The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Principle 1 of Urban Development

I will be writing a series of relatively short articles on urban development based upon my long career in the field. Principle 1-Don’t Romanticize Poor People

This is an issue I see all the time from white liberals. They think being poor is noble and that poor people are never at fault and always victimized. I go back to what the great writer David Brooks wrote on the subject. He wrote that conservatives believe that poverty and social ills are always caused by the individuals involved. Progressives believe that these problems are the results of racism and societal disorder. The reality is somewhere in the middle, there is tremendous systemic REAC is I’m and oppression, but at the same time most people have overcome this, and given individuals make personal decisions that make their personal lives much worse. The major difference for poor people is they have little or no margin for error.

Urban development programs whether housing or other must build in incentives for people who exercise individual responsibility get rewarded. Maybe a fund for students to attend college or trade school, or other funds that enhance salaries so working people can earn a decent income. Just remember, romanticizing someone is a sure form of stereotype and prejudice. Written by Paul Dribin


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