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Living wage


laripu
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I believe there's no such thing as a living wage.

 

There are certainly wages that are too low for anyone to live on. That's bad.

 

But if you or anyone crafted a living wage for a reasonably intelligent person in a given fixed geographic area, I'll bet that there are a lot of poor people who wouldn't be able to live on that because they couldn't budget, would waste money on McCrap processed food, would spend too much of it on alcohol or drugs, or would do something stupid that ended up costing them money. (e.g. A dumb risk resulting in an accident ... or something.)

 

Add to that the fact that among the people living in poverty, most of them aren't nearly as bright as the people doing well.

 

It used to be that kids studied home economics in high school. I doubt that's done anymore, so they don't have a clue how to efficiently run a home or manage finances. Since we don't have the draft, most people aren't getting training in the military either.

 

Also consider this: http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2016/01/why_do_70_percent_of_lottery_w.html

To manage any amount of money properly, be it large or small, you must be good with numbers. Most people know only the basics or less. Only about 25% are good at managing money.

 

No matter what the minimum hourly rate is, you'd still get lots of dumb people living in poverty. A proper minimum wage would raise from poverty only those few intelligent people who got there through no fault of their own and were working their way back up. And students would benefit, of course.

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The argument that the less well-off are, on the whole, dumber than the more affluent is only partially true because cognitive ability suffers under under conditions of deprivation. Sudden windfalls are a special case:-- The fact that many lottery winners often go bankrupt is a result of lifelong thought patterns, persisting after acquisition of overwhelming wealth. As your article show, the stress of sudden, unaccustomed obligations and responsibilities, in addition to newly acquired spending power, can be traumatic in itself.

 

https://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S37/75/69M50/index.xml?section=topstories

Poor concentration: Poverty reduces brainpower needed for navigating other areas of life

Poverty and all its related concerns require so much mental energy that the poor have less remaining brainpower to devote to other areas of life, according to research based at Princeton University. As a result, people of limited means are more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions that may be amplified by — and perpetuate — their financial woes.

Published in the journal Science, the study presents a unique perspective regarding the causes of persistent poverty. The researchers suggest that being poor may keep a person from concentrating on the very avenues that would lead them out of poverty. A person's cognitive function is diminished by the constant and all-consuming effort of coping with the immediate effects of having little money, such as scrounging to pay bills and cut costs. Thusly, a person is left with fewer "mental resources" to focus on complicated, indirectly related matters such as education, job training and even managing their time.

In a series of experiments, the researchers found that pressing financial concerns had an immediate impact on the ability of low-income individuals to perform on common cognitive and logic tests. On average, a person preoccupied with money problems exhibited a drop in cognitive function similar to a 13-point dip in IQ, or the loss of an entire night's sleep.

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But when their concerns were benign, low-income individuals performed competently, at a similar level to people who were well off, said corresponding author Jiaying Zhao, who conducted the study as a doctoral student in the lab of co-author Eldar Shafir, Princeton's William Stewart Tod Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs.

 

There are other experiments with school children, which dramatically illustrate how low social status causes a debilitating effect on intelligence.

http://www.epi.org/publication/five-social-disadvantages-that-depress-student-performance-why-schools-alone-cant-close-achievement-gaps/

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This report describes how social class characteristics plausibly depress achievement and suggests policies to address them. It focuses on five characteristics for purposes of illustration:

  • parenting practices that impede children’s intellectual and behavioral development
  • single parenthood
  • parents’ irregular work schedules
  • inadequate access to primary and preventive health care
  • exposure to and absorption of lead in the blood.

These are not the only characteristics that depress outcomes, nor are they necessarily the most important. This report makes no judgment about the relative importance of the many adverse influences on child and youth development. Parental unemployment and low wages, housing instability, concentration of disadvantage in segregated neighborhoods, stress, malnutrition, and health problems like asthma are among other harmful characteristics.

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http://www.epi.org/publication/books_starting_gate/

Inequality at the starting gateSocial background differences in achievement as children begin school

 

===================================================================================================================

 

 

People cannot and maybe should not be fully protected from their own, powerful, self-destructive urges. For instance, outlawing drugs leads to a top heavy superstructure of eternally battling criminal organizations Vs law enforcement, as anyone can see in the US. And, as the Portugal model shows, it does nothing to stop drug use while making it more dangerous.

