporting nation (36), and as a stunning 40-50% of food ready for harvest is not eaten (37). Moreover, the US government subsidizes agriculture: such as US cotton growers receiving $3-$5 billion/year (38), with the total subsidy value to agribusiness between $15 and $35 billion/year (39). For the cost of cotton agribusiness subsidy, all hunger among American children would end (40).
In addition, the US Interagency Council on Homelessness reports all economic cost-benefit studies (41) conclude it costs less to provide homeless Americans with shelter, food, health care, and job training than doing nothing at all. The greatest savings come from decreased emergency room visits, police calls, and court time. What isn’t counted, and significant, is the increase of business in areas where the homeless are vagrants. These studies also show most participants find jobs and leave these programs. A 2014 study in Florida (42) reports taxpayers save over $20,000 per homeless person when they are provided basic services rather than languishing on the streets. An academic paper (43) from two University of Pennsylvania professors document it’s more cost-effective to end homelessness than endure it.
Richard Cho, US Interagency Council on Homelessness Policy Director, documents similar studies (44) from New York City, Boston, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, with smaller cities in Connecticut, and rural areas in Maine that all research have found it’s more cost-effective, intelligent, and moral to end homelessness. In an example of what not to do, New Jersey officials spent (45) over $300,000 to evict ~100 homeless off vacant land in Camden while doing nothing to address public costs of the homeless. Given these public costs, it appears really stupid to criminalize homelessness (46), as increasing numbers of US cities do.
Let’s look a little further:
We’ve established the actions of our political “leaders” DO NOT reflect the will of the American public regarding ending poverty. The actions taken, enabled by public ignorance, allow a million children to die every month while guaranteeing that more impoverished children will be born to repeat this gruesome sacrifice, and domestically that Americans are unaware of the option to spend less of their tax dollars to provide the homeless services than they’re currently paying to keep them on the streets. When a government acts with such astounding cruelty and disrespect for public opinion, it moves away from being a democracy (political power coming from the people and exercised for them by representatives) and moves toward tyranny (rulers who place their own interests above the public with unjust and oppressive policies). To be clear: I am not using an ad hominem attack to call the entire US government, “tyrannical.” I am quite comfortable meaning exactly what I’ve written: because the US policy to end poverty reneges our good-faith promise to fund the UN Millennium goals at 0.7% of our GNI, defies the American people’s policy preference, ignores the long-term profits of Microcredit, directly contributes to the slaughter of human beings, and fails to provide choice to Americans regarding options for the homeless, this particular policy area is tyrannical rather than democratic. You are free to disagree and use your own adjective to describe our government policy in this area.
At RESULTS, after 18 years of leadership from both parties reneging on each and every public and private promise to end poverty, we concluded that “leadership” had what we euphemistically called, “other interests” than ending poverty. Former Chief Economist John Perkins has written two bestselling books consistent with our findings, as Perkins explains in this two-minute video (47). He explains that US foreign policy is neo-colonialism for the purpose to control foreign governments and their resources, and make profits for insider-cooperating US corporations. His testimony is supported by bestselling books from the Chief Economists to the World Bank and IMF: Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and MIT’s Simon Johnson (48). For a specific example, The New Republic article, Rigged (49), clearly explains US support of perpetual vicious dictators friendly to US oil interests in Africa’s second, third, and fourth-biggest oil-producing countries: Angola, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea.
Of course, these acts are only possible with the cooperation of US corporate media. Let’s consider media coverage of the 1990 World Summit for Children, the largest meeting of heads of state in world history. This information is also in the assignment for policy analysis.
The purpose of the Summit was nations’ agreement to end poverty once and for all, forever. The developed nations would fund the work to accomplish the Summit’s goals with just 0.7% of their incomes. This would save a million children’s lives every month, with the history strongly projecting that proven strategies would end poverty everywhere on earth within ten years. And in every historical instance of ending poverty, population growth rates decrease and end the problem of over-population.
Largest meeting of heads of state in world history to save a million children’s lives EVERY month?!
And the investment is just 0.7% of our income, while reducing population growth rates in every historical case?!
Whoa! That’s front-page news, yes?
