Money as a social construction

 

via Sociological Images – Money as a social construction.

We all know that, on some basic level, money is purely symbolic.  It only works because everyone collectively agrees to participate in the fantasy that a dollar bill is worth a dollar, whatever that is.  Moreover, most of our money these days is purely electronic, represented by ones and zeros and real only in the most abstract sense possible.

Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post offered another way of thinking about money as a social construction: how much it costs to make it.  None of our coins are actually worth what they cost, and pennies and nickels are worth quite a bit less.

The excess cost of producing pennies and nickels means a budget deficit for the Treasury. In 2013, producing the coins cost the government $105 million dollars above and beyond the coins’ value.

Interestingly, moves to eliminate pennies have been successfully opposed by the zinc industry for years, illustrating another sociological phenomenon: the power of corporations to shape government decisions.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

For more relevant discussion about the worth of our money, watch the documentary The End of the Road. (available streaming online or at the local library, if your library rocks like mine does).

 

Tipping perpetuates racism, classism, and poverty — let’s get rid of it! – Vox

The way we tip reflects our prejudices, argues Freakonomics’ Stephen Dubner. Here’s what he told Brian Lehrer: “The data show very clearly that African Americans receive less in tips than whites, and so there is a legal argument to be made that as a protected class, African American servers are getting less for doing the same work. And therefore, the institution of tipping is inherently unfair.”

But not only are black servers making less money than white servers — black diners are perceived to be leaving less money than white diners. Data collected in 2009 from over 1,000 servers all across the US “found that over sixty-five percent [of servers] rated African Americans as below average tippers.” As a result, restaurant workers of all colors dislike waiting on black customers, studies found. The economy of tipping is so racially charged that both servers and diners are affected by prejudice.

Racism isn’t the only kind of discrimination baked into the American tipping system. Female servers, too, face routine discrimination. As Lynn told Dubner: blonde, slender, larger-breasted women in their 30s earn some of the highest tips. Granted, the decision of how large a tip to leave is up to the subjective whims of the tipper, and different people have their own aesthetic preferences. But when a server’s main source of income is her tips, and if those tips are regulated by the prejudices of the tippers, then a case could potentially be made that certain wage practices of restaurants are discriminatory.

This is the very case Kamer made (emphasis mine): “In 1971’s Griggs v. Duke Power, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was ruled to prohibit businesses with discriminatory practices against those protected under it, even if that effect is unintended. Tipping, which has been proven to be discriminatory, could be downright unconstitutional.”

via Tipping perpetuates racism, classism, and poverty — let’s get rid of it! – Vox.

John Oliver on Income Inequality & The Wealth Gap

John Oliver nails it here. He starts off with clips of Obama saying that income inequality will be a top priority and showing how quickly that topic was pushed under the rug thanks to all the rich bastards who cried out that this was the start of class warfare. So, nope… we don’t get to have a political discussion about income inequality (because hello, wealthy oligarchy). We just have to suck it up and keep falling for the boot strap myth.

Oliver also covers how ,even despite the odds and logic, Americans are led to believe that they can all be “winners” simply because they’re American and everyone has a chance at The American Dream,right?

 

Social Worker & Mental Health Tumblrs

There’s a wealth of information on tumblr regarding social work & mental health. These are listed together because the issues quite often go hand in hand.
Thanks to Creative Social Worker for putting this directory together.

