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Articles on a bouquet of topics

One of the day-job hats I've been wearing recently--one that's kept me busy--has been guest editor of a magazine on community development, mainly in New England. The first issue with me as guest editor is out! The cover story is "Growing Inequality in Life Expectancy and Benefits for the Elderly"--basically, protections that are in place to help people in their old age end up benefiting the wealthy more than the poor, because the wealthy live longer. Even taking into account their greater inputs into the system, the wealthy benefit more. This is important to know because it affects how we try to shore up the system: if you decide to raise the age at which people receive benefits, for instance, you're going to be penalizing poorer elderly folks, because they have lower life expectancy.

More cheering is "Welcoming Immigrants and Refugees to Rhode Island," which showcases the work of an organization with a 95-year history of work in the field. I like the current focus on the power of story to change people's perceptions of newcomers. The author writes:

Facts rarely change how people think and feel ... We have found that presenting facts to people who do not already agree with us does not change what they think. People have to be ready to hear our information and be primed to believe it in order to actually process it. We use personal stories to prepare a more fertile foundation for our information. Through stories, we get people to process, remember, and share our information.

There are also two articles on rural development, one focusing on new economic forces in what's known as the Northern Forest, and one on restoration ecology (restoring sites after, for example, mining), which tends to take place in rural areas. There is also an article on using mobile technology to prompt people to save for college, an article on high school internships, one on revitalizing small and medium-sized cities, and more. Here's a link to a PDF of the issue (table of contents on page 3), and here's a web link. Maybe they'll be of use to you or someone you know for work, school, advocacy, or just interest.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 3rd, 2016 05:27 pm (UTC)
my dratted outdated browser won't let me open pdf files, but i love the intent behind this mag! And I say amen to the part you quoted about the power of stories.
Jun. 3rd, 2016 05:55 pm (UTC)
I linked to the PDFs because they're prettier, but at the end of the post is a web link that's just HTML that will work for you, and from there you can access any of the articles just as HTML. I'm not expecting you (or anyone!) to go read them, but if you *wanted* to but were unable to because of the PDF problem, that's a way to do it.

And yeah, I love that quote.
Jun. 3rd, 2016 05:52 pm (UTC)

Bookmarking . . .

Also wealthy people can buy comfort.
Jun. 3rd, 2016 05:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

Yes, wealth creates a self-reinforcing cycle that carries the wealthy up, and unfortunately poverty does the same thing in the other direction.
Jun. 3rd, 2016 08:28 pm (UTC)
Good topics, beautifully edited. As we knew they would be.
Jun. 3rd, 2016 08:30 pm (UTC)
i can't take credit for the topics! The articles were solicited by the superb former editor (and upcoming issues have articles solicited by other staff there)--but I like to think I helped polish them :-)
Jun. 4th, 2016 05:41 am (UTC)
*takes notes* Thank you for these.
Jun. 5th, 2016 10:52 pm (UTC)
It's my very great pleasure!
Jun. 4th, 2016 06:09 am (UTC)
I think the quote about facts not changing people's feelings is very apt. People have an amazing capacity to overcome cognitive dissonance and is really is true that giving them a story first helps.
Jun. 5th, 2016 11:23 am (UTC)
But everything that's not unmoving as purely statistical is dismissible as purely anecdotal.
Jun. 5th, 2016 10:55 pm (UTC)
Alas, true. This is a paradox: it's the stories that move us, but the data that show actual trends, etc. (Of course, as we wade in, everything becomes tricky, because of course statistics are manipulable and studies are not always carefully constructed, et cetera)
Jun. 5th, 2016 10:53 pm (UTC)
Absolutely; people can relate to a story.
Jun. 5th, 2016 12:05 am (UTC)
It sounds a great issue! Well edited, editor! :)
and covering some important issues, too (in another sense of issue) - the one about the unequal impact of tightening benefits for the elderly, for example - yes. :( and yes, too, to the enormous importance of story.
Jun. 5th, 2016 10:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you ♥
Jun. 5th, 2016 11:22 am (UTC)
Cool gig!
Jun. 5th, 2016 10:56 pm (UTC)
I enjoy it a lot!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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