Three hundred and twenty

Why defining a strict poverty line might not be a good thing

Although defining a poverty line is good so that statistics can be defined, studies and therefore aid can be arranged, it is dependent on who determines the poverty line and if they have an underlining political motive.  If a government only gives aid to those people under the poverty line, then it’s in their best interests economically to have the line as low as possible.  If the poverty line is a very low number, there will be less people under the line and therefore less people who qualify for aid.

And who’s to say that the person just over that line isn’t in as dire need as the person just under that line?  Maybe the person just under doesn’t have to pay for rent because they own their house and they walk to work so have no transportation costs.  And maybe the person just over the line has to pay to commute to work, has a high rent because they live in a city and has a medical condition that drains a lot of their money.  The person under the line would need less assistance than the person just over the line, but if it was defined in strict terms, that person above the line (even though they need it) wouldn’t qualify for help.

By defining the poverty line as a specific number (ie. income, or based on basic needs defined monetarily), without taking into account social factors and living conditions, many people who are in need could be left out.  Also, having a low poverty line makes it look as though less people are in need, and can advance certain political motives.

Although, what would we do without a measure of poverty?  In order to fix something, you need to define what the problem is/what it is you’re fixing.  It’s easier to define it in concrete terms, than abstract ideas (as I’m having a problem with while trying to redefine what I’m doing this month).  I suppose the only thing we can do is realize that poverty is dependent on numerous factors and continue to develop methods to quantify this, like the UN’s  Multidimensional Poverty Index, in conjunction with the monetary values of the income-based poverty lines.

One hundred and forty-two

More online shopping statistics

Nielsen Global Consumer Report on Global Trends in Online Shopping, June 2010

  • From the survey polling 27,000 internet users worldwide, the top three planned online purchases are: books, clothing/accessories/shoes, and airline tickets/reservations
  • Only 16% of respondents have never shopped online.
  • Globally, one-third of consumers say they do their internet shopping at retailers that only have an online presence (no physical store, for example Amazon.com).
  • 57% consider online reviews before making a purchase
  • 95% of internet users from China and Korea intend to make a web purchase in the next six months
  • Comparatively, one-third of online Canadians don’t plan on making an online purchase in the next six month.
  • Almost half of connected consumers in the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan have never made an online purchase.
  • The tope ten global websites: #1 Google, #2 MSN/Windows Live/Bling, #3 Facebook, #4 Yahoo, #5 Microsoft, #6 YouTube, #7 Wikipedia, #8 AOL Media Network, #9 eBay, #10 Apple
Stay tuned in the next couple of days for some very interesting topics: buying alcohol online and virtual economies.

One hundred and thirty-three

The inconvenience of online shopping  

My back bike light broke.  The one that is red and flashing and keeps me visible to cars when it’s dark out.  The light that I legally must have and personally like to have as it makes me feel safe.  The light that is easily purchased at Mountain Equipment Co-op.  In any normal circumstance, I would go buy another one and would have it right away.  This month is a different story.  I bought two on eBay (I will talk more about eBay tomorrow) to see which one I get first – and it’s always good to have a back-up.  They were super cheap, too. But now I’m in a bind.  Do I stop riding my bike at night?  Do I ride without a light?  Or do I try to rig the light so it works (the light part still works, it just keeps falling apart and won’t attach to my bike anymore)?

2009 online shopping statistics from Statistics Canada:

  • Canadians used the Internet in 2009 to place orders for goods and services valued at $15.1 billion, up from $12.8 billion in 2007.
  • About 39% of Canadians aged 16 and over used the Internet to place more than 95 million orders.
  • About one-half (51%) of Canadians aged 16 to 34 purchased a product online in 2009. Men (42%) were more likely than women (37%) to have made an online purchase.
  • The top online shoppers (that is, the top 25%) spent an average of $4,210.
  • The most common types of online orders continued to be travel services; entertainment products such as concert tickets; books and magazines; and clothing, jewellery and accessories.
  • In 2009, 52% of Canadians went online to “window shop,” that is, to research or browse products, up from 43% in 2007.  Among all window shoppers in 2009, 69% reported subsequently making a purchase directly from a store, up from 64% in 2007.
  • More than one-half (55%) of users with five or more years of online experience made an online order in 2009 compared with 23% of those online for less than five years.

Day thirty-three

A couple of statistics about the arts:

  1. According to a survey of 18,000 Americans in 2008, “American adults who attend art museums, art galleries, or live arts performances are far more likely than non-attendees to vote, volunteer, or take part in community events.” (read here for the full report)
  2. “Canadian consumers spent over $27 billion on cultural goods and services in 2008. The $27.4 billion in consumer spending on culture in Canada represents $841 for every Canadian resident. Consumer spending on culture is three times larger than the $9.2 billion spent on culture by all levels of government in 2007/08.” (Hill Strategies report)
  3. According to the Canada Council for the Arts, the median earnings of an artist in Canada is $12,900 per year.
  4. And one final quote that I enjoyed: “Culture provides a means to be entertained, celebrate commonalities and differences, express individuality, feel a sense of attachment and experience artistic expression.” (page 36 from this Hill Strategies report on the social effects of culture)

My art project for the day:

Today was a very long day at work and the only thing I really wanted to do when I got home was sleep.  Begrudgingly I got out the oil pastels I bought at the dollar store (yes, the top-of-the-line pastels), found my sketch book and started to experiment (I’ve never used oil pastels before).  I looked up some tips online of how to use them.  I spent two hours drawing flowers, wine bottles and me.  I’m so glad I did.  I actually feel better having done it than if I’d had a nap.  And my hand-eye coordination is great right now!  See below for my self-portrait and one of my other drawings.

Self portrait!

Oil pastel flowers I copied off a piece of art online (the original artwork is much better)