Social Worker Tumblrs<br /><br />
Creative Clinical Social Worker<br /><br />
Social Workin’<br /><br />
It Will All Make Sense<br /><br />
The Political Social Worker<br /><br />
Social Work Tech<br /><br />
Social Work Helper<br /><br />
Trauma Therapist<br /><br />
Trauma Social Worker<br /><br />
Connect The Dots Backwards<br /><br />
Radical Social Worker<br /><br />
Social Work Memes<br /><br />
Social Werq<br /><br />
Unemployed Social Worker<br /><br />
Student Social Worker<br /><br />
Products of Poverty<br /><br />
SWK 4 Life<br /><br />
What Should We Call Social Work?<br /><br />
School Meet Life<br /><br />
Canadian Social Worker<br /><br />
Joylisamia<br /><br />
Social Justice Solutions<br /><br />
Life as a Social Worker<br /><br />
ACSWA Clinical Social Work<br /><br />
Social Worky Megan<br /><br />
Lauren LCSW<br /><br />
Miss Joan<br /><br />
Heirloom June<br /><br />
The Notorious Amy<br /><br />
The Social Work Network<br /><br />
Social Worker Taking on the World<br /><br />
Social Work Grad Students<br /><br />
Social Work Wisdom<br /><br />
Social Work Sad<br /><br />
School Social Worker Blog<br /><br />
Social Work Psych Stuff<br /><br />
Alison Rae<br /><br />
What Even Is Social Justice?<br /><br />
Chris Talks Social Work Stuff<br /><br />
Southernish<br /><br />
Social Work Bridges<br /><br />
Social Work Wanderer <br /><br />
Social Workers Online<br /><br />
Tito Tito<br /><br />
Hand Knit By a Failed Feminist<br /><br />
The Social Work Exam<br /><br />
The Running Vegan MSW<br /><br />
Social Worky<br /><br />
Social Work Musings<br /><br />
Geeky Therapist<br /><br />
Other Side of the Couch<br /><br />
Steven Armijo<br /><br />
Social Work, Psych and Counseling<br /><br />
All Things Social<br /><br />
June on the West Coast<br /><br />
Chasing Thunder<br /><br />
Social Work Problems<br /><br />
Ramp Your Voice<br /><br />
Onewomanareme<br /><br />
Jehovahs Thicknesss<br /><br />
Ducky Does Therapy<br /><br />
Aspie Social Worker<br /><br />
Social Justice Works<br /><br />
Crasstun<br /><br />
The Social Worker Life<br /><br />
Social Worky Ideas<br /><br />
Therapeutic Nihilism<br /><br />
This is not Social Work<br /><br />
Reflectophile<br /><br />
Therapist Tumblrs<br /><br />
Creative Clinical Social Worker<br /><br />
The Humbled Therapist<br /><br />
Therapy 101<br /><br />
It Will All Make Sense<br /><br />
Trauma Therapist<br /><br />
What Should We Call Art Therapy?<br /><br />
Connect The Dots Backwards<br /><br />
Passionate Therapist<br /><br />
Therapist Confessions<br /><br />
Tenacious Twenties<br /><br />
Kati Morton<br /><br />
PsyD or Bust<br /><br />
Twin Therapists<br /><br />
So This is Expressive Therapies<br /><br />
Ducky Does Therapy<br /><br />
The Angry Therapist<br /><br />
Doctor School Problems<br /><br />
Psychologist Problems<br /><br />
Keep Calm And Psychoanalyze<br /><br />
She Wants the PsyD<br /><br />
Other Side of the Couch<br /><br />
Secrets of a Sarcastic Psychologist<br /><br />
Confessions of a Broke Grad Student<br /><br />
Geeky Therapist<br /><br />
So You’re a Music Therapist<br /><br />
Thrive Music Therapy<br /><br />
Fuck Yeah Therapizing<br /><br />
Misses Torrance<br /><br />
Art Journaling<br /><br />
Therapist at Play<br /><br />
Creative Arts Therapy Rocks<br /><br />
Psychotherapy<br /><br />
Lowery Makes Art<br /><br />
Serious Mental Illness Blog<br /><br />
Psychological Musings<br /><br />
Cognitive Defusion<br /><br />
Chameleon Play Therapy<br /><br />
LaraMaurinoTherapy<br /><br />
Training-Psychologist<br /><br />
Heirloom June<br /><br />
Counseling Inside and Outside<br /><br />
Psych Jim<br /><br />
Mindful Irreverence<br /><br />
The Medicated Therapist<br /><br />
What Should We Call MFT<br /><br />
Therapy Bros<br /><br />
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy<br /><br />
Creative Psychologist<br /><br />
Therapy and Therapists<br /><br />
Counseling Inside and Out<br /><br />
Eevee Pony<br /><br />
Therapy Ideas For Future Clients<br /><br />
Shrink Rants<br /><br />
This list represents a tumblr network of metal health professions from a wide range of backgrounds, intended to help us connect with one another. Click here for some more psych-related blogs.” /></p>
<p><strong>Social Worker Tumblrs</strong></p>
<ul>
<li><a href=Creative Clinical Social Worker

