About Someone Else Who Died November 22, 1963
Another major figure of the 20th Century also
died on November 22, 1963. His name is
C.S. Lewis. As yesterday's Christian
Science Monitor noted, Lewis's passing was far overshadowed by JFK's assassination
and few people paid attention. The
Gospel Coalition website explains that Lewis collapsed and died at his home in
Oxford early that evening, apparently just an hour or so before Kennedy was
The Episcopal Church does pay attention today, though, and since
2003 has remembered Lewis in its calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. The commentary there highlights the fact that
Lewis did not come by his religion easily, but went through a long period of
atheism from his adolescence in the 1910s until 1929. The profile also notes that his reconversion,
fulfilled in 1931, "inaugurated a wonderful outpouring of Christian
apologetics in media as varied as popular theology, children’s literature,
fantasy and science fiction, and correspondence on spiritual matters with
friends and strangers alike."
Here are a few quotes from Lewis, taken from a variety of
his writings and assorted websites:
"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun
has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
As we copied-and-pasted those words a little while ago, we
didn't know, but quickly learned, that they now appear on the plaque which just
yesterday was dedicated to Lewis in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey.
Some other of Lewis's words:
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form
of every virtue at the testing point."
"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the
end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft
soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair."
"Whatever men expect, they soon come to think they have
a right to: the sense of disappointment can, with very little skill on (the
devil's) part, be turned into a sense of injury."
"You cannot make men good by law: and without good men
you cannot have a good society."
“Each new power won by man is a power over man as well. Each
advance leaves him weaker as well as stronger.”
"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says
to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
"Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at
earth and you get neither."
"The trouble about trying to make yourself stupider
than you really are is that you very often succeed."
And here is the Collect for this Day in Lesser Feasts and
Fasts, 2006 (page 465):
O God of searing truth and surpassing beauty, we give you thanks for Clive
Staples Lewis, whose sanctified imagination lights fires of faith in young and
old alike. Surprise us also with your joy and draw us into that new and
abundant life which is ours in Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Finally, one other notable also passed away that day: Aldous
Huxley, aged 69, died of cancer in Los Angeles at 5:20PM PST, seven hours after
Kennedy's shooting and eight hours after Lewis's death in England.
Labels: Christianity, Episcopal Church, People, World
The Policy Mess in Washington Is Hurting the Economy
Maybe it goes without saying that
the wrangling and indecision among Federal government policymakers would have a
detrimental effect on economic activity.
But a new report by an economic consulting firm we've known well during
our Wall Street years actually puts this in some pretty clear context. There's a measurable impact on employment and
on the risk premium financial markets charge even fairly good quality corporate
borrowers. A separate study from one of
the Federal Reserve Banks highlights the impact on small business expansion
plans, the source of much economic growth in this country.
We're not talking about actual government
policy actions and their impact, but the recent severe and protracted disagreements
in government over what those policies should be. Specific policies, such as tax increases, can
slow the economy, as businesses and/or individual taxpayers set aside more of
their income to pay the government. But
at least they can plan ahead and run their companies or scope out their own
household purchasing and investments with the law in mind. However, if there is disagreement about what
the laws should be, then no one outside government can make any plan. Some people might spend away, trying to get
what they want before government takes their money. But they'd likely hold up any financial
investment decisions or long-range planning.
And businesses too would be hesitant to act. If their specific company is doing well and
they might want to open a new store or even a new plant, they don't want to get
in the middle of such a major project and then see their taxes hiked or their
regulations tightened or, if government spending cuts are being considered,
they don't want to see their contract or grant cancelled in midstream, right
after they've leased their new property or whatever. So, most often, they will hang back and wait to
do anything until they can see what laws are finally enacted. Thus, economic activity would slow below what
it otherwise might be while the policy debates play out.
The Economic Policy Uncertainty Index
This "hanging back"
effect is visible and measurable. Macroeconomic
Advisers, LLC, based in St. Louis, calls our attention to the Economic Policy
Uncertainty Index[1, 2]. This series was
compiled by economists at Stanford and the University of Chicago. It combines three items, a count of news
stories in papers around the country about policy disagreements, a schedule of
tax law changes (such as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts) and measures of the
differences among various professional economists' economic forecasts as they
try to take account of new policies.