 

Portugal decriminalized all drugs with spectacularly beneficial results:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/portugal-decriminalised-drugs-14-years-ago-and-now-hardly-anyone-dies-from-overdosing-10301780.html

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Portugal decriminalised the use of all drugs in 2001. Weed, cocaine, heroin, you name it — Portugal decided to treat possession and use of small quantities of these drugs as a public health issue, not a criminal one. The drugs were still illegal, of course. But now getting caught with them meant a small fine and maybe a referral to a treatment program — not jail time and a criminal record.

Among Portuguese adults, there are 3 drug overdose deaths for every 1,000,000 citizens. Comparable numbers in other countries range from 10.2 per million in the Netherlands to 44.6 per million in the UK, all the way up to 126.8 per million in Estonia. The EU average is 17.3 per million.

 

Portugal decriminalised the use of all drugs in 2001. Weed, cocaine, heroin, you name it — Portugal decided to treat possession and use of small quantities of these drugs as a public health issue, not a criminal one. The drugs were still illegal, of course. But now getting caught with them meant a small fine and maybe a referral to a treatment program — not jail time and a criminal record.

Among Portuguese adults, there are 3 drug overdose deaths for every 1,000,000 citizens. Comparable numbers in other countries range from 10.2 per million in the Netherlands to 44.6 per million in the UK, all the way up to 126.8 per million in Estonia. The EU average is 17.3 per million.

-Perhaps more significantly, the report notes that the use of "legal highs" – like so-called "synthetic" marijuana, "bath salts" and the like – is lower in Portugal than in any of the other countries for which reliable data exists. This makes a lot of intuitive sense: why bother with fake weed or dangerous designer drugs when you can get the real stuff? This is arguably a positive development for public health in the sense that many of the designer drugs that people develop to skirt existing drug laws have terrible and often deadly side effects.

- snip -

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In short, a living wage should be high enough to maintain a standard of living that leaves, at least, some extra spending money, after necessities. There will, invariably, be people who through abuse, folly or incompetence, mental illness or addiction, fall through the cracks. Society needs to provide rahab facilities to help these people get back on their feet, when possible.

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In short, a living wage should be high enough to maintain a standard of living that leaves, at least, some extra spending money, after necessities. There will, invariably, be people who through abuse, folly or incompetence, mental illness or addiction, fall through the cracks. Society needs to provide rahab facilities to help these people get back on their feet, when possible.

 

Yes, education is good and important, but I think one of your quotes highlighted a very important reason for poor people being less able than they might otherwise be:

  • exposure to and absorption of lead in the blood.

Add parental drug or alcohol over-use during pregnancy.

If someone is able, they can learn even if their parents are duds and their school system is non-existent.

But if their brains are artificially limited from exposure to toxic materials, they have no chance even with help.

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The argument that the less well-off are, on the whole, dumber than the more affluent is only partially true because cognitive ability suffers under under conditions of deprivation.

 

Even if partially true, and even if you take away problems like lead poisoning, drug and alcohol dependency, add good schools with good mentors, optimize cultural factors, in other words fix everything that can be fixed without genetic engineering.... even then there will be many people thta are just naturally dumber than others.

 

I'm talking about one standard deviation below average: people with IQ from 85 to 100, roughly. You could even expand that from 80 to 105. (See normal curve below.)

 

People in that range are still considered normal. At the low end, they're kind of dull normals, capable of holding a simple job, but not much more. We need people like that, someone has to do those jobs, and they should be able to live in a decent way, feed, clothe and house themselves, with (as you say) some left over for savings and fun.

 

But there's nothing anymore that teaches them how to live in a measured and sober way. At an IQ of 85, they're going to have a really hard time deciding between a 1-lb food item on sale for $1 or 250g for $0.50. How will they know that spending $1 on two 250g items is a better deal if they can't really handle basic arithmetic or metric / British conversions?

 

Ad should they buy a packaged pop-it in the microwave dinner, or cook something from fresh nutritious ingredients? Can they even cook? No-one's teaching people how to live.

 

Multiply this by every meal and every purchase in the grocery for 50 years and you see why just raising someone's income won't necessarily lift them out of poverty.

 

ID_normal_curve.jpg

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So we agree that even he lowliest worker should, ideally, make enough to have money left over after necessities. Our disagreements, I think, are more subjective and VERY complicated. For instance, when buying anything from necessities to luxuries, it is not just a matter of being able to figure out what is the best deal. Preferences may vary wildly with some buying cheap, farm raised tilapia and others insisting on the far more expensive, wild caught salmon. Yet, those buying the salmon may save big on health bills down the road.