  • Social Workin’
  • It Will All Make Sense
  • The Political Social Worker
  • Social Work Tech
  • Social Work Helper
  • Trauma Therapist
  • Trauma Social Worker
  • Connect The Dots Backwards
  • Radical Social Worker
  • Social Work Memes
  • Social Werq
  • Unemployed Social Worker
  • Student Social Worker
  • Products of Poverty
  • SWK 4 Life
  • What Should We Call Social Work?
  • School Meet Life
  • Canadian Social Worker
  • Joylisamia
  • Social Justice Solutions
  • Life as a Social Worker
  • ACSWA Clinical Social Work
  • Social Worky Megan
  • Lauren LCSW
  • Miss Joan
  • Heirloom June
  • The Notorious Amy
  • The Social Work Network
  • Social Worker Taking on the World
  • Social Work Grad Students
  • Social Work Wisdom
  • Social Work Sad
  • School Social Worker Blog
  • Social Work Psych Stuff
  • Alison Rae
  • What Even Is Social Justice?
  • Chris Talks Social Work Stuff
  • Southernish
  • Social Work Bridges
  • Social Work Wanderer
  • Social Workers Online
  • Tito Tito
  • Hand Knit By a Failed Feminist
  • The Social Work Exam
  • The Running Vegan MSW
  • Social Worky
  • Social Work Musings
  • Geeky Therapist
  • Other Side of the Couch
  • Steven Armijo
  • Social Work, Psych and Counseling
  • All Things Social
  • June on the West Coast
  • Chasing Thunder
  • Social Work Problems
  • Ramp Your Voice
  • Onewomanareme
  • Jehovahs Thicknesss
  • Ducky Does Therapy
  • Aspie Social Worker
  • Social Justice Works
  • Crasstun
  • The Social Worker Life
  • Social Worky Ideas
  • Therapeutic Nihilism
  • This is not Social Work
  • Reflectophile
  • Therapist Tumblrs

    Psychology Tumblrs

    Recovery/Support Tumblrs

    The Homeless Sign Exchange Project

    April 2013, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

    Name: Mike a.k.a. “The Pope of Harvard Square”

    Read Mike’s story here

    Artists Kenji Nakayama & Christopher Hope have started a “Homeless Sign Exchange”. They pay homeless people for their original signs (I don’t know how much) and then do a sign makeover.

    The end result is the homeless person’s words in stylized typography on a shiny new sign. Basically , a sign any hipster would be proud to display.

    April 2013, Davis Square, Somerville, MA

    Name: Jimmy Sunshine

    Nice hat, Jimmy.
    Read Jimmy’s story here.

    Feb. 2013, Central Square, Cambridge, MA

    Name: Angela Douyon-Previlon

    Read Angela’s story here.

     

    \

    Frank, February 2012. I-93 off-ramp near South Station.

    “Frank is 74 years old. He has been homeless for twenty-two years in Boston, where he also grew up. Before living on the streets, Frank was in jail for theft. He says that since he has been sober, he “has been out of trouble.” When I told him I would stop by again soon, he told me that it wasn’t necessary—“you don’t have to buy a sign anymore!” He spends his days and nights near South Station. “

     

    So, let’s talk about this.

    The signs look great. But how does this work as activism? Are the homeless people benefitting from these “makeovers”?

    Initially, I thought the motive of the project was for the signs to work basically as an eye catching ad. With the new signs, people are obviously more inclined to look and read them, possibly motivating them to donate some money to the sign holder. In a post on tumblr, one artist says, “The first phase of this project has never been about “increasing the money” they get from the new signs. We pay them for their original signs, and I help many of them try to find housing and work in the Boston area. But in fact, many of the homeless individual’s original signs in our project are not soliciting for money. The signs become an extension of each individual’s self-expression (since they contribute to the design and we use their original text), and act as an invitation to conversation. We as a society cannot solve homelessness without first humanizing the homeless. This means recognizing they are a historically excluded group that suffers great prejudice, in addition to knowing that the experience of homelessness is dehumanizing itself.

    We ask for compassion, as people learn more about the reasons why people are actually homeless. Now, there is a strong possibility that the next phase of this project may explore more direct solution-oriented programming. So please stay tuned!

    I don’t know if even Don Draper could create an ad campaign strong enough to change public stigmas about homelessness and homeless people. The personal stories shared on the tumblr page are important to hear  and I do hope that some of these people get to tell their stories to people on the street as a result of the sign being a conversation starter.

    But still…this idea that we need to makeover any element of the homeless population to “humanize” them is disturbing. Making homeless people look nicer and more approachable in some ways demeans the actual aspects of homelessness that are very ugly.