Here's a picture of the policy
uncertainty index since 2000. You can
see that its long-term average is 100, but since 2009, it has averaged 150,
that is, 50% higher. You can also see spikes
when this got more extreme: one in September 2001, around 9/11, a second during
the financial crisis of 2008-09, a third in the summer of 2011 over the first
debt-ceiling fight, and the latest one.
The jump we show at the very end is an approximation of October's value
based on a separate daily index of news story counts on these issues, compiled
by the same Stanford and Chicago group.
The Macro Advisers firm has performed
statistical analysis estimating the numerical relationship of the Economic
Policy Uncertainty Index to financial market risk, GDP growth and the
unemployment rate. They find that the
high levels of this index in recent years have resulted in GDP growth since
2009 that is 0.3% lower each year, cutting average growth to 2.1% from the 2.4%
it would have been if policy decisions had been made more promptly. Hitting closer to home, this is associated
with an unemployment rate that has averaged 0.6% higher than it otherwise would
have been. So the unemployment rate that
lately has been 7.2%, would be closer to 6.6%, and there could be as many as
900,000 more jobs by now. Corporate
borrowers in bond markets have paid nearly 0.40% higher in interest costs due
to the policy uncertainty factor alone; this erodes some of benefit of the low
interest rates being fostered by the Federal Reserve's recent bond buying
Notably, the Macro Advisers
analysis stops in mid-2013, so the very latest episode of policy wrangling is
not yet factored in. We have seen some
estimates that GDP growth in the fourth quarter will be reduced by about 0.5%
from the 17-day government shutdown, not counting the extra uncertainty element
we describe here.
Small Business Gets Hurt Too
Another study of the effect of
policy uncertainty on business came in the summer and fall of 2011 during and
immediately after the upset then over the federal government's debt ceiling and
the credit downgrade by one of the financial rating companies. Publicity at the time about the ramifications
of the disagreements for business plans was based on anecdotes and scattered
commentaries by pundits, politicians and the occasional CEO. Some argued that the developing recovery in
employment and capital spending was being hamstrung, while others said citing the
policy brouhaha was just some sort of excuse. Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of
Cleveland thus did some work on the relationship of the Economic Policy
Uncertainty Index to small business hiring and expansion plans. Such data from small businesses are collected
monthly through a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, a
nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization of some 350,000 small businesses
The Cleveland Fed analysts
calculated statistical relationships between the EPU Index and the NFIB
measures of small business hiring plans and capital spending plans. These regression measures imply that during
the 2011 policy-making debacle, heightened policy uncertainty was associated
with a reduction of 6 percentage points in the share of businesses planning net
increases in the number of employees; so instead of the 4% or 5% actually
reported in the survey, the share could have been 10-11%, closer to the
long-term average of 14%. Recent
readings have been 9-10%, a substandard level surely related to the policy
uncertainty issue. The Cleveland study
calculated a similar 6% cut in the share of businesses planning some form of
construction or capital equipment purchases, holding that at around 22% in 2011
instead of the 28% that might otherwise apply.
The long-run average is 33%.
Recent figures have been about 25%, which is thus also subpar.
Another of the NFIB survey items
asks participants if "now is a good time to expand the
business". That question got yes
answers from an average of 18% of survey participants prior to the economy's
peak in December 2007; it fell, of course, after that, but has not recovered at
all, hovering in a range of 5 to no more than 10% since the middle of
2008. This measure has a decisive 70%
negative correlation with the EPU Index, suggesting that at least some of its
recent sluggishness is tied to the government's disarray.
How Can We Encourage Government To Be More Responsible?
We were going to write an article
for you on the government policy disputes anyway, and an economist friend
lately sent us a note giving us even more inspiration: "You need to write
an article on the hypocrisy and self-interest of politicians who are putting self-interest
ahead of the best interest of their country." As we began our work on these issues, we had
expected that our commentary would be mainly some kind of rant expressing that
view. What we learned in doing our
research the last few days is more substantive: there are in fact real,
identifiable costs to this in terms of fewer jobs and higher financing rates. Small business leaders seem especially
discouraged. These come over and above
the direct costs generated by any actual tax hikes, spending cuts, or most
currently, the 17-day shutdown.
We wish we knew something to do
about it all. We might say, "write
your Representatives and Senators and urge them to respect each other's views
and work together toward middle-ground solutions". So we did say it. Send your letters to your local newspapers;
post them on your Facebook pages; get the word out. More such text might be "stop the
blame-game; that doesn't help anyone".
