“There are a lot more people who are poor, but living above the poverty line,” said Anne Price, president of the Insight Center, an economic justice advocacy group based in Oakland, Calif. “The measure that we use is so antiquated, not just in how it calculates a household budget and what's left out, but also because it doesn't reflect real, contemporary lived experience, different household types, or regional differences.”
WHEN WE SAY that “humans are heating up the planet,” we are technically correct, and yet misleading. Humans are indubitably driving climate change—but only some of us.
An Oxfam study released this fall showed that between 1990 and 2015—a period when we poured more carbon into the atmosphere than in all of history before that time—the richest 1 percent of humanity accounted for more of that damage than the entire bottom 50 percent of the species. In case you think that the top 1 percent is Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, remind yourself that in fact it’s anyone whose income tops $109,000 a year—that includes plenty of readers of this magazine. The richest 10 percent of humanity accounts for half of total emissions—that’s everyone whose income is above $38,000. That’s quite likely you; it’s certainly me.
These people are scattered around the world, though the biggest concentrations are in the U.S., the EU, China, and the Middle East; India is appearing in the league tables too, a reminder that inequality is as much a problem within nations as between them. But what’s really sad, of course, is that anyone with a decent income is able to insulate themselves from most of the problems they’re causing. It’s people in poverty—whether in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans or along the delta of the Brahmaputra in Bangladesh—who get hit first and hardest.
In the 2020 election cycle, most of the Democratic primary candidates provided videos, including Vice President Joe Biden. The Christian leaders in the Circle of Protection have asked for a video and/or statement on poverty policy from President Trump, but his campaign has not responded to repeated requests.
Despite our immense wealth as a country, poverty has always been a problem in the United States. It remains as an insidious legacy of slavery and systemic racism as well as an ever-present barrier in largely white rural communities and increasingly among Americans living in suburban communities.
On Saturday, more than 2 million people gathered virtually to “call for a radical redistribution of political and economic power” as part of the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington Digital Justice Gathering.
Today's economic demons resemble the 'Panic of 1893.'
Samuel Cruz didn't want to choose between faith and politics. Then he found liberation theology.
Love him or hate him, Malthus is one of those figures who doesn’t go away.
Jubilee is appearing all around us amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The church is called to meet Jesus in the streets with the homeless — for in a time when people are called to shelter in place they have no place to go. The church must also meet Jesus in places like Flint, Mich. where poor people who are already suffering from respiratory conditions related to contaminated water are amongst those at highest risk.
“Every week, almost daily, I see patients who cannot afford care, can’t afford their medication."
Why split public and societal critique from personal care and comfort? Whose ends does this split serve?
“THE BRIGHTMOOR NEIGHBORHOOD has one of the highest percentages of water shutoffs—and high rates of infant mortality, due to shutoffs. The ground is dry. People are very tense. You see a lot of skin diseases and rashes, especially on kids. You see it in guarded conversations. People aren’t going to come right out and tell you, ‘My water is shut off,’ but they may say to you, ‘I can’t boil those hot dogs—they’ll have to go in the microwave.’
We hear the narrative so often that people should just pay their water bill, but you can’t budget your way out of poverty. I am a disruptor of narratives. No, the lack of water is not because of your sin, or because you’re a bad parent, or because you buy a hair weave or spend money on a cellphone. None of that is true. Why don’t people have water? Because of unjust systems—because people are commodified, that’s why. If I saw you as a human being, I would be concerned that your baby doesn’t have enough bottles because you don’t have the water to make them with.