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Poverty, Inequality and Justice

March 23, 2006 / By Daniel Flaming
Underwriter: Economic Roundtable


The survival of a city depends on at least three things:

  1. People who are willing to live and work together
  2. A reasonably healthy economy
  3. An effectively organized government

– Museum of London

Topics Covered in the Talk

  • Is LA’s economy healthy?
  • How did it get the way it is?
  • What can we do about it?
  • LA’s Economy: Scraping by in an Affluent City – Acute poverty is the most powerful predictor of homelessness.
  • Changing of the Guard: The Problem of a migrating work force solved, new problems emerge.
  • The Informal Economy is LA’s Economic Growth Engine.

Policy Recommendations:

How Can LA Improve its Economy? Use the modest tools of local government to consistently nudge the economy in the right direction:

  1. Understand and protect the region’s economic strengths
    • Green technology industries
    • Durable manufacturing
    • Linkages between innovation and production
  2. Ensure that residents who work can lift their families out of poverty
    • Adopt living wage ordinances
    • Respect the value of unions
  3. Have a plan
    • Understand the risks and payoffs from investing in different industries
    • Develop community-specific plans that build on local opportunities and goals
    • Use economic development, redevelopment and job training funds for these strategies
  4. Use our infrastructure and regulations to benefit local residents
    • Leverage local jobs by adding value to goods moving through the ports
    • Buy green products from local businesses – use green technology to create local jobs.
    • Make land use decisions (zoning, permits) that support growth of a sustainable economy
  5. Eliminate predatory work conditions – curb the informal economy
    • Enlist city and county prosecutors in collecting back wages from underground employers
    • Enforce labor laws in partnership with immigrant rights organizations
  6. Whenever and where ever possible, help LA workers to upgrade their education and skill



Area of Work: Economy, People
Tags: Poverty, Southern California