I am not always sure how to respond when a friend tells me they are going through a difficult time.  It isn’t that I don’t care. Quite the opposite. I care disproportionately as a rule. What I am unsure about is the proper response.

“You are in my prayers”?

“Keeping positive thoughts”?

“Sending hugs”?

None of that feels right – or rather complete – to me.

If I am with the person, physically, instinct takes over. I am a hugger. I give into my compulsion to wrap my arms around my suffering friend as if I can magically draw out their pain with simple human contact.

But on the phone, via text or social media, I freeze up.

My own understanding of how energy in this universe works is often not simpatico with others’ personal beliefs.  My Facebook profile lists my spiritual view as “Catholic plus Physics”. The ‘About’ boxes in which we are expected to describe ourselves to the world are far too small to encompass who we actually are. My comprehension of The Order of the World ™ stems from a vision. (Or was it a hallucination? Do we ever really know for sure?) The vision was nonlinear, which makes it even more challenging to describe to others. The physics side of my belief system stems from this vision.

As we learned in high school physics, energy can be neither created nor destroyed.  Death is simply an energy changing form. In that sense, I suppose, I draw a sense of comfort from physics.  No one is ever lost to the universe. Maybe I don’t get to see or laugh and cry with my best friend, Carol, anymore – but her energy is being used to enrich some other aspect of this world.  It would be selfish of me to want to keep Carol all to myself.

I believe, together, we belong to a giant collective that shapes events, emotions, and reality. Prayer, constructive thoughts, virtual hugs – all are different ways we, as human beings, come together to influence the focus of positive energy. But there is a catch.

Negative energy is a reality and can also be amassed and directed. I don’t get to pick and choose which laws of physics apply to the universe. I am obligated to acknowledge that, while negative energy can be converted to positive, the opposite must also exist. Energy must always balance.

I read an article recently in which the author professed that COVID-19 is God’s way of carrying out his plans for our world. Is COVID-19 our Great Flood? Are the lucky ones going to pile on the giant ark that will save a chosen few? No.  Our world is too global for this virus to be some Biblical purge of evil. Evil must exist just as surely as goodness and love. In the time of this novel Coronavirus, how many of us have checked-in on a friend we have not spoken to in years? How many of us are staying home, washing our hands often, and methodically observing social distancing? We do this not out of some selfish self-preservation; human beings are capable of demonstrating genuine concern for others. By showing compassion for friends and strangers alike during this time of crisis, we enroll in a crash course in the significance of positive energy.

For me, it is near anguish not being able to hold the people I love. I am forced to fight against my natural urge to absorb the pain of others. A close friend began chemo treatments just as COVID-19 started to propagate. I’m immunocompromised, and so, even before the lock downs started, I had to make the tough decision to not be around him. Two weakened immune systems are a recipe for disaster. If I transmitted any kind of illness to him, I would never forgive myself. My friend doesn’t believe in my energy theory, and it’s not something I attempt to force others to adopt. But, do I continue to meditate each day, directing positive energy his way? Do I still light candles and burn intentions and do anything else I can think to maybe, possibly help? Yes. I find comfort and confidence while practicing what I believe can make a positive impact.

However, I am only one person.

As a society, we need to channel positivity together and by any means. Our planet is under siege. It doesn’t matter how we find a way to spread love and humanity. Some find their calling is in prayer or social work or monetary donations. No method of helping is the wrong method.

We must always remember our fundamental physics. Energy is defined as the potential and ability to do work. We all have that potential and ability. It’s up to each of us to decide what form that work will take. 

My advice – push back against the negative energy with every ounce of positivity you can harness. Working together, we might not be able to destroy darkness, but we can cast light upon it.

To Imperfection

Where have I been?

You probably didn’t even miss me.  The problem is, I was missing me.  In my quest to achieve what society deems success, I was spending every waking moment looking for a job – which I would get and then immediately become overwhelmed.  I liked what I was doing, but I wasn’t sleeping well. I neglected everyday items like cleaning out my car or organizing our bedroom.  It wasn’t that I didn’t try to do these things. Every day, my To-Do list was pages long, yet I never seemed to finish anything. My life consisted of half-doing several things – badly.

Then my body decided it was time for a serious wake-up call. In May, I had a pulmonary embolism; everything in my world came to a grinding halt. If you aren’t familiar with PEs, they happen when a blood clot gets stuck in an artery in the lung, blocking blood flow to a portion of the lung.

