Sunday, February 19, 2006

This is worth repeating again

Poverty

8 comments:

Evan said...

So you're saying...? Deal with poverty in areas where there are a higher quantity of impoverished people (Charleston / Greenville) or places where there's a higher percentage of people living in poverty (Allendale)?

It's not suprising that more people live in poverty in Greenville, Richland and Charleston counties because there are more people there. Actually, those areas of higher population appear to be more like oases in a desert of poverty.

The approx. percent of Americans living in poverty is 12.5% -- Greenville is beating that by a couple percentage points while all other counties listed in your earlier Ed Sellers post (save Richland) are lagging considerably.

To me, all I see with these numbers is that SC, on average, is bringing up the rear on the national distribution of marketable skills and education.

So back to my original question. Why is this data worth repeating? Are you suggesting that SC use these "oases" of somewhat on-par poverty percentage as footholds to spread prosperity beyond? Outside of that I can't figure why this data is all that significant in helping assuage poverty in the state (unless it's simply a wake-up call).

Swamp Fox said...

We too often treat poverty as something that occurs somewhere else. In particular, we think of poverty in South Carolina as occurring along the I-95 corridor.

I created the graph for a course I teach on the fundamentals of economic development. Frequent feedback I get from people completing course evaluations is that the reality in Bamberg is different than Greenville.

The shocking truth pointed out by Ed Sellers, which screams out in the graph, is that we can't solve the problem of poverty in South Carolina without dealing with poverty in the most affluent counties as well as the poorest.

Those of us who have the most can’t be reminded of that too often.

tnmjr said...

To me, this data is a reality check to those leaders who say "SC cannot improve because rural areas are holding us back". The plain fact of the matter is that underperformance in our major cities is the key problem... though this does not relieve us of our need to focus on improving rural areas as well.

Evan said...

The "problem" with poverty is that it will always exist in a hierarchical society. As the standards of living increase so does the poverty line.

"We too often treat poverty as something that occurs somewhere else." That's what a majority of the US can boast when comparing themselves to SC (and several other states). And if all the residents of SC pull together and do something about it, the poverty will shift somewhere else. Some other state or county will be having this conversation.

Furthermore, I'd like to compare an impoverished person from, say, Afghanistan to an average American living in poverty. Not to demean Afghans, but I believe the American would be living like a king compared to their standards. I only say this because it's all relative, and maybe we're already doing a lot about poverty just by being a capitalist country / state.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that there will always be a certain amount of the population in poverty, just like there will always be a certain amount unemployed. It's wrong to assume that the number of people in poverty, on a percentage or absolute basis, is part of a zero-sum game where it shifts based on regional economic prosperity, like from a prosperous state to one in distress.

In fact, most people would be surprised to learn that poverty (on a percentage basis) is greater in North Carolina than South Carolina.

This raises the question, is it a good indicator or measure of how well a state is doing economically? Depends on how you look at it. I think most people would eventually agree that it’s a symptom of a broader problem in the state and that it shouldn’t hijack the central focus on how we should solve the economic woes of South Carolina.

I think the more we focus on encouraging South Carolinians to get advanced degrees, take risks, open up IP in our universities and create more knowledge-based companies, the more we will prosper.

It's disappointing to see that the New Carolina initiative has little to no representatives from knowledge-based companies. Instead we have leaders in the real estate and manufacturing industry as well as a few lawyers.

I wish them the best of luck and truly hope they succeed, b/c I'm in SC for the long haul and I'm only 31. But, the last thing we need are more low-wage manufacturing jobs, more expensive homes and developments in SC, and more lawyers on committees!

Swamp Fox said...

Looks to me like there is
strong representation on New Carolina, SC's Council on Competitiveness among knowledge based organizations, including:

M. Edward Sellers
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina (Largest employer of programmers in SC)

Don Herriott
Head of Global Chemical Manufacturing
Roche Carolina, Inc.

Steve Swanson
President and Chief Executive Officer
Automated Trading Desk

Fred Humes
Director
Economic Development Partnership
SC (and Chair of SC Hydrogen Coalition)

Dr. Andrew Sorenson
President
University of South Carolina

Dr. Ashley Allen
President and Chief Operating Officer
Milliken & Company (Which has one of the largest corporate R&D facilities in the state)

Harris De Loach
President & Chief Executive Officer
Sonoco Products Company
(Hartsville, SC)

Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr.
President
South Carolina State University

Karen Park Jennings
Owner and Chairman
Park Seed Company

Dr. David Shi
President
Furman University

Dr. Henry Tisdale
President
Claflin University

John Warner
Founder
Swamp Fox, LLC

Dr. Caroline Whitson
President
Columbia College

Anonymous said...

I certainly agree that institutions of higher-learning are by definition the epitome of a knowledge-based organization....while they aren't necessarily profit-maximizing they do provide high-paying jobs....despite the fact that I'm not terribly inspired by university president appointments, I would expect them to provide a good balance and perspective on the council wrt macroeconomics forces that can AND WILL make SC more competitive in the future...

Now, as for the other companies you mentioned (sans Automated Trading) they are NOT, knowledge-based companies, they are product-based since their primary source of revenue is not through the production and distribution and use knowledge...if you claim that they are, then you're almost saying that all companies are in a way knowledge-based, which completely makes the distinction meaningless.

The main frustration is that it appears there are few true mid-range ($50-$200m revenue) knowledge-based or technology companies on the council...like Blackbaud, CSC, Benefitfocus, and the newly acquired Datastream...I'll readily admit this is my own bias, as a resident of Charleston it's disappointing that this area is often overlooked and under-represented...even though it's the fastest growing area for new HIGH-PAYING jobs...

I think the members of the council on competitiveness should look more like members of the Charleston digital corridor if we truly want to increase per capita income and not look like the good-ole-boys network of days gone by...

Swamp Fox said...

How can Automated Trading Desk be a knowledge-based company, yet Blue Cross not be? They both use information technology to collect massive amounts of data that is converted into knowledge used to make financial decisions. Both are very innovative, constantly creating new products and services for their customers.

Milliken & Company is not a knowledge-based company? They have maybe the largest corporate R&D facility in the state, creating some of the most advanced products in their industry. How much more knowledge based can it get?

I'm not sure I understand the distinction you are making between "knowledge-based" and "product-based." If a company is constantly innovating and cranking our new products to meet the evolving needs of its customers, why does it matter if the products are made of bits or molecules in determining whether the company is knowledge-based?

I know and respect the work that Ernest Andrade is doing with the Charleston Digital Corridor. The mission of the Council on Competitiveness is distinctive from the mission of an organization like the CDC, so the composition of the boards is very different. The Charleston Digital Corridor is an advocate for a segment of the economy, and the Council on Competitiveness is designed to holistically address the entire economy.