The only article I can find is representative of US corporate media coverage: The New York Times covered the Summit in the “Education” section in the back of the paper, only for that one day as I recall, and only on the last day of the Summit. Corporate media refused invitations from RESULTS and similar organizations for interviews about the Summit, and then ongoingly refused our requests for follow-up reporting when the US reneged on their promises to end poverty. Here’s the headline:
WORLD SUMMIT FOR CHILDREN; World’s Leaders Gather at U.N. for Summit Meeting on Children
By PAUL LEWIS, Special to The New York Times
Published: September 30, 1990
Look at the New York Times front page today and see where their “Education” section is at the left column of their main topics for news. This is a listing of topics by importance:
15. All Blogs
Let’s do some analysis on the choice of reporting of the NYT. The article title was, “WORLD SUMMIT FOR CHILDREN; World’s Leaders Gather at U.N. for Summit Meeting on Children”. Along with burying the story after cartoons, corrections, and games, they chose a headline that omits the point of saving millions of lives and that this is the largest meeting of heads of state in the history of planet Earth, not just some ambiguous “leaders.” The article discusses the investment to end poverty only as costing “more money” and lies in omission that it’s less than one percent of US income. It reports that the meeting will cause “headaches” for planners, and traffic jams for everyone in New York City. It then reports the non-story that because such a meeting cost $5 million to create, “some people” might criticize the Summit (we never heard that complaint or could imagine anyone making it). The “reporting” ends by repeating that this “meeting” of a “long list of goals” will cost more money than is currently being spent.
This choice of reporting was AFTER our continuous communications with the NYT to report on the facts. Ask and answer for yourself: is this NYT article on the World Summit for Children they buried deep in the paper, and only reported on the day of the event, an example of professional and comprehensive reporting on our most important issues? Is saving a million children’s lives every month such a non-story, or was NYT reporting on this issue intentionally manipulated to under-inform, dis-inform, and keep this topic away from the attention of Americans? Indeed, is this an “in your face” lie of omission to both distract from the main facts and place it after the comics?
If the second explanation makes more sense to you, does this propaganda continue to our present because the NYT continues its non-reporting of our power to save a million children’s lives every month, and that since the 1990 Summit more people have died from preventable poverty than all the wars and categories of violent death in all recorded human history?
I think that 95% of Americans would prefer to understand the facts of how we can end poverty with less than one percent of our income, and for less than ten percent of what we spend on our military every year. The polling data (50) affirm this interest of the American public.
This information and analysis will predictably evoke cognitive dissonance.
Let’s consider two more concepts important to you: love and evil. Allowing a million children to die every month when it’s relatively easy to save their lives is evil. Although not a common dictionary definition, my favorite for “evil” is “a preference for one’s own material benefit over the well-being of others.” Most Americans prefer expressing sufficient love for human beings to help those in extreme poverty, especially children. Love is characterized by a feeling of connectedness to others, a care for their well-being approaching one’s preference for one’s own material benefit. Love will share resources; especially at the meager level of less than 1% of our income as we’re discussing with the UN Millennium Goals.
In conclusion, please allow me to polarize your two options regarding political participation on our major policies, such as this one. One option is to participate and earn your competence as a citizen of a democracy. The other is not to participate in major policy and hope that others do it for you. For the issue of ending global poverty, have the “others” performed to your level of satisfaction?
If you feel comfortable doing so, declare your commitment to be politically and economically competent. This means that you will factually understand the important policy options, welcome multiple perspectives while holding people accountable for factual accuracy, and participate in policy decisions and follow-up to see how policy goals perform.
Of course, the other option is available. You could justify not understanding important political issues concerning war and peace, millions of people’s lives, or billions of dollars of economic investment by responding “whatever” or “I’m too stupid to know or find out.” The Greeks poignantly captured the disgust for someone uninterested in political and economic issues. Their word for such a person has remained un-translated for over 2,000 years: idiot.
