This forum's questions and comments:
Do zoning ordinances limit inner city prosperity? Where will political support for increased federal spending for the poor come from? How much money spend on the "War on Poverty" was wasted? Why is inner city education so poor? How would inner city work programs be implemented? Will this summer's welfare reforms help or hurt the inner city? Is a "race war" on the horizon? How can inner cities be reconnected to the rest of Amercian society? Viewer comments Additional Viewer Comments:
Dennis Rahkonen of Superior, WI :
With a wider gap between rich and poor than exists anywhere else in the industrialized world, the United States is beset by a contradiction which threatens to totally undermine our order.
Unless we replace the selfish, "I'm-looking-out-for-old-number- one" mentality that drives our capitalist economy and related "competitive" assumptions -- with enlightened con- cern for public welfare and the common good -- we will de- generate into a nation with a stark have/have-not dichotomy certain to inspire class struggle, and warfare, in the traditional Marxist sense.
Wall Street's narrow belief that America's economic health can be measured strictly by how well Fortune 500 firms per- form on the Big Board is foolish, and potentially disastrous.
It is whether desperation on the "wrong side of the tracks" and in the ghetto assumes a revolutionary focus that will deter- mine, ultimately, if free enterprise itself will have a place in the mid-to-latter part of the next century.
History shows that the unbridled greed of plutocrats re- peatedly brought once-great societies down from within.
Belief in some sort of American exceptionalism that will render us immune from humankind's past cause-and-effect consequences is folly.
Either we'll muster the wisdom to foster fairness, equality and unequivocal economic justice for all...or we'll go down the tube. In grand, collapse-of-Rome style.
Karl Sanders, Jr. of Sherman, TX:
It seems to me the best way to combat urban economic stagnation is to focus on building the existing neighborhood micro-economies into self-sustaining entities.
If cities create programs with this in mind, the people of these neighborhoods could create wealth through the value of their own work, providing food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and security for each other. Instead of government support simply passing through the hands of the people in these neighborhoods and into the coffers of large corporations, it would be used to expand the economies of the neighborhoods themselves. And, with wage earners in these neighborhoods again supporting local enterprises, a cycle of prosperity could replace the cycle of poverty.
Micheal Mancini of Rochester, NY:
Dear Dr. Wilson,
I respect all that you are saying, and your purpose, but don't you think we should provide better education for bigger and better jobs, rather than creating more national social programs? What do you think about the idea of help from the inner-community rather than it coming from the top levels of government? I do not think you ideas of creating more national social programs is a good solution to the unemployment problem.
You are correct about the false steryotypes, but I think the answer is found in better education, not more institutions.
Keith Arends of East Brunswick, NJ:
I believe it is a given that education is the key to lifting oneself out of poverty and building a sustainable and enjoyable life. This does not guarantee ones happiness but it does offer the best chance for ultimate success. The difficulty is defining how each individual should be educated.
I think teachers should start considering what motivates each child individually and how to you build on that interest and, round it with needed core knowledge. It is blatanly obvious that more teachers are needed and they need to focus more on the motivation and less on course specifics until it is the child is found to be self motivating or possess some self motivational skills.
Finally, I think the education system needs to be completely overhauled and privatized with government regulations as opposed to public funding. I think teachers are doing a good job but would be far better served with private sector business understanding. In addition, there needs to be much more public, age interaction rather than the simplistic sports and entertainment events that now cross generations. Daily business hour interaction between adults, other than teachers and kids. This really needs to happen in order to properly educate and have examples and responsibilities taught, maintained and followed. Thanks for working hard and being involved.