Finally, "most concretely, can the Conference Committee, chaired by
conservative Paul Ryan and liberal Patty Murray, fulfill their mission to
devise a real budget for the fiscal year that's already a month old?! What do we pay you to do there in
Labels: Economy, Government Policies
Kansas City: A High School Reunion and an Extraordinary Charity
know we owe you some comments about the government shutdown mess, and we will
offer those in a few days. But more
immediately, good friend Chris and I are just back in Brooklyn from a visit to
Kansas City, my hometown, and we are anxious to share a couple of special
stories. We attended my high school
class 50th anniversary reunion (!), and we had occasion to get
acquainted with an extraordinary charity headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas.
Christian Foundation for Children and
in an unobtrusive warehouse building in an industrial district, the Christian
Foundation for Children and Aging – CFCA – serves 300,000 children and elderly
adults in 21 countries, mostly in Central and South America and also in Africa,
India and the Philippines. Maybe you
know this group or even serve among its 250,000 sponsors, but it was new to
us. The organization was founded by five
Roman Catholic lay people in the Kansas City area in 1981 and has grown to be
the largest non-profit in the state of Kansas and among the 200 largest
non-profits in the country, according to Chronicle
of Philanthropy tabulations of donor-raised funds. Along with my long-time Kansas City friend
Chari, an Episcopal deacon, we were shown around their offices by one of the
managers and we met staff and volunteers.
from the donor-sponsors is directed to individual children and elderly family
members; they receive nutrition assistance, clothing, health care and, for the
children, assistance in staying in school.
The whole family is involved.
Mothers often participate in support groups, which may well represent
their first interactions in a peer group and first efforts at teamwork. The mothers' programming can include
microloans for local business efforts, and CFCA also helps the men find jobs.
location in a simple warehouse headquarters keeps down its overhead, and other
expense controls and accountability measures mean their operating costs are
quite modest. The share of revenue thus
available to go directly to programming in 2012 was 93.6%, a very large amount
for any charity.
group currently conducts its fundraising mainly through outreach by priests and
lay people to individual parishes, where they recruit new sponsors. We know one of those priests personally in
Brooklyn, which is how we came to visit the Kansas City headquarters. The foundation is seeking to attract a
broader Christian coalition, both in outreach and in sponsorship, and is
wanting to expand its effort in this area.
Our own visit with their leadership and hearing the success stories of
some of the children made it easy to write to you about them.
direct you to www.cfcausa.org to learn
more about the group and about sponsoring a child or senior citizen. One of their current themes is about dreams,
and around their office walls are a collection of "Hello! My Name Is ______!" cards that say
instead "Hello! My Dream Is . . . .
to teach school . . . . to learn to dance . . . . to make clothes . . . . to
play the drums . . . . and so on".
A video available through the website shows a group of the children in a
band playing a concert, feeling fulfilled and happy at the respect they sense
through their achievement.
Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, 1 Elmwood Avenue, Kansas City, KS
66103. (800) 875-6564.
The Shawnee Mission North Class of
1963 Parties Again!
reunion event was a lovely experience, which, interestingly, also involved
young people. Our class had numbered
about 450 and some 95 of us gathered on October 12 for dinner at a hotel near
the school. We were genuinely happy to
see each other. I had not been in touch
and didn't know whether anyone would even remember me. But many called out my name right away. A reunion website contained profiles for
those coming, so we were at least somewhat prepared about whom to watch out
for. I also had not considered it
before, but a high school reunion is also an elementary school reunion, and
there were five or six of us who had started out in kindergarten together in
1950! Seeing those "kids"
again was especially sweet.
traveled to Kansas City from New York (me), California, Oregon, Utah, Florida
and Texas, among other locales. The
class president is a doctor at the medical school of the University of
Indiana. Another of us had counted up
from our profiles an estimate that about 15% of us have doctorate or
professional degrees. That particular
guy always loved baseball; he became a lawyer in Houston and started a firm
that manages major league baseball players' business affairs. We had a fine conversation with one of us who
is a social worker; our AFS exchange student from Sweden is a dentist – yes,
she came from Sweden for the event – and someone else is retired as an
accountant for TWA, the company my own father had worked for during all of my
childhood. The person seated next to me
at dinner is a retired nurse who sings in a San Francisco choral group that is
about to go on tour to Europe. There are
numerous stay-at-home moms with many kids and many spoiled grandchildren.
of the points the CFCA official made to us on our tour there was how important
it is to create opportunities for the kids to give back. At the reunion we had seen this too from kids
in a much more comfortable economic setting.
