"Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

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1taskaday
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"Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by 1taskaday »

Just heard Linda Tirado author of "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts" 2013 essay interviewed to-day and found it strangely compelling and moving.

I don't know whether it was as a female viewpoint or just the honesty of it that moved me the most.

Just learned a lot from it about why they often end up with the disastrous long-term results of such "poor" short-term decisions, (especially the women that end up with lots of kids by different fathers and no support).

Kind of made me feel guilty for the way I may have "judged “ them in the past...how dumb was I...

GandK
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by GandK »

Jeff, I don't think it's BS. I think it's AS.

I think this is probably a woman on the autism spectrum. Both her writing and her choices are screaming it. This is a woman with high intelligence but extremely poor executive function. IOW, she's great at gathering information but but she literally lacks the skill/ability to follow through on much of anything, to include things like personal grooming. And people are standing around debating her advantages and her education now without looking at her subsequent actions.

If I'm right, then she's probably correct that she can't climb out of poverty, at least not without help. But she's completely mistaken about the cause. Her situation is about her, not about the system.

Dragline
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by Dragline »

More broadly, the low empathy spectrum, which includes harmless autistics to devilish psychopaths. I would have guessed a borderline personality with all the personal drama/chaos, appeals for pity and casual dishonesty. When intelligent and articulate, they can be quite seductive.

Definitely someone to avoid. Feel sorry for her husband/family -- these people bring chaos into their personal relationships wherever they go. They have a compulsive need to create conflict and drama.

And not a good representative of most poor people (or most any people, for that matter).

7Wannabe5
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

For compare/contrast purposes, I recommend "The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All" by Alexandra Penney.

Dragline
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by Dragline »

Great analogy. I have not read that book myself, but I appreciated these reviews: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0036F6WYE?btkr=1

The mis-placed drama and self-pity is manifest. Ironic that the perpetrator in that book was another zero empathy character.

7Wannabe5
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Dragline said: The mis-placed drama and self-pity is manifest. Ironic that the perpetrator in that book was another zero empathy character.
Right. Like many of Madoff's "victims", the author was partly sucked in by the ego gratification of being part of the in-crowd. The sad, scary detail of her story is that investing with Madoff was recommended to her by her therapist with whom she clearly had tranference relationship (So, he was almost in the equivalent role of the baby-Daddies in the above essay. Weak feminine chink in her otherwise well-defended coat of armor.) However, my take-away was that, beyond her social connections, she was able to save herself because she had established many good work and some good thrift habits.

Riggerjack
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by Riggerjack »

That was a fun read. Except for the working parts, it could've been written by my mom, or any of the drugged up burnouts I grew up with. It isn't poor executive decision making. It is fully rational.

When your planning horizon is at best a few days out, best long term outcomes are not even influencing factors. Do what feels good now, because you can. Whatever money you have is less than you need, so you might as well have some fun. This comes from a world view where the man is keeping you down, and there is no hope of improvement. More money doesn't help. It doesn't hurt, but it doesn't help. It just gets turned into more toys/drugs/entertainment.

As to the author, yeah, that's fraud. Deception for profit is the definition of fraud. I hope she gets prosecuted. But as she was a liberal political hack, I can see how the line was blurry for her.

GandK
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by GandK »

Riggerjack wrote:But as she was a liberal political hack, I can see how the line was blurry for her.
:lol:

Devil's Advocate
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by Devil's Advocate »

Here’s what I found curious. Apparently there were some who, despite having donated themselves, despite having sent their own personal money to this girl, nevertheless staunchly support both their donation decision and the writer of the blog. In the Comments section. It would seem these people are really big-hearted, if you take this at face value. They’re saying, this girl said what she said, and we gave her money, and we don’t regret it, so what’s everyone else’s problem? And they do have a point when they say that. Seen in that light, those who criticize do come across as petty, given that the donors themselves don’t seem to mind.

On the other hand : perhaps they (the donors who’ve posted their comments there) just don’t like admitting to themselves that they’ve thrown good money away, and so find themselves defending the girl (and hence their own decision)?

