Socio-Economic Well Being Inventory

As with the Personal Well-Being (PWB) Inventory, the indicators of Socio-Economic Well Being (SWB)are not really True/False topics. Most of us are somewhere in between. But choose of these anyways, just to get a sense of your socio-economic well being!

Unfortunately, most of these are things you can NOT improve quickly and easily. In a democratic society, these should be “givens.” But even in Canada and the US, the only route I know of out of poverty is education in a program where there is guaranteed meaningful well-paying work with a good benefits package.

For example, in Ontario we have the Second Career program offered by the Ministry of Training, College and University.


I have access to:

1. Food – always have healthful groceries

2. Clothing – especially in northern climates

3. Shelter – safe pleasant housing

4. Health care including dental, vision, hearing, dietary, etc.


I have access to:

5. Child care or elder care

6. Higher education


I have:

7. Income over the poverty line with a good benefits package.

8. Job security


I have:

9. Safe recreational areas including parks, pools, hiking trails

10. A valued role in the family, work and community.


I am not:

11. Discriminated against on the basis of culture or race.

12. Discriminated against on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.

OTHER (Bonus Point)

13. Overall, I feel satisfied with the quality of my life.




How did you do? If you fared badly, chances are it’s because you are poor. And it's not your fault...

Why is there poverty (socio-economic injustice) in countries like Canada and the U.S?

The growing gap between rich and poor has not been ordained by extraterrestrial beings. It has been created by the policies of governments: taxation, training, investment in children and their education, modernization of businesses, transfer payments, minimum wages and health benefits, capital availability, support for green industries, encouragement of labour unions, attention to infrastructure and technical assistance to entrepreneurs, among others.

– Peter Montague

Why is poverty not good for you?

Poverty (socio-economic inequality) can affect health in a number of ways:
- income provides the prerequisites for health, such as shelter, food, warmth, and the ability to participate in society;
- living in poverty can cause stress and anxiety which can damage people’s health;
- low income limits peoples’ choices and militates against desirable changes in behaviour.

- Benzeval, Judge, & Whitehead, 1995, p.xxi, Tackling Inequalities in Health: An Agenda for Action.

What is the answer?

Since socio-economic inequality (poverty) is bad for us, surely socio-economic equality (social justice) is good for us. And it is just as surely not likely to happen in your or my lifetime. I encourage you to contact your local college or university or employment service to find out how you can enter an education program that is affordable (grants, loans, etc.) and where there is guaranteed well paying work with a good benefits package.

Books and Video


"How to Get Any Job with Any Major: Career Launch & Re-launch for Everyone Under 30, Or, how to Avoid Living in Your Parent's Basement" by Donald Asher, Ten Speed Press, 2004

"Creating A World Without Poverty: : Social Business and the Future of Capitalism" by Muhammad Yunus, PublicAffairs, 2008


The People Speak--Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus

A series of 13 Job Search Strategies from UAB.

We know what makes us ill.
When we are ill we are told
That it’s you who will heal us.
When we come to you
Our rags are torn off us
And you listen all over our naked body.
As to the cause of our illness
One glance at our rags would
Tell you more. It is the same cause that wears out
Our bodies and our clothes.
-- Bertolt Brecht, A Worker’s Speech to a Doctor, 1938

Penguin Family Portrait
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