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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  June 26, 2011 1:00pm-1:10pm EDT

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to some extent it is still like that. anyone who wants to be a blocker or tweeter can be. and this has very good and powerful a fax to my belief. it is fearful to say that the movement for democracy in egypt this year was caused by facebook, but i think it is absolutely true that the existence of electronic communication channels help to that movement enormously. ..
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>> will be strong enough to overcome the technologies of the internet that enable state control. or, for that matter, corporate control. but i don't think it's clear who the winner is going to be. >> host: it's very much an open question at this point. >> guest: yeah. it's something we need to pay attention to. >> host: right, right. so, you know, i was kind of fascinated by the idea of you mentioned, you know, h.g. wells' concept of the brain and the idea of the -- [inaudible] and yet, you know, we go from there to yup. [laughter] or more on a slightly higher note, perhaps, or a much higher note wikipedia.
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this is one of the great things that information has given us. anyway, i'm afraid we're out of time at this point, but thank you so much. this has, you know, been great fun to chat with you. >> guest: well, thank you, frank. it's been fascinating. >> that was "after words," booktv's signature program in which authors of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists, public policymakers, legislators and others familiar with their material. "after words" airs every weekend on booktv at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday and 12 a.m. on monday. you can also watch online. go to and chick -- click on after words on the upper right side of the page. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2. we're here at the university of chicago to talk with several of their professors about books
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they've written. we're going to show you some of those now. professor scott allard, what's out of reach? >> well, this book was motivated by a concern about rising poverty rates in the u.s. over the last decade that occurred during a time when the way we helped poor people changed as well. what's out of reach now are the social service programs that compose a large share of how we help low-income americans, and the book is focused on where these programs are located and how difficult it might be for low income, poor families to access them. >> give us an example. >> typically, we think about welfare and food stamps, and those are really important, but we spend just as much money, if not more, on social service programs like job training, education, um, child care, housing assistance, mental health or substance abuse services that promote greater
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well being, help people find and keep a job, but i can't mail you job train, right? like i can a welfare check or a food stamp benefit. so it becomes really important where these programs are located, and as the book discusses, there's a lot of factors that weigh on where programs are located, and it turns out that the least accessible right where we think -- the least accessible are where the needs are the greatest. >> give us an example when it comes to job training how that program is out of reach for some americans. >> well, it's an interesting issue that you pick up job training because the demands on job training providers are unique. not only do they have to colleague with low-wage job seekers, but also increasingly in suburban areas, but they also have to have access to stakeholders and funders, they also have to have access to employers and jobs. so there's probably not one
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location that's going the meet all those needs. if you're close to your stake hold efforts, you might not be close to clients or where the jobs are located. so those providers face a difficult challenge, and ultimately, to make some of the programs work well they have to be located in suburban areas or outer urban areas where employment opportunity currently concentrated. but that means it's difficult to yet to those -- get to those programs that are isolated from public transportation, may not have access to an automobile. but the mismatches that i describe in the book occur not just with employment sources, but across a number of different service categories. >> and what's another one of those service categories and an example? >> >> well, another interesting example is food pantries or organizations that provide emergency food assistance. you'd expect these to be located close to concentrations of low income populations, and they are, it's just that in those cases the demand for services is so great that there isn't great
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access necessarily. for instance, if you're living next door to a food pantry that serves 100 people but there's demand for help by 10,000 people that live in your neighborhood, that may not be true access compared to a setting where there may be 100 slots for 100 or 500 people. so in central city communities even though there are food pantries, they're not staffed or resourced to meet the needs of the surrounding communities, and that creates gaps as well. >> what did you find was the reason for this change in how we deliver social services? >> right. one of the interesting things about the way that we provide assistance today is that social service programs aren't authorized by a single federal program or block grant. instead, they're funded through a variety of different grants and programs at the state level as well as local levels. they draw revenues from charitable foundation or
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philanthropies. and because there's so many revenue sources, it's emerged over time in a piecemeal or patchwork fashion, and that's created a setting where you have providers located in some places and not in others. if you're a social service agency, you have many demands on what drives where you can locate, what you can afford, where you can hire or recruit staff, whether you can ame economies of -- achieve economies of scale, you might have a particular commitment to a certain community or area. and all those things factor in to where organizations locate. but in the end there's a lot of evidence in the book, and this is true across three different metro areas that we looked at -- chicago, los angeles, and washington, d.c -- that high poverty areas tend not to have adequate access or as much access to social service programs as lower poverty areas. and i think this is not one reason, a combination. but my sense is that in many communities it's hard to find suitable office space. it's hard to recruit staff to
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work in some of the highest poverty neighborhoods. and also, frankly, i think a lot of organizations prefer to locate downtown or near corridors of power, perhaps, where they can connect with foundations and fundraisers, and that's important if they're going to be a growing concern, but it has unintended consequences as the farther away you are from are a program, the harder it is to participate or receive help. >> so what's the solution to that? >> well, in this economic environment it's tough to think about solutions. oftentimes when we talk about mismatches in social service programs or we talk about the lack of adequate provision safety and assistance, our gut instinct is to say, well, we should spend more money, government should spend more money, we should spend more public funds n. this current fiscal environment, that was not viable, and that was apparent on the horizon when i finished the book. so we have to think of strategies or solutions that allow us to maximize the funding that we do provide and help us to connect people to assistance
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that already exists. so one goal might be just to hold the line or to maintain public spending levels as best we can. another might be to help people connect to existing sources of support or help narrow some of the divides or some of the mismatches through partnerships with faith-based organizations or other community-based organizations that may be trusted, may be able to connect people to help. i think another critical element to improving how we deliver social services is for americans to increase their private support of the safety net. all the organizations we interviewed in the book receive some money from private individuals or private donations. it's just that we don't, we don't give enough. if americans were able to step up their philanthropy even in hard economic times, these organizations may be able to open these sites, open new programs that would help reduce some of these mismatches, and ultimately the strength of the safety net is going to be on our private commitment to the safety net because that not only


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