We were entertained during dinner by the Shawnee Mission North Strolling
Strings. When I saw the announcement that
they would provide the dinner music, I expected half-a-dozen or so violins
wandering among the tables. But there
were at least 50 teen-age musicians.
Four or five string basses were stationed around the perimeter of the
ballroom, while violins, violas and even cellos circulated throughout the room,
playing as they moved. Andrew Lloyd
Weber and similar selections filled the space with warm, flowing tones. The kids came right up to us, smiling broadly
as they serenaded each person. They did
a couple of 1950s swing tunes, and a few of the girls picked dance partners
from among us 68-year-olds. It means so
much when, seemingly, the only times you hear about kids these days are when
they do bad things, not lovely things like this.
in the evening, I ran into one of the professional photographers, also a young
woman, outside the dining room, and I asked her if she was having a good
time. "Oh, yes," she replied,
"I'm really enjoying you all enjoying each other!" Absolutely!
Labels: American Society, Christianity, People
Stewardship: God Needs Caretakers for the World
To best experience the context for the commentary here, watch this video
. The commentary – hopefully – is clear enough
on its own, but will gain extra meaning if your mood is set by watching the
After God created the world and all that is in it, God
needed help keeping it going and maintaining it. God needed someone with specific skills and
interests and talents, so God created people in God's own image. We are farmers helping crops grow and raising
animals, as in the video, while others of us live and work in many, many other
facets of life. All this helps God's
dream for creation come to fruition, become a reality.
Our part in this is stewardship. We are God's stewards. Stewardship is a holistic concept, a way of
life for us.
So "stewardship" is not just giving money to
churches and other charities. That's
only one manifestation of it.
All this was introduced to a group of lay people the other
night at a workshop at the Mercer School of Theology at the Diocese of Long
Island in Garden City, New York. The
presenter was the Rev. Laurel Johnston, Executive Director of TENS, The
Episcopal Network for Stewardship, a national organization. We offer a summary of her remarks here on
Ways of the World precisely because there are so many roles for stewards in the
world. We are currently watching – and some
of us are feeling the ramifications of – the lack of stewardship sentiment
among our federal government officials, so we see what happens when the sense
of stewardship slackens off. And surely
we want people in business to recognize that they are stewards too.
Participating in the stewardship way of life is nurturing
for us. We have been, like the farmer in
the video, called and marked by God, and we are living God's dream. In seeing our lives this way, we acknowledge
our identity as God's stewards.
What are some aspects of this identity? We find ourselves called to be parents,
managers, caretakers, teachers. All of
these facets involve trust. We are
Managers of Trust – or perhaps "Managers in Trust". God's trustees: a high calling, indeed.
The Genesis creation
story relates that God gave humans dominion over creation. But Mother Johnston points out that
"dominion" should not be seen as
domineering ruling like a tyrannical king; it is bringing about an
environment of peace and justice. This
fosters conditions of shalom, helping all creation reach its potential.
All of this is a gift to us.
All we have is God's gift to us.
We want to be generous with what God has given us. God's own generosity is seen in the gift of
At this time of year, the activity churches pursue is not a
"stewardship campaign", but an "Annual Giving
Campaign". The stewardship
campaign, seen in the broader sense presented here, goes on all year
round. At one or two specific seasons,
we are more precise in asking members of our community to help us plan by
telling us about their intended giving amounts.
We do need to be specific in talking about money and
giving. Mother Johnston told her own
story of making her career working at the international poverty organization
CARE. At first she felt she didn't need
to make money gifts to charities and her church because she was devoting her
career to this work. But she came to
understand that she has resources at her disposal which she needs to
share. Her walk with God and her walk
with her own wallet had become separated.
But they must be together.
She mentioned the Biblical statistics: Jesus talks on prayer
500 times; He talks on faith more than 500 times, but He talks about money
2,000 times. This is because the role of
money so frequently got misaligned in his followers' lives – and it surely does
in our lives too. Money gets in the
way. It becomes an idol and we begin to
violate the 1st Commandant about not having any other god before
God. So Jesus is not opposed to wealth,
Mother Johnston stated explicitly, but He wants us to keep our money and our
faith in the proper perspective. As she
said, we have passion, purpose and purse, and we want to keep all three of
those in the right relationship.