Third possibility : I suppose it’s the easiest thing in the world for the writer of a blog to assume a fictitious identity (or perhaps a whole string of fictitious identities) and then go admiring their own articles and decisions in the Comments section. What better way for a blog to portray an appearance of popularity—and perhaps attract more kudos, thanks to herd mentality?

Perhaps that is what is happening here? After all, if you can deceive in one way, no reason why you won’t in other ways as well.

EMJ
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by EMJ »

@Devil's Advocate:
1. Why do you call "a married mother of two" a girl?
2. Would you be fine with being called a boy?

Dragline
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by Dragline »

Devil's Advocate wrote:Here’s what I found curious. Apparently there were some who, despite having donated themselves, despite having sent their own personal money to this girl, nevertheless staunchly support both their donation decision and the writer of the blog. In the Comments section. It would seem these people are really big-hearted, if you take this at face value. They’re saying, this girl said what she said, and we gave her money, and we don’t regret it, so what’s everyone else’s problem? And they do have a point when they say that. Seen in that light, those who criticize do come across as petty, given that the donors themselves don’t seem to mind.

On the other hand : perhaps they (the donors who’ve posted their comments there) just don’t like admitting to themselves that they’ve thrown good money away, and so find themselves defending the girl (and hence their own decision)?
The latter is the usual human approach -- decisions are made based on visceral impressions and justifying them comes after-the-fact.

GandK
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by GandK »

Dragline wrote:The latter is the usual human approach -- decisions are made based on visceral impressions and justifying them comes after-the-fact.
That's very true.
EMJ wrote: @Devil's Advocate:
1. Why do you call "a married mother of two" a girl?
2. Would you be fine with being called a boy?
First, I'm certain he wasn't trying to be insulting. DA loves to post in all the most controversial threads on this forum and he generally takes great care with his posts. I don't ever recall him being deliberately inflammatory.

Second, although I don't remember him ever saying this explicitly, his turn of phrase suggests a British, not an American, English education. And in Britain, saying "girl" when referring to any female (or "boy" for a male) is perfectly acceptable. It's not an insult.

Perhaps the benefit of the doubt is in order? :)

1taskaday
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by 1taskaday »

Who would have known?-certainly not me from listening to her being interviewed on radio by very credible interviewers in Europe.

I just heard an interview and thought, wow, that makes so much sense and explains so many things that I could never understand about short-term planning and never getting ahead.

Maybe that's why I rely on the ERE forums so much-there's always somebody somewhere that always knows a lot more than I do about everything....

jacob
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by jacob »

@ffj - The problem as I've come to see it is a case of Liebig's law of the minimum and wrong projections.

Assumptions:
1) All humans need to know how to floss, cook broccoli, ... make money to spend on stuff IN ORDER to live good lives.
2) For the middle class, money to spend is the limiting factor. (This is why the middle class "struggles" whenever they paycheck is reduced.)
3) For the poverty class, having the mental energy to plan and execute, etc. whatever is the limiting factor.

In helping the poverty class, the middle class mistakenly believes that's what's holding the poverty class back is the same as what's holding the middle class back, namely lack of money. Hence donations. However, this is not the case. This is also why more money won't help anyone but those bordering on middle class already.

PS: From an ERE perspective, what's holding the middle class back is a lack of alternative capital like knowledge and ability [to do more than one's specialization]. Removing those limitations is what allows ERE to spend less. People with more limitations on their capabilities need to spend more because they're compensating with services from the economy instead of from their own "capital".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebig%27s ... he_minimum

7Wannabe5
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Jacob said: a lack of alternative capital like knowledge and ability
I suppose when you are talking about adults this might apply only to the middle class but when you are talking about children it applies to everyone. I challenge anybody who doesn't think they can be part of the solution to spend one day tutoring children in a poverty zone. Donate 20 minutes of your time and you can be the one who teaches a child how to perform subtraction on numbers with more than one digit and then she will have that skill for the rest of her life. The limiting factor in skill acquisition in the poverty zone where I am currently teaching is definitely number of adult instructors rather than learning ability of the children.

jacob
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by jacob »

@7w5 - I was talking about adults only. What you're saying about children is also why the countries that make "everything equal" for the children as young as possible tend to have the highest rates of social mobility.