 

The Truth About Tilapia - Men's Journal

www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/nutrition/the-truth-about-tilapia-20150624

Jun 24, 2015 - Tilapia, the third most consumed fish in America, is under fire. Increasingly, this fish is grown in China and bad farming practices, some experts ...

 

Salmon - The World's Healthiest Foods

www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=104

Salmon is an excellent source of vitamin B12, vitamin D and selenium. It is a good source of niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, phosphorus and vitamin B6. It is also a good source of choline, pantothenic acid, biotin and potassium.

 

And that's just an isolated food example. The same type of comparisons can be made comparing junk food compared to fresh fruits and veggies. And so on. Even the simplest people, assuming they are making a living wage, can be educated to know what is better for them and their kids.

 

When it comes to durable goods, the same applies. Buying cheap can save money but often, buying expensive, saves more because the product might be more durable and last longer.

 

With the exception of oatmeal, I'm an example of someone who doesn't cook. I eat a lot of canned veggies and the vaunted wild-caught salmon and sardines. These canned foods have been proven to retain their nutrition. I also buy frozen blueberries, which I mix up in a green shake .... I buy produce like kale, spinach and collard greens ..... But I don't cook 'em. I wash 'em and as an alternative, eat 'em raw, maybe with a can of salmon and some raisins sprinkled on the kale .... With many variations. Some dry cereals are delish and nutrish without cooking also. Gotta read the label.

 

Anyway, I think most simple people, given the means, can do alright for themselves. And there's also the phenomenon of the well-to-do, having the means of hiding the dysfunction in their families and getting treatment that the less wel-off could not afford and insurance would never cover .... Like teams of 24 hr private nurses, sanitoriums, and rehab facilities.

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By the way, Mrs bludog doesn't cook either. We usually dine together, but eat separate diets of our choice. She is, in some ways, smarter than me but eats, mostly without regard to nutrition whereas I'm much more conscious of it.

 

Many poor people, not making a living wage, of course, eat diets mostly of junk food because they often live in food deserts without adequate transportation to shop elsewhere. They don't necessarily lack an awareness of wholesome foods but don't have access to it. This is yet another factor that could have negative effects on cognition.

 

USDA Defines Food Deserts | American Nutrition Association
americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/usda-defines-food-deserts

Food deserts are defined as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers' markets, and healthy food providers.

 

 

The rules for healthy eating are really very simple and easy to understand for anyone.

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By the way, Mrs bludog doesn't cook either. We usually dine together, but eat separate diets of our choice. She is, in some ways, smarter than me but eats, mostly without regard to nutrition whereas I'm much more conscious of it.

 

Many poor people, not making a living wage, of course, eat diets mostly of junk food because they often live in food deserts without adequate transportation to shop elsewhere. They don't necessarily lack an awareness of wholesome foods but don't have access to it. This is yet another factor that could have negative effects on cognition.

 

USDA Defines Food Deserts | American Nutrition Association
americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/usda-defines-food-deserts

Food deserts are defined as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers' markets, and healthy food providers.

 

 

The rules for healthy eating are really very simple and easy to understand for anyone.

I think I disagree. While there are rules for healthy eating, they vary from person to person. For example, my body reacts badly to beans. I like them but they make me sick. Typically beans are included in any healthy diet, but I can't eat them. Mrs. Joe has primary lymph-edema and has been told to avoid certain kinds of foods that aggravate her condition, like broccoli, foods usually considered very healthy.

 

Add to that the obfuscation of the soda pop industry, the sugar industry, and so on, means it is less clear what and how much to eat. I have heard suggestions that you should not eat anything that has ever been in a box. I think that is meaningful to some people, but it is not to me. Those selling products that may not be good for you have an economic reason for you to not know that their product will make you heavier. I would argue that many foods have added ingredients intentionally added to make the product addictive, and depress your fullness response. For example, very few people would drink near as much water as they can consume in pop.

 

So considering the variations in people and their responses to food, the various properties of food that can act differently in different people, and the obfuscation of the corporations selling those products, and the government co-operation with those corporations we have a nation of obese people. I would suggest that most would not be obese if they really understood what they are doing to themselves.

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The rules for healthy eating are really very simple and easy to understand for anyone.

 

I stick by this absolutely. One of the rules for healthy eating is to stay away from foods that don't agree with you. Even if they happen to be packed with nutrients, those particular foods are not healthy for those that have a negative reaction. The same goes for people whose medical conditions restrict their diet. Sometimes, there are other foods that can make up for the nutrient shortfall without causing any harm.

