Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your review.

- Iglika Ivanova calculates the cost of poverty in British Columbia:
My findings confirm what we’ve already suspected: poverty comes with a very high price tag. The cost of poverty to government alone is estimated to be between $2.2 to $2.3 billion per year. The costs to society as whole is $8.1 to $9.2 billion annually. That’s a lot of money – close to 5% of the total value of our economy.

The study focuses on two types of costs in particular. First, I quantify the societal resources devoted to tackling poverty’s negative consequences. These include the health and crime-related costs of poverty. Second, I capture the economic value of foregone economic activity and lower productivity that are associated with poverty. BC isn’t using all the talents and productive potential of its citizens who live in poverty and this acts as a drag on our economy. These costs are what economists call “opportunity costs:” they do not represent resources we’re actually spending now but rather resources that would become available to society if poverty was significantly reduced or eliminated.
- But then, the historical failure to deal with poverty as a broader priority (particularly in contrast to handing money to the already-wealthy in the interest of supposedly boosting the economy for everybody) fits far too well with Ivor Tossell's apt description of Rob Ford's governing style as "uncompetent".

- And it's just now that we're seeing some reason for hope that matters will change for the better - as the problems with poverty and inequality are finally filtering up to the groups who have refused to consider them for so long.

- Finally, Josh Eidelson's article on how Wisconsin unions are seeing more opportunity to influence public policy without legal recognition is well worth a read.

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