Education The Government Antidote to Poverty, Disease and Terrorism


The Government Antidote to Poverty, Disease and Terrorism


Despite enormous technological advances, humanity continues to grapple with three enormous burdens: poverty, disease and terrorism (both individual and state-sponsored.) Although the policies aimed at solving those problems are different, there is one approach that can help lower the negative effect of all three: education.

There is a clear connection between poverty and a lack of education. Although overall access to education has risen markedly over the past decade, poor children are still less likely to attend school or be enrolled in school and also more likely to repeat grades than those who come from more prosperous families.

It is harder for children from poor families to have easy access to schools, because schools tend to be concentrated in urban areas where only better-off families live. Gender disparity in access to education is also greater among the poor. To be a girl from a poor family becomes a double disadvantage. In addition, gender bias against girls in approaches to teaching and the degree of attention they receive from teachers- leaves girls at a further disadvantage.

The gender gap is generally wider at higher levels of schooling, particularly in developing countries. According to some estimates, women in South Asia, for example, have only half as many years of basic education as men, and female enrollment rates at the high-school level are two thirds that of males.

Governments tend to spend less on public education -the kind of schooling that tends to benefit mostly the poor- particularly in developing countries, during times of economic crises. In addition, wars, civil conflicts, and epidemics disrupt school services and school attendance. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, to name just a few, are ample evidence of this, as is the effect that the Ebola epidemic is having now in several African countries.

Eliminating gender bias in education is particularly important when the parents’ level of education is considered with regard to their children’s educational attainment. To increase the chances of their children’s success, several studies have shown that educating mothers is more important than educating fathers.

Educated girls develop better essential life skills, including self-confidence, the ability to participate effectively in society and the capacity to better protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and sexual exploitation. Girls’ education not only empowers them, but is also considered the best investment in a country’s development.

Although many diseases are unavoidable, others are created or worsened by social and living conditions. The World Health Organization has insisted on the importance of the “social determinants of health,” which are the social and economic conditions in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age. They significantly influence people’s health status, their access to education and social services and their quality of life.

In regard to terrorism, one question notably absent from the discussion on this phenomenon are the reasons behind it, and why it has increased so markedly in recent years. Although many countries suffer this problem, it seems to be aimed to a large extent against the U.S. One cannot avoid thinking how the foreign policies of the U.S. have been a major cause.

Among those policies are: the presence of U.S. troops in Arab countries; the U.S. support for dictatorships throughout the world; the widespread use of torture and humiliation in U.S. prisons, particularly against prisoners from Arab countries; and the unconditional U.S. support for Israel’s policies in the Middle East to the detriment of Palestinians’ rights and aspirations.

Rather than trying to understand those reasons, the U.S. has led a brutal war against those it perceives as terrorists, killing thousands of innocent people in a state of unending war of enormous economic cost. Rather than eliminating terrorists these policies are only fueling the creation of new ones. As Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate Pakistani young woman told President Obama: “While guns only kill terrorists education kills terrorism.” As such, it is necessary to improve the disenfranchised youth who may become involved in violent activities.

These three burdens of humanity: poverty, disease and terrorism can be better solved through education, by adequately responding to people’s just grievances and by putting emphasis on policies that address justice and human rights concerns.

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award


Thousands of jihadi fighters from the murderous ISIS terrorist group surrounded Baghdad Sunday and were prepared to mount an assault.

More than 10,000 of the fanatical barbarians had gathered outside the Iraqi capital, poised to take it by force, an Iraqi official told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper.

Sabah al-Karhout, president of the provisional council of Anbar Province, told the paper that the fighters had advanced as far as Abu Ghraib, a suburb.

He said Iraq needed US aid because the western part of the country had fallen largely under the control of ISIS.

In response, the United States called in Apache helicopters to keep Iraqi forces from being overrun by ISIS savages near Baghdad’s airport.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the militants had come within 15 miles of the airport and had overrun the Iraqis.

“It was a straight shot to the airport,” he told ABC’s “This Week.” “So we’re not going to allow that to happen.”

Also on Sunday, three suicide bombings killed 58 people, many of them Kurdish security forces, in Qara Tappah, northeast of Baghdad. And a roadside bomb killed Anbar Province’s police chief and six civilians.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that while US-led strikes would weaken ISIS, it was ultimately up to the Iraqis to fight the group off.

“It is Iraqis who will have to take back Iraq. It is Iraqis in Anbar who will have to fight for Anbar,” he said.

Later Sunday, Turkey offered support to the campaign against ISIS by finally granting the US access to its air bases.

Sen. John McCain, however, said the US was failing to stop the jihadist onslaught and needed to ramp up airstrikes as the militants battled to seize the Syrian border city of Kobani.

“They’re winning, and we’re not,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “There has to be a fundamental re-evaluation of what we’re doing because we are not degrading and ultimately destroying ISIS.”

ISIS’s advance on the largely Kurdish city of Kobani has sent 200,000 residents fleeing.

Kerry said the US-led coalition must act to stop it.

With Post Wire Services

40 Years Of Income Inequality In America, In Graphs

Without comment yet but passed on from Planet Money on NPR’s Sunday 10/5//2014 website, this article merits attention. Text here but you most go to website for compelling graphics.
40 Years Of Income Inequality In America, In Graphs
October 02, 201410:46 AM ET
Here’s the story of income inequality in America over the past 40 years.

Hover over each line to identify household income, and click through to see the percentage growth over the past 40 years.
The graph reveals a striking pattern. After adjusting for inflation, income was basically flat for households in the bottom half of the economic ladder. Right around the middle, income starts to pick up — and the higher you go up the income ladder, the more income growth you see.

Income grew 9 percent for households at the 60th percentile, 22 percent for those at the 80th percentile and 36 percent for those at the 95th percentile. (Update: To be clear, as we reported earlier this year, many households move up and down the income ladder over time.) Gains were even larger for those at the very top, but the census data we’re using in this graph make it hard to track incomes for the top 1 percent.

Here’s how income growth shakes out over the past 20 years by the education and age of the head of household.
Among households headed by high school dropouts, incomes grew roughly in lockstep — and were basically stagnant at all levels. Among households headed by high school graduates, and in those headed by college graduates, those in the middle actually saw their wages fall. The only group that saw significant gains was households headed by high-earning college grads.

Labor economists call this “the hollowing out of the middle.” Globalization and technological change have made middle-skill, middle-income jobs harder to find. Low-skill, low-paying jobs have stuck around. And there are high-paying jobs for those at the top with the skills to put technology to profitable use.

One thing to note: That bump in 2000 for incomes among bachelor’s degree holders does not reflect reality — it’s the result of a temporary change in the way the census reported income for those at the top.

Does age make much of a difference in income inequality? Yes, especially for households headed by people between 45 and 65. In those groups, income for the middle class and the poor actually fell in the past 20 years.
A note about the data. The census has a broad definition of income, counting things like earnings, dividends and cash benefits from the government (like earned income tax credit and unemployment benefits). But it excludes capital gains and any noncash benefits from the government (like Medicare or Medicaid). This means it’s good at measuring total incomes of poor to middle-class households (where government cash transfers play a large role in income) and not so good at measuring total incomes of the rich (where capital gains play a big role in income). This is why when measuring incomes of the very rich, analysts typically look at the data set collected by Piketty and Saez, who use raw tax data to compute their estimates.