Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

Automated Greenhouses – Soon to be a Reality!

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Picture a greenhouse that continually produces food all by itself, with little to no human interaction. This autonomous mechanical marvel – built from low cost materials and powered by renewable energy – could truly mean a sustainable source of fresh food all year round.

Sound too good to be true? Well, it is right now. But not for much longer. Automated greenhouses are fast becoming a reality, and these seemingly magic structures will give humankind a permanent solution to world hunger.

Consider the Horto Domi project, which aims to take the labor out of running a garden at home. Their working prototype can regulate soil and atmosphere conditions, runs on the economical Arduino micro-computer, and can be monitored remotely via web App.

So it’s not yet a magical box. But over the coming years, teams will hash out the remaining pieces of the puzzle. Atmospheric water collectors will provide all the fresh water needed to irrigate the crops. Wind and solar will provide the necessary energy to heat and run the system. The structure itself will be built from some kind of abundant material, shaped into whatever form works best. And all that will be left is to figure out how to mechanize the entire crop cycle safely and effectively.

The implications of this will be astounding! No one will be starving anywhere on the planet. Incredible, right?

If you think about all the wars and chaos in our world, so much of it is rooted directly in poverty. People in desperate situations are willing to do desperate things. When no mouth goes hungry, when everyone’s needs are met, there won’t be this fundamental drive towards violent conflict.

Automated greenhouses – and the incredible boon they’ll offer- give us one more reason to believe that world peace is just around the corner.

Poverty in the World’s Richest Country

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

The Grinch is alive and well in America. Only instead of stealing presents from under the tree, modern day Scrooges have been pilfering the pockets of entire populations.

In his latest article, Les Leopold unveils 6 sneaky ways corporate elites function as reverse Robin Hoods, stealing from the poor to give to the rich:

1 in 2, have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income. 1 in 5 American children live in poverty. What’s going on here? You would think we were a poor country.  But we’re not. We’re filthy rich, but the money is hidden away by the 1 percent while poverty rises all around.

Just how are the richest of the rich getting away with the greatest robbery of all time? Leopold breaks it down for us:

1. Productivity continues to rise but the 99 percent doesn’t share in the benefits. The productivity lines and wage lines have pulled apart so that trillions of dollars that once went to the average American are now going almost entirely to the super-rich.

2. Large corporations pay next to nothing in state and local taxes. A recent joint report reveals that 265 large corporations avoided $42.7 billion in taxes from 2008 to 2010.

3. Money that should go toward the common good pours into the pockets of the 1 percent. The overall tax rate for the super-rich has plummeted from 70% to less than what the average secretary pays.

4. The biggest corporations are sitting on a mountain of cash, yet they refuse to invest more than $1 trillion in cash because of the lack of consumer demand.

5. Hedge funds have over $1.917 trillion in misused investment capital. Most of this speculative capital serves no broader economic or social purpose, jumping in and out of the markets in nanoseconds using high-speed automatic trading techniques that extract hidden taxes from the rest of us.

6. Many of the 1 percent cheat on their taxes. The tax revenues lost in the U.S. are estimated to be $337 billion a year according to a November report by the Tax Justice Network.

So there you have it. While the rest of us are sipping our egg nog and enjoying the company of our friends and family, behemoth businesses are tirelessly enriching the wealthy few while systematically crushing the middle and lower classes.

Santa might be tempted to give these corporate fatcats a well-deserved lump of coal in their stockings, but they’d probably just use it as a tax write off.

Rewarding the Wealthy at the Expense of the Poor and Middle Class:

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Bad Economics, Bad Citizenship

By Guest Contributor Debbie Jordan

It’s time to face the facts: We live, work, plan, rule, and most importantly, are ruled by one major principle: Economic success in a capitalistic society is measured by how well the highest earners are doing. There’s a vital corollary to that theorem: Poverty doesn’t matter to those who are working. 

Nothing could be farther from the truth!

The basic planks in this platform are:

  • Capitalism depends entirely on investment money from the wealthy class.
  • Since rich people spend more than lesser earners, especially on luxury items, their capital input is worth more to the economy than anything we lower-class schlubs can ever do to feed the economic machine. 


This attitude ignores two vital sources of capitalistic funding:

  • All the money from people in the middle and lower classes pooled into mutual and retirement funds, including 401Ks and IRAs; bank and credit union accounts; interest collections from loans; and much more.
  • The combined spending of people in the lower classes who pay for goods and services they need and even more.

