Various studies show that early language acquisition plays a major role in setting the stage for a child’s future achievement course.
By the age of 24 months, one can already gauge by the size of the child’s vocabulary, how smoothly the child’s cognitive development will unfold and whether the child may face a challenging learning and growth trajectory. As early as 18 months of age, a lag may already become apparent between children of the same age in terms of their information processing capacities. From there – the gap either grows or remains proportionately consistent. How well the child’s processing skills and vocabulary are established as babies and toddlers, in turn plays a detrimental role in whether or not the child will reach its full potential at adulthood.
What causes a child’s processing skills and acquired vocabulary to be underdeveloped? The direct answer would be: How much a child is being talked to and the range of vocabulary used when being talked to. However, the condition that rules this variable (how much one is being talked to and what range of words) is the socio-economic environment that the child finds itself within.
Parents from mid to higher levels of socioeconomic status generally have more time to spend with their children and they themselves possess a richer vocabulary than parents of lower socioeconomic status.
Parents coming from a lower economic status may be working several jobs to make ends meet and have a more limited vocabulary. Having to cope with more stress and anxiety due to every day struggles can lead one to be more taciturn. All of this adds up to less words from a limited range being spoken towards the child(ren).
Besides being externally disadvantaged due to lower economic status limiting future opportunities, children are also internally disadvantaged in how well they will be able to exploit the opportunities that will be available to them because of stunted vocabulary acquisition and cognitive skills.
“By 2 years of age, these disparities are equivalent to a six-month gap between infants from rich and poor families in both language processing skills and vocabulary knowledge,” Fernald said. “What we’re seeing here is the beginning of a developmental cascade, a growing disparity between kids that has enormous implications for their later educational success and career opportunities.”
As discussed in other blogs (Living Income Guaranteed and Raising Children, The Self-Perpetuating Cycle of Homelessness and Living Income Guaranteed), the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed will provide an opportunity for parents to stay at home and take care of their children, or have financial security knowing that any job would at least provide an income at double the Living Income rate.
In fact, a survey polling to find out how many mothers would want to stay at home ‘if money was not an object’, shows that 75% of new mothers would want to stay at home, 12% would not want to be a full-time mother and 13% did not know what they would do. Of those mother who did go back to work, just over half indicated that the reason for doing so was because money was tight, and 3% indicated that they had to go back because pregnancy had left them in serious debt.
With the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed we can raise the conditions necessary to stimulate, enhance and foster our children’s development and utmost potential. By creating a financially stable environment, parents are able to tend to both a child’s physical and mental needs to ensure optimal growth and well-being. Financial worries put aside with a Living Income safety net, promotes peace of mind for parents which leads to better parent-child relationships and reducing the incidence of conflict at home .
By having this foundation in place, we set the stage for success in our children’s education and future careers.
For more information on what the Living Income Guaranteed entails, read the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal.
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A Political Awakening of the Young Generation or a Return to 1950′s Survival Strategies?
The economy in any given location, can be likened to the dynamics of water. If the water in a river flows, then the river is healthy, life thrives in its waters and supports the surrounding terrestrial ecosystems.
Water evaporates from the Earth’s surface, transforms into clouds, travels with the wind, and lands in a new area where it can support life.
When water stagnates, it can become stale. Bacteria and disease start brooding and life stops thriving. Water, and more specifically flowing water – is an essential element and resource in sustaining life.
In our society, we have made the primary element that supports life: ‘money’. If you have money, you can eat, you can drink, you can live in a nice house, you can educate yourself, you can start new ventures, you can support a family, you can participate in leisure time. Money is used, and money is spent – and each expense in turn becomes a flow of income for someone else in society.
Money like water – can be stored for the future. Water-grabs in the form of excessive damming can threaten the vitality of an entire ecosystem: as water is held back, not enough water flows and the area that was once supported by its flow is now faced with a condition of lack, resulting in the degradation of the environment. Dams, when properly regulated and monitored, can be a beneficial factor in the environment. In the same way, we know that saving money can be beneficial to get us through a future ‘rainy day’. However, when we hog money, like water, we create averse conditions within the economic environment (=ecosystem) around us.
