Much of the political rhetoric surrounding poverty focuses on blaming the poor for their situation, and chides them for their lack of self-control. It often argues that if people living in poverty had better self-control, they could plan for the future and improve their lives. A recent article published by New Republic sheds some light on these preconceived notions and compiles research to push back against those stereotypes.
The article shows that people living in poverty often don’t have access to the resources necessary to address issues beyond their most immediate needs. It also argues that the “permanent now” that poverty traps people in prevents long-term planning more than poor self-control does. In summary:
“The science suggests that poverty has powerful harmful effects on people, and helps explain why it’s so hard to escape. Their choices are much more a product of their situation, rather than a lack of self-control.”
You can read the whole article here, and you can learn more about the sort of difficult decisions that people living in poverty face at a new training presented by our Young Professionals Board for this year’s Pro Bono Week. “Tight Budgets & Tough Choices: Poverty, Decisions, and Why Legal Aid Matters” will be led by Allicia L. Aiken and sponsored by Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP. The training will demonstrate the tough choices the poorest people in our community face in their daily lives, and highlight how legal aid can prevent or even remove the obstacles that keep people stuck in poverty. The training is free, but requires advance registration, and will take place at by Barack Ferrazzano, on the 39th floor of 200 W. Madison St., from 5:30-7:30pm on Wednesday October 28th. Register for that training here.