When you compare what one member of the upper crust is able to throw around compared to that from any one of the rest of us, the rich have the edge. But when you consider the small number of people who earn a million dollars or more with the combined economic power of the rest of us, we’ll always be the overwhelming majority. That’s why our economic value should always be respected in financial decisions, whether they’re made on Main Street, Wall Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue.

Regardless of the cumulative investing and spending power of the lower classes compared with that of the rich, conservatives insist the country’s economic health depends on protecting the wealthy by cutting basic services for the neediest among us. As a result, they’re destroying the economic life of not only the U.S. but the entire world.

It’s time to turn this ship around. Let’s consider some of the worst problems:

Conservatives want to direct more money toward construction and management of prisons than schools. However, studies show that every dollar invested in education is returned many times over in productivity and taxes and much less is needed for law-enforcement and prisons, which actually have a negative impact on the economy.

Conservatives don’t want to spend any public money on health care for low earners, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. But investment in promoting healthy lifestyles and nutrition, preventive care, and timely care for people with illnesses or injuries is much cheaper than denying adequate and necessary care. Besides, healthier people are more productive, which is good for the economic health of the country.

Finally, conservatives claim global warming is a myth and cleaning up pollution and dirty industries is too expensive. But the rising cost of pollution-related health problems prove that eliminating and preventing pollution and building green industries ace the most logical investments for a prosperous future.

The upshot is that investment in quality education, health care, and environmental cleanup and protection pay off in the long run. Those investments provide well-paying jobs for people, many of whom are unemployed because of financial shenanigans of the rich and their conservative political allies. That strategy will strengthen the impact of the real economic machine, all the rest of us.

Even if it takes a temporary rise in the taxes of the highest-earning citizens–which would actually just be a return to the tax levels of the last time the economy was doing well–it’ll pay off in the long run even for those “put-upon” rich people. So much for the argument that raising taxes on the rich is too much of a sacrifice for conservatives to allow.

So, when politicians and big spenders think about where to put their money, they should consider investing in America and Americans–the real Americans who work for a living and whose money keeps the doors of businesses open for the long haul.


Debbie Jordan is the author of The World I Imagine: A creative manual for ending poverty and building peace, a collection of 47 essays originating in the column she writes for the Arizona City Independent Edition. Jordan writes about her solutions to some of the world’s most detrimental social issues. Jordan is committed to inspiring others to improve the world through community involvement and volunteerism. Debbie can be found online at


Batman’s Message to the 1%

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Watch as a young Batman tackles the growing concerns over income inequality and corruption in the upper echelon.

Gotham City’s ruling class, just like the 1 percent of 1 percent of humans who control insane amounts of the world’s wealth, have gone unchecked for too long. And now they’ve gone rotten.

So here comes Batman – much like the Arab spring, the riots in Europe, and the Occupy Movement – rising to the occasion and taking out the trash. Not necessarily because he wants to, but because it has to be done.

Take heed, super-rich people. Your days of exploitation and oligarchy are coming to an end. Be like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet before it’s too late!

WOW! Go Pres of Ireland!

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Check out this impassioned speech by poet and Irish President Michael D Higgins, lambasting income disparity and the continued debasing of the lower and middle classes. Unbelievable! He’s like a spokesperson for the 99%.

We need more leaders like this guy… elected officials who will stand up for the regular people who voted them into power.

Pres. of Europe’s Central Bank Alludes to Impending Global Uprising

Monday, August 29th, 2011

A great uprising approaches. The world’s poor and middle class are set to gang up and overthrow the wealthiest in a sort of peasant revolution that spans the globe.

The income gap between the rich and the poor is now the widest ever in modern history, meaning the cause for dissent is greater than it has ever been before.

This notion was echoed by the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, who says an unjust distribution of wealth is a threat to the stability of societies.

“Extremes of income inequality and restricted opportunity challenge our values and strain the fabric of our societies,” Mr. Trichet said at a Central Bankers Conference in Wyoming, “Growth skewed towards the few (or absent for a large minority) risks social tensions, undermines institutions and encourages policy failures of one kind or another.”

So as long as the income gap keeps growing, earth’s societies will continue to destabilize. As people everywhere continue to smarten up about the world’s horribly distorted economic system, eventually the dam will burst and something will be done. United behind common goals, humankind will rise up together, making the necessary changes to ensure these injustices can no longer persist.

