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Giving greater consideration to specific patterns that drive poverty

As one drives, walks, or otherwise moves through impoverished neighborhoods in the contiguous 48 states, you can observe various "brands" that occur in a rather recognizable pattern. I call this the Branding of Poverty. Duncan Doughnuts, McDonalds, pizza joints, high volume low nutritional value corner stores, foreign owned/ community unoccupied stores that sell cheap usually Asian (or similar economic profiles) made goods. We have come up with systemized way to mass produce poverty.

So how do we deconstruct such a system? Is that possible? And where does one begin? Where will the most sustainable gains be made that don't bastardize the process? How do we build value in the nomenclature so that we don't get lost in the rhetoric? Clearly the efforts from public services is not enough as the patters surrounding obesity have little impact on individuals who are victims in this demographic. Are they victims because of a self inflicted lifestyle or is it a larger problem as claimed.

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    Feb 26 2013: The issue of poverty is a complex one. THere are those who are really impoverished as a result of government policies and corruption and unfair economic systems. But there are also those who have all the aid and support and the opportunities, but are just too irresponsible or lazy or foolish to get out of poverty.

    I don't think it has anything to do with brands. As Fritzie has said, it is true that junk food are usually cheaper than healthy ones; but the brands can not be blamed for the profits that comes from people`s conscious choices.

    What should be done is the provision of a level playing ground for small-scale industries and small business, protection from the overwhelming power of multinationals. This is an uphill task, but it depends on political will.
    In the end, every day people are getting richer, even the poor are joining the rich, just as a few rich also lose their wealth. Every good thing has a price. It`s a personal choice. Are you going to be good at what you do? or are you going to be good at giving excuses?
  • Feb 26 2013: Hi Fritzie!
    I am familiar with some of the work you mentioned. My intention was not to come across as though work is not being done in this area; rather that I am seeking a more lasting change that is reflected in a change in the patterns. Recognizing a problem is one thing, preventing it is another. I will explore some of the resources you mentioned for deeper insights.

    Some cities, Boston included, are taking the nutritional issue more seriously than other-- that's important. But true gains are evident the patterns no longer exists. From an epidemiological standpoint, identifying a factor is helpful, but knowing the source allows us to achieve a whole different level of change. Here we know the source and still reject change. I suppose progress can be inspiring but change is the beacon.
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      Feb 26 2013: I was not suggesting somehow that progress has been adequate. I have often found, though, that people newly invested in an issue may not realize that just continuing to talk is just doing what everyone has been doing for a very, very long time. As you say, awareness is good but is not enough. Many people, regardless of area of emphasis, feel that they have done their part by talking and continuing to talk. And often that talking consists of people singing to each other the same song everyone already knows. Many people are plenty aware already, even as others assume only some enlightened elite is aware.

      Providing information can not be counted by itself to solve problems, particularly if the root of the problem is not ignorance.
  • Feb 26 2013: Hi Feyisayo,
    Yes Fritzie's legitimate points are taken. Yet our political inept leaders at this time are more concerned with the pole position of their parties than the well being of our nation. Not to get off subject, but what I see happening is a systematic process of overwhelming disenfranchisement resulting in a lackluster public performance (i.e., removing politicians from office):

    "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--" My point is that political will is not just about our governors but the citizens it governs.

    Returning to the branding issue, it is really a metaphor for recognizing the patters that are especially inflicted upon impoverished communities. Unlike being sentenced for a crime, there are advocates that replace public defenders so we are let to their resources. It become incumbent upon them to exercise these marketing campaigns I speak of. I am by no means taking away from the fact that people have choices and the responsibility to behave in a manner more aligned with self preservation, but most of us know that education (also lacking in impoverished communities) is key to understanding how to change and when change is necessary and imperative.
  • Feb 26 2013: All very good points. What I think I am after here is a model that promotes deviation (in a positive sense) with long lasting affects. Our submissive response to the points you've made and awareness of them makes "our" conversation great. Why do we not have an effective incremental plan that advances change; add to that benchmarks and milestones to hold ourselves accountable. That alone is not enough, we need to consider a full throttle marketing campaign for such change. Ok, as unrealistic as that sounds, we can't continue to just have this dialogue. Even this dialogue should be measured to heighten the level of awareness as part of that marketing campaign. We could then utilize such conversations as tools in the geographic areas with the greatest need.

    A pipe dream? Perhaps what what happens if we just continue to Talk about it.
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      Feb 26 2013: Have you done any research into the various education and marketing campaigns that have already been implemented that are aimed, for example, at young people in areas with poverty? One could not legitimately say, I think, that people have not talked extensively about this issue in the last few decades. Within the last couple of years, in fact, I remember reading report that awareness of nutritional choices and their relative merits is excellent among school-aged kids in the United States. This awareness does not necessarily have a large effect on choices.

      Related to this but in countries with a great deal of poverty, Esther Duflo of the Poverty Action Lab at MIT has done research into nutritional choices among the very poor. Specifically, she documents the behavior of seeking tastier food over more nutritious food when there is even the slightest amount of income beyond subsistence. This arises in part from not understanding the short or long term benefits of good nutrition but arises partly also from conscious consumption choices that focus on the experienced value in the present over the future.
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    Gail .

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    Feb 26 2013: Much larger problem. But that doesn't mean that it isn't fixable. Unfortunately, in the USA, it's not fixable yet, because the people still prefer the system that causes the problems (while they deny their role in it).
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    Feb 26 2013: These brands are everywhere, though. You live in Boston, so you know that there is a Dunkin Donuts and also pizzerias in Harvard Square- not an impoverished neighborhood. And there are convenience stores everywhere in urban areas, aren't there?

    What does this mean: "How do we build value in the nomenclature so we don't get lost in rhetoric?"

    In terms of poverty and obesity, it is true junk food tends to be cheaper than more healthful food.
    • Feb 26 2013: While it is true that Dd is present in areas other than those,that are poverty stricken however that doesnt exclude them from being an exploitive entity. It would make for an interesting study what difference exists if there is a difference even in an imperical level .

      Re: How do we..." speaks to maintaining both meanining and value in a strategy so as not to compromise the effectiveness of any type of initiative that might have legs. It is easy (as in the O.J . trials as wel as or current political circus) to desensitize people as rhetoric often does, destroying even the most meaningful initiatives.
  • Feb 26 2013: My friend, the true depth and meaning of advocacy is not in the who, but the initiative itself. And one could easily argue that their experience to a significant degree, lends itself to their qualification of advocacy. If you want to speak in general terms consider the following: Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development; In 1993, Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies, advocacy while a Board member of the Lab. Schools in Chicago the list goes on-- and that is just Michelle.
  • Feb 26 2013: ... ahhh "...among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (DoI). There was an interesting discussion today on Public Radio International, regarding the cause and effects of politic and engagement. This points to the issue of non-engagement but also the motivation to, as you say, "pursue", a better life. But what I argue is that we need a strategy, something more than just an argument. The First Lady, Michelle Obama initiated this action to some degree with the Let's Move initiative, I believe this was a move in the right direction; not so much because it was about obesity but rather because it was designed as an enabler. A change in behavior requires more than just an allowance, if you will.
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      Feb 26 2013: Why is Michelle or her husband qualified to advocate anything for anyone?
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    Feb 26 2013: What you describe is government induced, similar to Russia. No matter what there will not be equality. The solution is to allow individuals to pursue a better life.