Sunday, April 01, 2007

Speaking of the cycle of despair & poverty

Steve Bailey, in The Boston Globe, Friday, wrote the terrific column linked in my title above. He ties the rising murder rates in urban America to economics:

Andrew Sum and his colleagues at the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University draw a devastating picture of what is happening to young black men in an economy increasingly driven by the forces of globalization and technology here. Among black male dropouts age 16 to 24, only one in three was working at all in 2005, far lower than the numbers for same age whites and Hispanics. The loss of industrial jobs and the influx of illegal immigrants have hurt black men in particular, Sum says.

"Many of these men will end up being involved in criminal activities during their late teens and early 20s and then bear the severe economic consequences for convictions and incarcerations over the remainder of their working lives," the Northeastern report says. And many more innocent victims like Chiara Levin, age 22, and Quinntessa Blackwell, age 18, will die.

America's rising income inequality is the scorecard by which we can measure the splintering of our society. In a speech in February, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke warned how globalization and technological innovation are widening the gap between the best and the brightest and everyone else. The future is bright if you are a "superstar," as Bernanke calls them. What's the future if you are a dropout on Bowdoin Street and the competition is a billion Chinese and Indians?

Read the rest of this terrific article by linking through the title above.

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