    I see a lot of what I call Ivory Tower Activism and people with saviour complexes involved in “helping” homeless people. They see themselves as compassionate and helpful but are removed from the situation ,and often see themselves as elevated over the people they’re helping, even if they say they see everyone as equal. They themselves do not do a very good job at humanizing the people they are advocating for. When they speak about their activism, they refer to themselves a lot in regards to what THEY accomplished, not what the homeless person gained from advocacy. I know it’s a hard battle to fight in some cities where the policy makers and politicians can’t see that homelessness costs their city more money than if they did the right thing and created more housing and programs that get people off the street. I feel like a lot of people who refer to themselves as activists for the homeless do an incomplete job. They alleviate the symptoms of homelessness instead of focusing on ways to change policies and inspiring others to work to change the system as it is. I  don’t want to hear people speak of their successes as a homeless activist if there is still homelessness where they are focusing efforts. Complete activism is hellbent on ENDING homelessness, not just being nice to homeless people and making sure they’re comfortable while homeless. Compassion & basic needs are certainly very important but providing these also has to exist alongside activism that moves towards solutions.

     

    (I’m not saying these sign makeover people are like that. That was just a stray related rant because of very frustrating conversations I’ve had recently with homeless “activists”. )

     

    And I’m glad the artist mentions that she does try to help them find housing but it’s a bit disingenuous. If someone is homeless, they have already tried to find housing and the system didn’t work to help them.  People who do not want to be homeless have already tried to not be that way. At least it sounds like this project will hopefully lead to a more complete solution oriented activism.

    One of my concerns here with the Homeless Signs project is the language used in reference to people. The most recent post is a memorial to a young homeless woman who died, Colleen. The artist referred to her as “nice but broken”. In an earlier post, the woman’s story is shared. She was a runaway and alludes to abuse as the cause of her running away. She became an  addict .

    Colleen was not broken. The situation that caused her to become homeless and an addict was what is broken. Society is broken. Colleen herself should be remembered as a nice young woman. Not but.

    April 2013, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA   *REST IN PEACE

    Name: Colleen

    Where are you originally from?
    I was born and raised between Boston and Cambridge.

     How old are you?
    20 years old.

    What was it like growing up?
    My childhood was good. My family did provide the basics. I do remember being a kid and imagining more for my life. I did not aspire for this. No one wants to be homeless. I hope that people read this and understand… no one sets out to be on the street. Its just that life happens, and it can happen to anyone. Growing up I was told not to judge anyone, so I hope people don’t judge me.

    How long have you been homeless?

    I have been homeless for three years.

    How did you become homeless?

    I ran away from home. I don’t feel good talking about why I ran away. Speaking about it is very difficult for me.  Unfortunately, when you’re living on the street you get exposed to different things and so I started taking drugs. It is something that I constantly battle with everyday.

    A few months ago, I woke up in the hospital, and my boyfriend and the doctors were looking down at me as I lay in the hospital bed. They told me that I had a drug overdose. My boyfriend is the only support that I have out here, and he also struggles with addiction. I love him a lot. But it is difficult to try and help him with his problems when I can’t even help myself. I am hoping for a miracle so that we both can get “clean” soon and get off the streets.

    What is your biggest struggle being homeless?I would say it is the bridges that I’ve burned with my family and friends. My addiction has created so many problems between me and my family. I don’t even know where to start to make amends. Every time that I think I’ve got this thing beat, I let them down. It hurts because I miss my family but I understand why they stay away.

    Dumpster Diving Privilege

     

    via Dumpster Diving Privilege | Dumpster Divers Diary

    Discussions I have had with other low income folks about dumpster diving, their concerns are primarily being arrested but these are all great tips that point out the privileges associated with dumpster diving.  . Low wage earners at grocery stores and big box chains have lost their jobs over taking food from the dumpster and in some cases, the store will even press charges for “stealing”.  One thing poor people absolutely cannot afford is being arrested.

    Lunchtime Links: A Commercially-Zoned Community Garden, a no-waste concept supermarket,and Women Food & Ag reporters you should know about

     

    Feed Fayetteville plants community garden in downtown commercial zone | Fayetteville Flyer

    There are very few community gardens that exist in commercial zones. In my local “green” city, I walk by so many commercial properties with landscaping space like this bank in Fayetteville, Arkansas that are either poorly tended or just have impractical shrubs and inedibles. Cities and businesses need to follow the Fayetteville example here.


     

     This concept supermarket has no packaged products, reduces #foodwastepsfk.com/2014/05/origin… via @PSFK

    When the article refers to it as a “high end co-op” , that makes me think that it’s another concept that won’t benefit low income people.

     


    “24 Women Food and Agriculture Reporters You Should Know About ” by ow.ly/x6yRV via @CivilEats

    [D]oes it really matter who writes the stories, and who makes the decisions about deploying resources and presenting news? Yes, I think it does. Here’s one small example of why: Women who write are more likely, according to the study, to quote at least some women in their articles. That diversity of outlook and that range of voices are worth pursuing because it better reflects the world.

    I think it matters,too.