Giving is an act of worship, a statement of faith. We acknowledge that God is the source of
everything and we place our ultimate trust in God, knowing that in God we have
ultimate security. One of the Episcopal
Eucharistic Prayers describes the offering as a "sacrifice of praise and
thanksgiving", and we don't want to offer God "cheap praise". We give to fund God's dream in our
communities, and when our offerings are brought forward, they are blessed, even
as we are.
For more specifics about an Annual Giving Campaign, visit
the TENS website, www.tens.org/resources
Mother Crafton has authored one of the
bulletin inserts in this year's theme program "Flourishing in Faith",
The video is a
commercial by Dodge Ram trucks for the 2013 Super Bowl. We are hardly meaning to advocate for Dodge
Ram trucks, but we do applaud the creators of the ad. The overlay speech was given by broadcaster
Paul Harvey at the 1978 convention of the Future Farmers of America.
Labels: Christianity, Episcopal Church, People
What Part of the Federal Government Is Closed? A Quick List
As you are probably aware, a significant part of the federal
government closed as of yesterday because the two Houses of Congress and the
President cannot agree on a budget spending plan for fiscal year 2014, which
began yesterday. So legal authority for
much government spending has lapsed.
In addition, the debt of the federal government is nearing
the legal "debt ceiling" and no further borrowing beyond that ceiling
is legally authorized. This ceiling could be reached by October 17, just about
two weeks from today.
We plan a full article within the next week lamenting these situations. In the meantime, you will soon receive
another, totally unrelated piece from us on church stewardship, surely a worthy
topic in its own right. But in view of
the timeliness of the government shutdown, we want to give you some information
As you would also surely know, the federal government is a complex
organization with a multitude of agencies and subdivisions and
departments. A quick Google on
"what government programs will be shut down" produced this helpful
table compiled by CNN: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2013/09/politics/government-shutdown-impact/
. It lists program categories by their
open/closed status, the agencies involved and the number of employees
furloughed or kept on the job. You can
sort the list by any of these aspects.
Notes are included with a brief description of the reasons for the
individual program's being open or closed or partially so.
In addition, we urge you to contact your Representatives and
Senators, whatever you political persuasion or theirs, and tell them you want
honest and sincere negotiations to take place.
Meetings so far have only been used to insist that nothing can be
negotiated. Some aspects of ObamaCare,
the center of this turmoil, could in fact be modified, such as the exemption of
government employees themselves or the elimination of the medical device tax,
without altering the main thrust of that huge law. So,
whatever your views, there seems room for discussion. Responsible governing would seem to call for
at least that.
More to come on these issues.
Labels: American Society, Government Policies, Health Care and Pensions
Internet Links about Driving and Banned Books
There's hardly any shortage of economics issues to talk
about at present, but right at the moment we find ourselves drawn to two
important cultural concerns we want to call to your attention.
Is "driving" a cultural concern? Well, it can be certainly be seen as a
reflection of the culture of our time.
We saw an article in the October issue of Consumer Reports
"A Crash Course on Car Safety". We thought first to pass it along
to Debbie Loeb of the Hodgepodge
page here on the Farm, and she ran a feature about it on Tuesday. But the more we thought about that important
topic, which affects the vast majority of the U.S. population, we decided we
should also share it with readers of Ways of the World
. Some of you are the same group who read
, but there are also many others. The article cautions us about drinking and
driving, about the simple act of buckling up, how to try to stay away from
"road-rage" drivers, and so on.
See it here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/10/crash-course-on-car-safety/index.htm
We ourselves have already written to some of the cultural
aspects of driving in a Ways of the World
article from August 2008 on the book Traffic
by Tom Vanderbilt. We cite Vanderbilt's descriptions of driving
as self-expression out on the highway.
Five years later, we have to say that all of that still applies: some people
use their driving to "show off" the kind of persons they are. It indeed makes for tricky traffic. Check out our piece here: http://ways-of-the-world.blogspot.com/2008_08_01_archive.html
. It also includes some of the earliest
statements about the dangers of texting-and-driving. Then the Consumer Reports
article mentions an app that can be downloaded which informs callers and incoming texters that the intended recipient is driving and cannot read their message this instant. So there is progress, and hopefully articles such as this can help people be aware and take advantage.
