JIFFI’s First Thought Bubble

JIFFI’s First Thought Bubble

By Helen ’17

In order to guarantee our clients our best possible service, JIFFI is constantly looking for ways to improve the knowledge base of our members. A major part of this is, of course, having the basic financial background to be able to teach clients, assess risk, and grant loans, but it’s also important to understand the issues circling around poverty on a much larger scale of the US. This semester, JIFFI is starting regular “Thought Bubble” sessions where members learn about poverty through film, articles, and other media, and then discuss our concerns and opinions about them. We kicked off our first Thought Bubble last week with the first half of Robert Reich’s Inequality for All.

It would have been near impossible to guess that the man small in stature with a matching Mini Cooper was actually Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, and a giant in the war against poverty. With a range of deeply personal stories of the lives of ordinary citizens and mountains of statistics and graphs to back him up, Reich tells us the appalling story of poverty in America. He introduces us to family after family that needs to work full time just to get by until you suddenly realize these stories are not unique or rare, but dangerously common as a result of the widening rich-poor gap.

After stopping the movie for the night, discussion and debate immediately started as people began to voice their concerns about poverty. For example, the growth of technology has rendered many occupations obsolete–so how can we spur employment in light of growing efficiency? How can the rich realistically help narrow the rich-poor gap? What are the underlying causes of poverty, and how do we combat those? And how can we use other nations’ ideas or even our own past to address poverty? We found that most of these questions don’t have an easy answer–but hopefully, through further discussions and contemplations in these Thought Bubbles, we can get closer to understanding these issues, and using these insights reinforce our work.

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