An amazing side effect from this great upheaval will be the dismantling of any entities responsible for dividing the human race, namely, the military industrial complex. That’s right – war is going to be phased out as we systematically recognize how the real enemies aren’t people from other countries or religious groups, but rather, those who seek to exploit billions of people to generate billions in net worth for themselves.

Sweet! Peace and prosperity. What are we waiting for?

Canada Trying to Trim Military Fat

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

With major trading partners teetering on the brink of economic collapse, Canadians have been looking for ways to tighten belts. A great place to find unnecessary expenditures is with the military, since the only wars we’ve been fighting lately are the ones we make ourselves.

A new report outlines ways to do just that – cut 5-10%, or over a billion dollars, from our bloated defense budget. The report takes aim at the bureaucracy, opting to fire civilian staff and merge departments without compromising front-line integrity.

Still, these recommendations are going to be a hard sell, as it will require shaking up the military establishment. Without significant political pressure, these proposed cuts could easily be ignored.

This is where the Canadian public comes in. Already sick of the Afghan war, it’s time for Canadians to really make some noise and let our political leaders know we don’t want or need politically organized armed conflict anymore.

Sure, one billion in slashed spending is a great start, but we want the cuts to go far deeper. There are better ways to invest our precious treasure to improve the world.

These billions we blow on death and destruction could instead be used for building wells, spreading solar cookers, or feeding and schooling children. Rather than focusing on killing off the “bad guys”, we could be helping to strengthen the world’s communities, making it so they are able to handle their own affairs.

It’s time we moved beyond our roles as peace-keepers to become peace-builders, attacking the root causes of conflict instead of just the symptoms.

Cheap Smartphones Flood Developing World

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Smartphones are one of the most empowering tools on the planet. They provide a portal to the Internet’s fountain of knowledge and they allow access to the world’s communities via social media.

When everyone on earth can afford a smartphone, a more just civilization will be upon us.

And that day is arriving faster than many may anticipate, thanks to companies like China’s Huawei, who released an $80 smartphone into the Kenyan marketplace earlier this year.

So far, over 350,000 Kenyans have gained access to the smartphone known as IDEOS, which runs Google’s open-source operating system – Android – and gives users access to over 300,000 various apps.

Some of these apps are opening huge doors for ambitious Kenyans, like Medkenya, a tool that puts a library of health information at the user’s fingertips and performs other helpful tasks like guiding the ill to hospitals.

Another app, called M-Farm, lets farmers broadcast product prices and locations to the world via SMS. Other similar agri-apps can help diagnose and track the spread of crop diseases via crowdsourcing.

By empowering individuals and uplifting small businesses and farmers, low cost smartphones are sure to be one of the most integral tools to ever help ease humanity’s burdens.

It’s really happening! Our world is getting better by the instant, at a faster pace than ever before. Pretty soon the dark days of feckless infighting and battling over basics will be behind us.

We’ll soon enter a new era where we can focus our energy on more fruitful endeavors, like allowing the the human spirit to flourish throughout the universe.

Buffett: Tax the Super-rich

Monday, August 15th, 2011

(Awww yea, Omaha’s Oracle makin’ it rain all up in heyah!)

The world’s 3rd richest man put out an op-ed piece in the New York Times saying it is time to stop coddling the super-rich.

It’s not the first time Warren Buffett has played the paragon for other uber-wealthy to follow – last year he urged other billionaires to follow him in pledging most of their fortunes to humanitarian causes.

Buffett starts off his diatribe by highlighting the hypocrisy of the struggling US economy:

OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

[Preferential tax breaks] and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Buffett goes on to note how, despite the what the republican noise chamber may echo, higher taxes don’t necessarily scare away investment:

I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain.

People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

To finish off his thesis, the billionaire Buffett laid out his plan:

[F]or those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

Wow! How stunningly refreshing. If more people ended up like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett after amassing such huge fortunes, our world would likely be a more peaceful, prosperous and just place to live.

The Power of Portable Tech

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Smart phones and other handheld devices have already dramatically reshaped the world around us, and the best is yet to come!

With a phone, you can access the fountain of knowledge on the Internet, join up with millions of like-minded individuals, and hold authorities accountable for their actions.

Within a decade or two, most of the world will have access to some kind of smart phone, taking humanity to a whole new level of empowerment.

The future is going to be AWESOME!