The Marginal Propensity to Consume, Save and the Multiplier Effect
Within the realm of economics, you may sometimes hear of the term ‘multiplier effect’ and ‘marginal propensity to consume’ or ‘marginal propensity to save’. Although these terms sound daunting, their meaning is actually very simple.
All these above-mentioned terms, relate to changes in the economy when an influx of income (and resulting spending) occurs.
Whenever we have money/an income, we will tend to save some of it and spend the rest. The amount we spend in contrast to how much we save for each unit of additional income, is our ‘marginal propensity to consume’ (MPC). If our MPC is 0.8, then this means that for every additional increase of income, we will spend 80% of it. In turn, the ratio of how much we save over how much we spend for each additional unit of income, is our ‘marginal propensity to save’ (MPS). If our MPC was 0.8, then our MPS is 0.2, which means we will save 20% of any additional income.
When you have little money, your propensity to save will be very low as money will primarily be spent on everyday needs. As your income goes up, your propensity to save will go up as you feel secure enough to ‘put something away’ and still be able to tend to your everyday needs. Once you’re well off, you will be more likely to save a higher portion of additional increments of income, leading to a lower marginal propensity to consume.
The multiplier effect, refers to an effect in the economy where an increase in spending will bring about a ripple effect which results in a greater amount of value as an outcome than the initial amount spent. In a way, one can look at it as ‘returns on an investment’. Here, we can go back to the example of the river, where additional flowing water in a river is not just ‘additional water’. It is also the drinking water for animals downstream whose presence is absolutely vital to the local biome [See ‘How Wolves Change Rivers’ to see how a change in a single variable can have a huge impact]. The same way, money spent in the economy is not just ‘some money spent’, but also the income of another human being who in turn can utilize this income to employ the services of someone else and again contribute to someone’s livelihood.
We can see from the following excerpt, that these propensities matter when it comes down to economic health and vitality:
“Wall Street banks handed out $26.7 billion in bonuses to their 165,200 employees last year. That amount would be enough to more than double the pay for all 1,085,000 Americans who work full-time at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Purveyors of luxury goods always welcome the Wall Street bonus season, but a raise in the minimum wage would give America’s economy a much greater boost. To meet basic needs, low-wage workers tend to spend nearly every dollar they make. The wealthy can afford to squirrel away more of their earnings.
All those dollars low-wage workers spend create an economic ripple effect. Every extra dollar going into the pockets of low-wage workers, standard economic multiplier models tell us, adds about $1.21 to the national economy. Every extra dollar going into the pockets of a high-income American, by contrast, only adds about 39 cents to the GDP.”
This article nicely illustrates the power of money movement, and where this ‘current’ is the strongest.
By bringing Living Income Guaranteed into the economic picture, we can bring in a gush of fresh new water and transform our stagnant pool into a thriving flowing river. Besides fulfilling our moral duty towards our fellow men through securing each one’s Basic Human Rights, we also put into motion a new economic drive from which will sprout new opportunities of innovation and entrepreneurship.
It becomes possible to have a nice life and to enjoy the latest comfort and tech that science and creativity have to offer, whilst simultaneously making sure that everyone’s livelihood is guaranteed. The principle behind an economy like this is really a simple one: Give, as you would like to Receive.
By changing the money composition in the economy by a fraction, we can bring about tremendous changes. These changes in turn, will bring about their own effects. Even if one might not agree with a Living Income Guaranteed for political reasons, we cannot ignore the ample economic benefits that are coupled with its implementation; to name but just a few: economic growth and expansion, higher living standards, better skilled labor force, lower debt levels and better employment conditions. These in turn translate into social, cultural and psychological benefits such as lower crime rate, lower levels of stress, increased personal freedom, social cohesion, enhanced personal growth and development and overall happiness.
Let’s unleash the wave of economic, social, cultural and personal potential with Living Income Guaranteed.