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Why poor people make bad decisions

Discussion in 'Debates' started by das_nut, Nov 23, 2013.

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  1. das_nut

    das_nut World Class Member

    - Huffington Post
  2. yakherder

    yakherder 老外

    Ottawa / Vermont
    I feel like I don't agree, but I'm not sure if I can rationally explain why. :/

    I think long term planning isn't necessarily the problem, but the nature of the long term planning. The reason for doing it. If the purpose of your existence is to save money so you can later make more of it and/or buy a single larger entertainment related possession in order to distract you from reality for a little while the, yes, you're probably going to be disappointed either way. In that regards, the problem is the mentality of the person, not whether they blow everything on Wendy's right away or save up for a year to buy a fancy TV or for 6 years to go on a cruise around the world.
  3. das_nut

    das_nut World Class Member

    I see the point of the mentality of the person, but it seems to ignore the environment. Being in chronic poverty is tough - people can be punished for choices they made years ago, or even for choices beyond their control. At some point, it isn't entirely unreasonable to lose hope that "something far better" is just around the corner.
    Poppy likes this.
  4. Clueless Git

    Clueless Git The Pollocaust is nigh!

    Milton Keynes, UK
    People 'deny' their poverty by trying to copy the day to day lifestyle of those they see as being better off than themselves.

    Dumbassed thing being that they would be better off if they copied the day to day life style of those worse off than themselves instead.
  5. Clueless Git

    Clueless Git The Pollocaust is nigh!

    Milton Keynes, UK
    Alternative topic idea ...

    "Why people who make bad decisions are poor .."
  6. das_nut

    das_nut World Class Member

    That's easy to say when you're not in chronic poverty. There's a difference between being poor and chronic poverty. Being poor is temporary - a college student may be poor, etc. Chronic poverty is being poor and trapped.
  7. Clueless Git

    Clueless Git The Pollocaust is nigh!

    Milton Keynes, UK
    £40k in debt, no income, no assets, family of 5 to support qualify for that?

    If, on the other hand, you mean the kind of poverty that only exists in third world countries then I totaly agree.

    I wouldn't even disagree that "poor and trapped" is common enough in first world countries either.

    To be trapped in the kind of 'money lakes' that first world countries are (comparatively) is, imho, usualy due to poverty of mind.
  8. Moll Flanders

    Moll Flanders Addicted Poster

    The thing that shocked me the most about that article was that she said the closest Planned Parenthood was three hours away from where she lived. In the UK at least we have the NHS and widely available contraception so that is not such an issue here.
  9. beancounter

    beancounter The Fire That Burns Within Forum Moderator

    Yes, the trap is an emotional and cultural one. But it's also about poor education, too. I don't know how it work in the UK, but a substantial amount of funding for public schools comes from the local level. So, a poor community will have less to spend on schools, resulting in a lower quality education. And the cycle perpetuates itself. On the cultural aspect, among other thing,s involves people in the community, and there willingness to enlighten others as to the opportunities available. It's true that you don't know what you don't know. And if everyone around you has "given up", tere is a strong cultural current to view the world in the same way
    Clueless Git likes this.
  10. Clueless Git

    Clueless Git The Pollocaust is nigh!

    Milton Keynes, UK
    Agree with every single word there, BC :)
  11. das_nut

    das_nut World Class Member

    I'm not sure how that translates to the American experience. UK has a better safety net, and more public transportation, does it not? I'm not saying the situation is ideal, but you aren't making the decision between buying food, paying for your prescription, or getting the car fixed so you can make it to work, are you?
  12. Clueless Git

    Clueless Git The Pollocaust is nigh!

    Milton Keynes, UK
    Impossible for me to say for sure either, Das.

    Very much so at that time, yes.

    We survived by scavenging the open air markets for end of day bargains to save a few bob on the main shopping. The few bob saved went to buy further essentials in bulk to keep longer term costs down.

    What we couldn't afford we didn't buy; If we could only afford kitchen roll that got used in the bathroom and as face tissue untill we had enough to buy proper toilet roll or tissue in bulk as well. At one point all I could afford was commercial blue paper - that got used for all three things for a while

    Did other things I never see long term poor people do too. Survived a week mainly on chapati's and dall. Another week mainly on soup and bread. Absolutey anything to get a few shillings together to use for buying things I could sell. All profits poured back in to buying and selling over and over again.

    This might sound sick to some people but I enjoyed living like that. Having more than I need actualy makes me miserable now.

    To this day I still manipulate my working hours down to about 3 hours per day (I am effectively semi-retired) so my actual income is below minimum wage. Any luxuries, which include my Porsche, all get funded out of wheeling and dealing with whatever is left when all essentials are paid.

