Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Angella MacEwen comments on the fight for universal child care, along with the lessons we can learn from Quebec's experience. And Claire Cain Miller notes that inequality in the workplace extends to benefits as well as wages - with child care included alongside other supports which are currently treated as employer-specific perks rather than needed programs.

- Meanwhile, as Elliot Berkman notes, the failure to win the employer lottery only creates additional hardships for the working poor who are then forced into short-term survival mode:
The very definition of self-control is choosing behaviors that favor long-term outcomes over short-term rewards, but poverty can force people to live in a permanent now. Worrying about tomorrow can be a luxury if you don’t know how you’ll survive today.

Research supports this idea by showing that poor people understandably have an increased focus on the present. People who are among the poorest one-fifth of Americans tend to spend their money on immediate needs such as food, utilities and housing, all of which have gotten more expensive. In this situation, the traditional definition of self-control doesn’t make a lot of sense.
(P)overty has powerful harmful effects on people, and helps explain why it’s so hard to escape. Their choices are much more a product of their situation, rather than a lack of self-control.

The way we scientists define self-control is part of the problem, too. We tend to think that focusing on long-term goals is always a good thing and satisfying short-term needs is always a bad thing; we say that “self-control failure” is equivalent to focusing on the near term. This definition works well for people who have the luxury of time and money to meet their basic needs and have resources left over to plan for the future. But self-control as currently defined might not even apply to people living in the permanent now.
- And Tim Sale likewise notes the importance of stable and affordable housing as a precondition to improved health, education and economic outcomes.

- Finally, Ali Hamandi discusses the Harper Cons' damage to Canadian women in general, while Kate Heartfield focuses on the lack of action to address violence against women in particular. Desmond Cole rightly recognizes the need to ensure first-hand perspectives on women's issues. And Haroon Siddiqui slams the Cons for their phony war against the niqab and the women who wear it.

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