From the extensive quote section on your next project assignment, “Policy Analysis,” I included Benjamin Franklin’s warning that he did not believe the American people were up to maintaining a republic through competent citizenry. He predicted that through public indifference and ignorance, America would devolve back into tyranny. Please read all of those quotes to gain some insight into what some of our most capable minds have said regarding the challenge of keeping a democracy in a world where governments are often attacked by non-democratic interests.
On September 18, 1787, just after signing the US Constitution, Benjamin Franklin met with members of the press. He was asked what kind of government America would have. Franklin:
“A republic, if you can keep it.” In his speech to the Constitutional Convention, Franklin admonished: “This [U.S. Constitution] is likely to be administered for a course of years and then end in despotism… when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.” The Quotable Founding Fathers, pg. 39.
If this lesson has evoked your emotional passion, with whatever policy response you see as best, that’s great! Your emotions are powerful motivation. To the degree you feel passion about political issues, give yourself permission to feel it fully and use your emotional state to constructively create a brighter future. Channel any hate against into passion for improved policy, fear into excitement, and sadness into being moved by the importance you feel for issues. Your emotions tell you when something is important for you. Living consistent with what you’re passionate for is a big part of the art and science of being with people: social science.
Please watch a 7-minute video of a 12-year-old girl exercising her political voice for better environmental policy from political leadership at the UN Earth Summit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZsDliXzyAY&feature=related . The transcript: http://www.sustainablestyle.org/sass/heirbrains/03suzuki.html .
Questions to review the facts:
- Explain what the UN Millennium Goals are designed to accomplish by 2015.
- Explain the estimated range of investment from low to high to achieve the Millennium Goals in dollars per year and in percent of gross national income of the developed countries.
- Explain how the US is doing fulfilling their funding promise for the Millennium Goals in percent of GNI, how much the US public believes we’re spending in percent of our budget, and how much Americans would like to contribute in percent of budget and total dollars.
- Explain how many people die from poverty, and how many are children under five years of age. Explain this amount compared with the number of deaths from wars and other violent deaths in the last 15 and 20 years.
- Explain the benefits of ending poverty from most peoples’ moral view, and an economic practical view.
Questions for your analysis:
- Since studies in the 1970’s announced that ending poverty was achievable and affordable, US Presidents and the US Congress have drastically under-funded policy to end poverty. Write your analysis of why the political leadership of both parties quietly under-fund this policy (I recommend analysis of John Perkins’ video linked in this assignment).
- Most people have a moral code that each person is equally valued and valuable, usually expressed in religious, spiritual, and/or philosophical terms. How do you explain this gap between what US political leadership say they value and the facts of poverty. How do you explain the gap from the US public’s sense of morality and the facts of poverty.
- US government leaders are aware of the facts you’ve discovered here. The lobbying group I volunteered with for 18 years, RESULTS (www.results.org), made sure of this, along with many other organizations. Political “leaders” speak to the American public of their “compassionate conservatism,” “respect for human dignity,” “love of freedom,” and other platitudes. Explain the prevailing principles of leadership you conclude are in action from the Democratic and Republican leaders in the face of the staggering death toll from poverty.
- Explain your disinterest whether this current level of political and economic competence extends into the future, or explain what knowledge and skills society needs to develop to build a brighter future.
- Explain what an individual can do to affect democratic social change. Explain the requirement of individual and team effectiveness in large-scale projects. Explain to what extent this points to a bright possibility of what government (teamwork) can accomplish.
- Explain the degree you find this assignment helpful in understanding the application of economics in the real world. Explain the degree you find this assignment helpful to discover the facts of ending poverty.
- Please explain the degree of cognitive dissonance you experienced in this assignment in simultaneously holding the facts of poverty with your ideals that we have an honorable democracy in America. Explain your analysis of the validity of applying the terms, “plutocracy,” “addiction to wealth and power,” and “tyranny” to our government leaders with respect to their policy performance in at least the area of ending poverty.
- Please let me know anything else you’d like to communicate regarding this assignment and/or any of the others.
1 OECD. History of the 0.7% ODA Target: http://www.oecd.org/dac/aidstatistics/45539274.pdf . DAC Journal 2002, Vol 3 No 4, pages III-9 – III-11, revised June 2010. Millennium Project. The 0.7% target: an in-depth look: http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/press/07.htm .