Next week, September 22-28, is National Banned Books
Week. Maybe I am the last among us to
learn about this occasion, which is sponsored by the American Library
Association and endorsed by the Library of Congress. The information came to me from the weekly
newsletter of a local bookstore in Brooklyn, BookCourt. The feature they highlight is "Banned
Books That Shaped America", classics we all know about that, in some times
and places, well-meaning school boards and others have tried to keep off
library shelves and out of other modes of circulation. The list begins with The Adventures of
, continues through Gone with the Wind
and Bury My Heart at
, among numerous others. Here's the whole list: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/censorship/bannedbooksthatshapedamerica
. The comment with each book tells about the
bans that were imposed and sketches the reasoning behind them.
Next week, in some local communities around the country, there will be "read-outs" of banned books and other special events; these will
take place at bookstores, theaters, cafes and libraries. Browse the Banned Books website
"Events" heading, where many of these are catalogued by state.
In society today, we try in many ways to protect our young
people, and it's really hard to strike a workable medium. Many
such policies have unintended consequences, as well. We can, for instance, guess that the
attention brought to Catcher in the Rye through its various bouts of banning has
meant that many more kids have actually read it after all. And in this era, none of this touches the
Kindle and iPad readers who swap with each other regardless.
Labels: American Society
On August 28: Some Progress Toward the "Dream"
since the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Some of that day's "Dream" has come
true. See the President of the United
States for evidence. The Attorney
General. Two Secretaries of State, one
of them a woman and both named by a Republican President. Supreme Court Justices. Leaders in business too: Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express;
Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co.; and of course, Oprah, among numerous
others. Bishops of the Episcopal Church
and many other church leaders. We have
to believe the Rev. Dr. King would be pleased.
For the vast
majority of African Americans, the results so far present a "glass
half-full/half-empty" image. First,
some of the "half-empty" part – note in citing these that we use the
term "black" because that's the way the government sources generally describe
it – black unemployment in July was 12.6% versus 7.4% overall. Median income of black households in 2011
(latest available) was $32,229 compared to $50,054 overall, with white
households at $52,214 and Asians at $64,995.
The poverty rate that year was 27.6% for the black population compared
to 15% overall and 12.8% for whites. 38.8%
of black children and youth under age 18 live in poverty. Just 42.1% of black households owned their own
homes in the second quarter of this year, rather than renting, while white
homeownership was 73.3%.
stopped here, we could be pretty discouraged.
We don't know how to begin to conjure how long it should take for us all
to achieve some kind of parity. The U.S.
Census Bureau, in commemoration of this occasion, last week published a summary
of the above concepts along with some others that can give us a lift – thus portraying
the glass as half-full. In 2011, there were
10,500 African-Americans in elected office compared to a mere 1,469 in
1970. Despite all we hear about high
school dropouts, in 2012, 85% of blacks over age 25 had completed four years of
high school, totaling 20.3 million people, a massive improvement from just
25.7% or 2.4 million in 1964. There were 2.6 million black college
undergraduates in 2012, more than ten times the 234,000 in 1964; the proportion
of the black population who are college graduates was 21.2% in 2012 compared
with 3.9% in 1964.
exploration of data from the Labor Department and Census Bureau about occupations shows that in 2012, 6.9% of business managers were African American,
while just 1.9% were of that race in 1970.
The comparison is actually more powerful than these percentages
indicate: the number of African Americans in management positions appears to
have multiplied by some 22 times. Of
another, totally different occupation, scientists, there were a mere 6,500
African Americans in 1970, while in 2012, there were about 75,000, more than eleven
times as many.
So we see
tremendous progress time-wise, with many more African Americans doing much
better things with their lives now than they were in 1963. Yes, we also know that probably too many of
them are in jail and hampered by drug abuse and other social issues. But at
least we know that many have come a long way.
Today, we give that upward movement some notice and see room for encouragement.
readers may be indifferent, but professional economists may care we examined
Census data from 1970 and compared them with Bureau of Labor Statistics data
for 2012. The Census data are an
absolute count, while the BLS information is a sample survey. Occupational categories have also been
reorganized, so the numbers are not completely comparable. Thus, our qualitative description of some of the
time comparisons instead of precise figures.
started to look at FBI and Department of Justice crime and incarceration
data. We found that far too involved a
pursuit for our sketch here. It's
clearly a topic for more exploration, since the situation must be understood
more and improved upon.
Labels: American Society, Economy, People