 

Personally, I love beans, nuts, green peas, corn, broccoli and other veggies; I'm lucky they don't give me a bad reaction. That doesn't apply to everyone. But I totally abstain from soda pop, candy, pastries or anything with sugar. The same with foods that contain trans fats or predominantly saturated fat. (Many foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat also contain a smaller amount of saturated, which is usually OK). But ANY type of fat or oil is high glycemic (calorie dense) and eating too much will add weight.

 

A lifelong diet meant to maintain a healthy weight while getting good nutrition, should be mostly low glycemic (calorie sparse) and high in fiber, which assists things along, gives a feeling of fullness, and is not absorbed in the bloodstream. But even calorie sparse foods will cause weight-gain if eaten in excess. But they're less likely to be eaten in excess because many of them are high in fiber, more voluminous and tend to take longer to eat.

 

We are lucky to live in a country where it really is in most people's power to buy produce, read labels, and eat mostly beneficial types of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in their diets; For life.

 

Sure, there's plenty of deception going on in the food industry. For instance a quick read of the "Nutrition Facts and Ingredients" label on "Honey Bunches of Oats" reveals the product to be loaded with sugar while containing no honey and far more corn and wheat than oats. The FDA allows misleading product names but requires full disclosure on the label,for those who bother to read it. There are also lots of other deceptions the FDA allows. Food labeling could use a lot of improvement. However, any informed person can read through deceptions in labeling.

 

Like many other industries, lobbying and campaign contributions by giant food corporations like ConAgra, Monsanto, Tyson, Sysco, etc., have been able to buy legislation that weakens consumer protections and boosts profits. The food industry needs far more regulation than at present. But many consumer safety measures like inspections and modestly informative labeling are still in place.

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Personally, I love beans, nuts, green peas, corn, broccoli and other veggies; I'm lucky they don't give me a bad reaction. That doesn't apply to everyone. But I totally abstain from soda pop, candy, pastries or anything with sugar. The same with foods that contain trans fats or predominantly saturated fat.

 

That's pretty good advice right there.

 

My brother is a PhD biologist who always thinks evolution first. He says that humans lived for many millennia eating small amounts of meat occasionally, but lots of gathered fruits and nuts. Plus, to get these things they did a lot of walking. That's how he lives: walks a lot, eats raw fruits and nuts, no refined foods and only a small amount of meat, maybe a scattering of cooked ground chicken thrown over a salad.

 

Myself, I'm not nearly that good. For fun, I make too many tasty things in the kitchen, and I like some sweets (at European levels of sweetness, because American style sweets are way too sweet for me). But almost everything we eat is cooked at home, except for restaurant food. Luckily we can afford that now, but when I was a student, I still ate well and lived well on a pittance.

 

The knowledge of how to do that came from watching my parents, who were WWII holocaust refugees. Without any formal education past grade 5 (my dad) and 7 (my mom) they knew how to turn almost nothing into something good.

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Your brother and I share remarkably similar views on this subject. I too walk a lot, with boon companion Iggy ... Our dog.

 

I often have some fish or poultry as the protein component of a meal. I don't like eating the flesh of mammals, although I'm sure it didn't bother our early forebears at all, when they could get it. Nuts and legumes provide protein too. Low or nonfat Greek or parfait yogurt is excellent.

 

Cereals make a good, calorie sparse meal. The best ones are oatmeal and other whole grain cereals which need to be boiled in water .... They have lots of natural fiber and allow the consumer to add sweets or salt according to preference. Too many dry cereals come already loaded with salt, sugar, corn syrup and fillers of questionable repute.

 

When eating out, it's almost impossible to get wild-caught fish, low on the food chain and therefore, practically free of heavy metals like mercury, so I often opt for grilled chicken salad. I prefer salad bars with their variety of beans, peas, corn, beets, nuts olives, greens, carrots, onions, etc.

 

I'm probably too neglectful of getting enough fruit but go heavy on the veggies instead. Truth is, I like 'em better.

 

Myself, I'm not nearly that good. For fun, I make too many tasty things in the kitchen, and I like some sweets (at European levels of sweetness, because American style sweets are way too sweet for me). But almost everything we eat is cooked at home, except for restaurant food. Luckily we can afford that now, but when I was a student, I still ate well and lived well on a pittance.

 

Sounds like, from this and other threads, that you do food prep as a hobby, which must be very satisfying. Your art on the bottle labels of mead that you produce, is superb. So, I'm sure the beverage within, is also prepared with equal care and excellence.

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