    Self indulgent ramble, apologies for that, but I hope it sheds some light on where I was coming from with what I said.
  13. das_nut

    das_nut World Class Member

    FYI, at least in the US, there's usually a daily or weekly newsprint that works well for toilet paper. Real toilet paper is a luxury.

    Is there no equivalent to food stamps? We have those in the US, they allow you to get food. Ironically, if you have no income, you get less. If you work, you're "rewarded" by getting more. It's kind of sick. But it's okay, you can get used to not eating a few days out of the month, even as a child.
  14. Moll Flanders

    Moll Flanders Addicted Poster

    I think the UK seems different from the US as having a strong safety net here does mean that there is a more equal playing field as you can have a good education, free healthcare etc... even coming from a poorer background. In theory you can climb upwards socially on your own merit, although there is still deep poverty in some areas, it's not perfect here obviously.

    Some of the state schools in the UK are very good, I went to a good state school but it depends on the local area. Some of the state schools in London are some of the best schools in England, even including the poorer areas. BBC News - 'Startling turnaround' transforms London state schools
  15. yakherder

    yakherder 老外

    Ottawa / Vermont
    I can relate to that. I've lived in conditions ranging from substandard to downright dangerous, and in many ways I actually enjoyed the challenge. When you have to devote every second of every day to surviving, you never have to worry about motivation. When you've got everything you need, day to day life simply becomes a struggle to find ways to entertain yourself. Life gets boring and the daily grind loses meaning.

    Things are going relatively well for me right now. My girlfriend took a break from work to finish her master's and already has ridiculous work prospects. I won't ever make as much as her (unless I become a mercenary or something, not exactly family friendly), but there's plenty else out there for an ex-military foreign language fanatic. I have no reason to believe that things won't go well for us, as per the commonly accepted standard of "well." Yet as I reach the end of my military obligation, in many ways I dread letting it go. I enjoy running around in the mountains in shitty weather, and I actually look forward to the occasional deployment. Challenge provides a perspective that guaranteed security does not.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  16. Wolfie

    Wolfie World Class Member

    That is not how it works in my state. But I'm sure it varies greatly state to state.
  17. Clueless Git

    Clueless Git The Pollocaust is nigh!

    Milton Keynes, UK
    I'm with you on that one.

    To be honest though a challenge is not a challenge to a person who is not equipped to deal with challenges.

    To those people even quite small challenges can range from somewhere between a living hell and a bit of a disaster.

    Be a funny old world if everyone thrived on challenges, mind ...

    I mean like where we would get our accountants from?

    (Sorry BC :p)
  18. Clueless Git

    Clueless Git The Pollocaust is nigh!

    Milton Keynes, UK
    <mental-image> Copy of National Enquirer hanging on nail banged into wall of bathroom at Celione Dionnes $72m mansion </mental-image>

    Not in UK, no. Our stamps use foul tasting glue to make sure that they aren't edible.

    Seriously though ...

    We had a fair safety net at one point. 'Income support' it was called. Just about enough money for a person who doesn't know how to be thrifty to eat every third day.

    Quote my imaginary freind, 'Chantelle': "Farking 60 quid to last a week they gave me! By the time I bought my fags and paid my iphone contract there weren't enough left to feed the babies at McDonalds"

    Not sure exactly what the situation is now. Our whole SS system is being overhauled and replaced with a system called 'Universal Credits'.

    Earliest indicator is that the new system is already being used to disqualify all but the most bizarely disabled from disabilty benefits.

    "So you are undergoing intensive chemotherapy but you feel well enough to make yourself a cup of tea every other Wednesday? You can work every other Wednesday then so you won't be needing benefit"

    Expectation is that it's further purpose will be to disqualify anyone without employment from unemployment benefit and so on and so forth ..
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  19. LuvOurMother

    LuvOurMother Star Member

    Not pleased with this article, a better title would be "Why Depressed People Make Bad Decisions" or "Why Poor People Are Often Depressed". Her writing speaks much more about depression and mental health issues more than poverty. Yes there is a big connection between the two but her take on it is basically "no hope so why try" which is the same kinda attitude someone dealing with depression will take no matter how much they have.

    This part bothered me too:
    Guess she never had raw broccoli before....
  20. das_nut

    das_nut World Class Member

    I can see what you're trying to say, but I'm not sure if I'd be so quick to raise the mental health flag. Depression, in and of itself, is not a clinical disorder. It can be a normal response to the person's environment.

    I'd have to say chronic poverty is hard to understand if you haven't lived it.

    No, no, the National Enquirer costs money. You want the free ad-suppported newspapers.

    We supposedly have the same folks in the US - poor, but having iPhones.

    They aren't the working poor that I know of. But I'm sure there's some poor person in the US with an iPhone.[/quote]

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