3 Borgen Project: Poverty Reduction through Political Accountability: http://borgenproject.org/Cost_of_Ending_Poverty.html
4 The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for our Time. Jeffrey Sachs: http://www.earth.columbia.edu/pages/endofpoverty/index .
5 Global Issues. Shah, A. Sustainable Development. US and Foreign Aid Assistance. April 27, 2008: http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Debt/USAid.asp .
6 Stiglitz, J. The World Bank and Development Assistance. House Financial Services Committee Testimony. May 22, 2007. http://www2.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jstiglitz/download/Stiglitz_HouseWBTestimony.pdf .
7 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Debt Relief is Down: Other ODA Rises Slightly. April 4, 2008: http://www.oecd.org/document/8/0,3343,en_2649_33721_40381960_1_1_1_1,00.html
8 End Poverty 2015. The United States and the Millennium Development Goals. 2010: http://csis.org/files/attachments/Spotlight%20on%20the%20Obama%20Administration%20Updated%20April%202010.pdf
9 UNICEF. State of the World’s Children Report 2006: Excluded and Invisible: http://www.unicef.org/sowc06/pdfs/sowc06_chap1.pdf
10 RESULTS. Child Survival: https://web.archive.org/web/20080527011602/http://www.results.org/website/article.asp?id=241
11 Bread for the World. Hunger Facts: International: http://www.bread.org/learn/hunger-basics/hunger-facts-international.html .
12 The UN Millennium Project. The End of Poverty: http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/documents/TimeMagazineMar142005-TheEndofPovertysmall1.pdf
13 Assuming 15 years of poverty deaths totaling 300 million and 20 years at 400 million (poverty deaths have decreased over the past 20 years) compared to the estimates from Scaruffi, P. “Wars and Genocides of the 20th Century.” http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/massacre.html (along with the relatively smaller numbers for murders, accidents, and suicides) and from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_and_disasters_by_death_toll .
14 A safe estimate given the population growth rate of the 20th century and a global population of ~1.6 billion in 1900.
15 The American. A nation of givers. Brooks, A. March/April 2008: http://www.american.com/archive/2008/march-april-magazine-contents/a-nation-of-givers , Charity Navigator. Giving statistics: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=42 .
16Global Issues. Myth: Too Many Mouths to Feed. Does Overpopulation cause Hunger? http://www.globalissues.org/EnvIssues/Population/Hunger/FoodFirst/Overpopulation.asp and The Hunger Project. The Hunger Project’s Impact on Population. http://www.thp.org/issues/ .
17 The Population Reference Bureau. World Population Data Sheet. http://www.prb.org/pdf06/06WorldDataSheet.pdf
18 UN Millennium Project. Fast Facts: The Faces of Poverty. http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/resources/fastfacts_e.htm .
19 I can’t find an Internet source for this report from the 1980s. CIA Director Tenet seems to reference this report in this interview explaining terrorism is directly linked to poverty. The Herald-Palladium. Tenet: CIA made errors. Clark, A. Oct. 21, 2004: http://www.subgenius.com/bigfist/FIST2004-1/oct2004/x/ExXCIAChiefTenetCallsWaraMistake.html
20 Wanttoknow.info. Invest in Microcredit or Microfinance: Help to End Poverty: http://www.wanttoknow.info/051023microcredit .
21 Microcredit Summit Campaign. http://www.microcreditsummit.org/
22 Grameen Bank. http://www.grameen-info.org/ .
23 e.g.: RESULTS. 2005 Basics: Global Microcredit Campaign. http://results.techriver.net/website/article.asp?id=1396 .
24 Open Secrets.org. Congress Has Wealth to Weather Economic Downturn. March 13, 2008: http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/03/congress-has-wealth-to-weather.html .
25 Business Week. D’Andrea Tyson, L. How Bush Widened the Wealth Gap. Nov. 1, 2004: http://www.businessweek.com/@@*7OQP4YQG8gsPxgA/magazine/content/04_44/b3906038_mz007.htm .
