Multiply Justice

Archive for the tag “Poverty”

How do you overcome poverty? This guy makes toys

tegu toysOwen Strachan posts at thoughtlife about how the workings of the free market hold much greater potential for positive long-term improvement in the lives of people in poverty.

In Honduras, where 64% of the population lives below the poverty line, a for-profit business, Tegu Toys, is improving the quality of its employees’ lives, creating more jobs as it grows, and giving families a vision of a new and better future.

Chris Haughey, co-founder of the company, says the real solution to poverty is to launch many small engines of economic growth that affect not just a few people for a little while, but entire communities — with the potential to permanently change an entire society for the better.

“You think the solution to poverty is more aid or more charitable giving, but those are only short-term, stopgap solutions. If you care about the poor, then you are going to seek out ways to create new economic opportunities for them,” Haughey says in the 3-minute video posted at the site. “… What we really need to address issues of poverty is economic growth through for-profit mechanisms that create sustainable opportunities for people.”

Strachan points out that “Bono (who famously campaigned for debt forgiveness) recently acknowledged this” and notes a Yale University study that showed “the stunning effects of the free market upon the global populace.”

Read the full text of Strachan’s post and watch the inspiring video by clicking here.
Learn more about Tegu Toys by clicking here.

Mentoring self-employment starts a river of justice flowing

murray-mcnairOne of the most effective tactics for fighting poverty — and the hopelessness it engenders — is helping people start their own businesses. Not only does self-employment set a person free from the captivity of dependence and give them hope for the future, but it also fuels the engines of local and national economies. The article excerpted below says that if just 1 in 3 small businesses hired one employee, the United States would be at full employment. By mentoring others into entrepreneurship, Christian business owners can start a life-giving river flowing into entire communities.

Henry Rock, executive director of City Startup Labs, writes for the Christian Science Monitor about their Entrepreneur’s Academy:

Lawrence Carpenter knew he always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but he was in the wrong business – the business of selling drugs.

After his second stint in prison, it became clear to him: “I made mistakes in my life, and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in poverty because of those mistakes. I also knew that I had a criminal record, and looking at things realistically, it was going to be pretty difficult finding a job anywhere. I didn’t want to use that as an excuse. I knew that in order for me to realize the goals I had financially, my only option was to start my own business and create my own market.”

lawrence-carpenterThe Durham, N.C. native set about the task of starting Super Clean Professional Janitorial Services, a commercial cleaning service. “I wanted something that would get me as far away from the streets as possible, but where there wouldn’t be a limit or a cap on how much money I could make.” Now the sky seems to be the limit for Mr. Carpenter, as Super Clean is generating more than $2.5 million in sales per year and employs more than 70 full and part-time employees.

It’s the Lawrence Carpenters that organizations like ours – City Startup Labs – want to motivate, train, and deploy in inner cities around the country. This new non-profit was created to take at-risk young African American men, including ex-offenders, and teach them entrepreneurship, while creating a new set of role models and small business ambassadors along the way. City Startup Labs contends that an alternative education that prepares these young men to launch their own businesses can have far more impact with this population than other traditional forms of job readiness or workforce training.

Today’s economic climate allows employers their pick of candidates, leaving few options for anyone with a record. Young black men, who’ve had no brushes with the law, still routinely face real barriers in getting on a job ladder’s lowest rung.

According to a 2005 Princeton study, “Discrimination in Low Wage Labor Markets,” young white high school graduates were nearly twice as likely to receive positive responses from employers as equally qualified black job seekers. Even without criminal records, black applicants had low rates of positive responses – about the same as the response rate for white applicants with criminal records.

This is where entrepreneurship comes in. For example, a report done by the Justice Policy Institute states that, “…recidivism is higher for those persons who are unable to obtain employment after leaving prison and imposes a high cost on society; and yet employment opportunities are especially limited for ex-convicts. Thus self-employment would be a viable alternative for ex-offenders, at least for those with above average entrepreneurial aptitude…”

Read the full text of this excellent article by clicking here.
Learn more about City Startup Labs by clicking here.

via Rudy Carrasco at UrbanOnramps

The conservative silence about poverty

Josh Good writes at Christians for a Sustainable Economy:

Last week at Cleveland State University, Paul Ryan outlined in broad contours how a Romney-Ryan administration would confront poverty in America.

For followers of this blog—especially Millennials and Gen Xers who watch far too many economic conservatives tiptoe around poverty issues—his 26-minute speech is essential viewing. The speech addresses topics also covered in our current fleet of Values & Capitalism primers: subjects like Social Security, anti-poverty approaches and what conditions actually create wealth and justice.

Congressman Ryan’s speech identifies two important problems. First, despite unprecedented federal anti-poverty spending, “poverty is winning.” Instead of government programs creating a basic safety net (which the vast majority of Americans support), our anti-poverty programs are increasingly becoming a way of life—and one that impedes individuals and communities from flourishing. Many of us have our own firsthand examples, and “inter-generational poverty” abides.

Ryan says that, on means-tested programs alone, we spend over a trillion dollars annually, and yet “in our major cities, half our kids don’t graduate” from high school.  Today nearly one in six adults and one in four children still live in poverty. As compassionate citizens and, in particular, Christians who care deeply about economic stewardship, debt being passed on to future generations, and the biblical value of work, we must not idly stand by. We should also be careful not to let liberal candidates monopolize this issue.

Which brings us to the second problem Ryan identifies in his speech: Conservatives need to do a better job applying the American Dream to all strata of society. “My party has a vision for making our communities stronger,” Ryan said, “but we don’t always do a good job of laying out that vision.”

… For American productivity to again become a reality, we must connect humane, compassionate ideals with clear-headed fiscal prudence that affirms the image of God in all persons, the dignity of work, the reality of debt and the value of personal responsibility. This is the secret our founders knew—and it is also critical to the survival and flourishing of our free enterprise system, which has the power to lift millions out of poverty.

There is much more to the article. Read it in full by clicking here.

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