7Wannabe5
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Jacob said: What you're saying about children is also why the countries that make "everything equal" for the children as young as possible tend to have the highest rates of social mobility.
Right. The problem in my neighborhood is that the vast majority of the children have functionally illiterate or non-English-speaking parents. So, there is no opportunity for instruction or review outside of the classroom. This even applies to subjects such as mathematics because the modern method of teaching and standard of skill-acquisition requires the child to write a verbal response to a question such as "What strategy did you use to solve this problem?" after doing a set of calculations. Therefore, the only way these kids are going to have a fair chance to catch up with their peers is if they have significant one-on-one time with adults other than their parents. Every classroom I have been in has had several children with no English whatsoever and several children with severe behavioral problems. I think the school district is really doing a heroic job in attempting to educate under these circumstances and all the children do at least receive free breakfasts and lunches and there are adequate instructional materials.

Devil's Advocate
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Re: "Why I Make Terrible Decisions,or,poverty thoughts"

Post by Devil's Advocate »

GandK wrote:
EMJ wrote: @Devil's Advocate:
1. Why do you call "a married mother of two" a girl?
2. Would you be fine with being called a boy?
First, I'm certain he wasn't trying to be insulting. DA loves to post in all the most controversial threads on this forum and he generally takes great care with his posts. I don't ever recall him being deliberately inflammatory.
Why thanks G&K. Very kind of you. And very perceptive! (*Grin*)


EMJ :

I used “girl” there in the guys-and-girls sense. No put-down intended.

But communication is two-way. A meaning or sense that is clear to me but has not been made clear to the reader speaks of a lack in my own communication. I re-read my post, and I can see how, seen in a certain light, it might come across as jarring.

It’s true (if I may go off on a very brief diversion from the topic in the thread) : our language does have lots of misogynistic terms, a heritage of our decidedly misogynistic history. We do need to be sensitive to this.

My own take on politically correct language is decidedly mixed. On the one hand, given that our world is still far from free from all forms of misogyny, systemic and otherwise, it may make sense to even go overboard at times in trying to be politically correct in this regard. On the other hand, this attempt to control our language often seems contrived and superficial to me. So, for example, sometimes I write “he/she” (or, more usually, “they”), while sometimes I don’t bother and simply go with “he”.

I do understand where you’re coming from. I can’t say I consider that usage itself objectionable, at least not universally so, but … well, I do regret having (inadvertently) conveyed that sense of misogyny to you.


I also sense from your post that you are, perhaps, in sympathy with that lady. You know what, I’m wholly undecided how to see something like this. I hadn’t, in my post above, introduced my point#(a) as an innocuous way to then introduce the criticism in my two subsequent points. They were actually three distinct ways of looking at the situation, and I am undecided which is my primary view.

It could, like I said, be that the donors are not ready to come to terms with having been made fools of. It could also be, just perhaps, that this is an instance of a blogger herself commenting using fictitious names to write comments supporting her (or perhaps getting personal friends to do it for her).

But my point#(a) is again something I feel is sort of, well, fundamental. It’s very petty (and rather a-hat-ish) to go criticize someone else’s charity or donations. (We may or may not indulge in such charity ourselves, but to point fingers at someone else doing it is, to put in mildly, in bad taste.) It could be that someone with a Bills-Gates-ish net worth goes and donates to someone they think is in need, but who probably has more than we ourselves do, and who may have made easy decisions that we ourselves took pains to avoid. That will naturally turn us off : but does that really give us the right to criticize that rich person’s charity?

So, if I were to write that comment again, chastised by your observation, I’d probably say the same things again, the same three points, but replacing (at least for this time, although not necessarily always), “girl” with “lady” (as I have in this post).

As for describing me as a boy, I don't really see that happening : but I’m starting to approach an age (just starting to, mind you : not quite there yet!) when I'll be surprised but probably gratified if someone did refer to me as “young man” or even “young fellow”. I know, that betrays vanity, but still. (*Smile*)

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