26 The Independent. Doyle, L. American Inequality Highlighted by 30-year Gap in Life Expectancy. July 17, 2008: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/american-inequality-highlighted-by-30year-gap-in-life-expectancy-869736.html .
27 Citizens for Tax Justice. The Bush tax cuts: the latest CTJ data, March 2007: www.ctj.org/pdf/gwbdata.pdf , and NY Times, Krugman, P. Springtime for Hitler. Oct. 18, 2002: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9a0defde133df93ba25753c1a9649c8b63 .
28 New York Times. Johnston, D.C. Income gap is widening, data shows. March 29, 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/29/business/29tax.html .
29 Buzzflash. Weiss, A. GAO finding: majority of corporations pay no taxes. Aug. 12, 2008: http://www.buzzflash.com/articles/alerts/451 .
30 Marketing Charts. Wealthiest Americans dramatically increase income. 2007 data: http://www.marketingcharts.com/direct/wealthiest-americans-dramatically-increase-income-16296/motherjones-wealth-distribution-feb-2011jpg/
31 Information Clearing House. Inequalistan: debunking the “top 10% pay 70% of all income taxes” baloney. Sept. 25, 2011: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29208.htm#.Tn_yDfQR7oA.facebook
32 Alternet.com. Guerrero, M.L. The US Economy is Socialism for the Rich. July 24, 2008: http://www.alternet.org/story/92426/the_u.s._economy_is_socialism_for_the_rich/ .
33 DanMahoney.com. Wealth and Power: Assets or Addiction? http://danmahony.com/wpoutline.htm .
34 Hunger in America. Child hunger facts. 2013. http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-facts/child-hunger-facts.aspx
35 Senior Hunger. Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging. June 21, 2011. http://www.sanders.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/SeniorHungerReport.pdf
36 Investopedia. Top agricultural producing countries. July 12, 2012. http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0712/top-agricultural-producing-countries.aspx. Also: USDA Frequently asked questions about agricultural trade: http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/Policy/tradeFAQ.asp
37 Global Issues. Causes of hunger are related to poverty. Shah, A. Oct. 3, 2010. http://www.globalissues.org/article/7/causes-of-hunger-are-related-to-poverty
38 Global Policy Forum. Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz speaks on globalization. O’Shea, C. April 11, 2005. http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/162/27950.html
39 Cato Institute. Agricultural subsidies. Edwards, C. http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/agriculture/subsidies
40 Center for American Progress. Feeding Opportunity. Berg, J. May 2010. page 20. http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2010/05/pdf/feeding_opportunity.pdf
41 United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Cost-effectiveness studies. http://usich.gov/usich_resources/research_and_evaluation/cost_effectiveness_studies/
42 ThinkProgress. Leaving homeless person on the streets: $31,065. Giving them housing: $10,051. Keyes, S. May 27, 2014. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/05/27/3441772/florida-homeless-financial-study/
43 Penn Libraries. Ending chronic homelessness: cost-effective opportunities for interagency collaboration. Culhane, D., Byrne, T. March 1, 2010.
44 USICH Blog. The true cost of doing nothing. Cho, R. May 1, 2014. http://usich.gov/blog/the-true-cost-of-doing-nothing
45 Philly.com. Housing First model works for homeless. June 22, 2014. http://www.philly.com/philly/health/20140622_Housing_First_model_works_for_homeless.html
46 PressTV. Homelessness now a crime in US cities: report. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/07/20/372071/homelessness-now-a-crime-in-us-cities/
47 Examiner.com. 2-minute video: Best-selling Chief Economist reveals criminal US foreign policy. Carl Herman. April 24, 2011: http://web.archive.org/web/20131219015615/http://www.examiner.com/article/2-minute-video-best-selling-chief-economist-explains-criminal-us-foreign-policy
48 Washington’s Blog. How an economics teacher presents Occupy’s economic argument, victory. Carl Herman. January 30, 2012: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/01/how-an-economics-teacher-presents-occupys-economic-argument-victory-2.html
49 The New Republic. Rigged. Beinart, P. June 21, 2004: http://www.tnr.com/article/rigged
50 The end of poverty: economic possibilities for our time. Sachs, J. Facts on international aid.