What followed was an endless series of tests and doctors’ appointments – cardiologists, hematologists, neurologists – punctuated by frequent trips to the ER when I was scared of the pain in my chest. I was exhausted all the time.  Walking up a flight of stairs became a major challenge.

Still, I continued to pursue getting back the job I had before I got sick. That lasted about 3 weeks until I had to admit – not only did I not feel well, but now that I was fact checking a finance web site – I was way in over my head.

We are all supposed to work, right?  I went to college and then graduate school.  I was supposed to be bright and capable. 

But I’m not. Or so it seems.  I don’t think I have ever finished anything I’ve started that was of any great consequence. I get scared and sick and end up in some sort of hospital, be it medical or psychiatric.  During my first marriage, I lived in Orlando, Florida. When I sought help for migraines, the pain specialist put me on 90 Percocet a month.  All I had to endure in exchange was monthly occipital nerve blocks and trigger point injections. I let a doctor insert a needle into the base of my skull just so he would keep prescribing pain pills. When I was divorced and moved back to the DC area, I rehabbed to reclaim a life without oxycodone, but to this day, I’m never sure when I’m really sick or when I just need to escape the pressure of the world. Psych wards are still a refuge for me. There I feel comfortable because I know that every patient has his or her own problems.  No one is perfect and I don’t feel a need to pretend that I have everything under control

When the embolism hit, though, I was definitely sick. And terrified.  I was on the verge of turning 50 and I was afraid I would die.  Even worse, I would die without writing a book.  This nonexistent book has been my life goal – yet I have kicked around the same plot for years and have fewer than 10, 000 words written.  

Growing up, when asked if I’d rather be rich or famous, famous was the obvious answer. Famous is still my answer, but with each passing year, I know the chance at literary fame becomes slighter. More improbable.

I recently wrote a draft of the murder scene for my “book.” Six paragraphs took me three hours to write.  I cannot shake my compulsion to self-edit.

That impulse is symbolic of everything that holds me back in life. If I cannot perform an action perfectly, I cannot complete the task.

Having a PE made me see that imperfection must be an acknowledged and accepted part of life.  Am I comfortable with this realization?  Not at all.  Why perform a task if I can’t execute it to even my own satisfaction?

Because, if I do not, I will do nothing.

I’d like to be able to report I have beaten my devils and my novel is finished. Untrue.
I can say coming to terms with the fact that I have to just let go.  As an exercise, I have written this essay making as few corrections as possible.  No stopping for an hour to find just the right word.  I know my thoughts are disjointed and jump subjects and themes at an alarming rate. 

It’s, okay, though. I am starting to discover myself, even if I do not always like what I find.

This world is filled with diversity. All I am called upon is to act in a way that is authentic.

I’m trying. (Yes, I paged through a thesaurus occasionally when I couldn’t find the exact word I wanted.) There is no immediate cure.  Only progress. Finishing this piece is a sign of progress.

Now, I will close my eyes and submit it. 

(Maybe I’ll keep one eye open.)


The sign most travelers remember is the one that can be seen clearly from I-65, “The World Famous Boobie Bungalow Club.” My favorite sign is smaller, but still impressive in blinking red neon – “Truckers Drink Free.”  It seems like some crazy inside joke between the club’s owner and the Tennessee state troopers.

The idea to work at Boobie Bungalow was not mine; it was my mother’s suggestion.  She had seen an ad in the Huntsville Times for waitresses wanted at the club. I still wonder if she had some secret, unfulfilled dream to work at a strip club.  By sending me with my friend, Siouxsie, she could experience all of the thrills and none of the consequences. Siouxsie and I drove from Huntsville, Alabama across the Tennessee state line and arrived in Ardmore for our interview.  

The club oozed charm – concrete floors – it has an almost warehouse feel.  There was a rudimentary stage up front (The Bungalow lacked a strippers’ pole – thank God.  I probably would have tried to use it and permanently injured myself.)

The owner, whose name was Bill, or Ken, or possibly Jim, (he’s dead now, so he won’t mind if I call him Bill) proved to be an exceptionally enthusiastic club owner.  After showing proof that we were over 18, Bill, eyes sparkling, produced the November issue of Cherry magazine to show us the four-page spread about Chesty Morgan, the next big star he had booked as a feature act.  

“She has midgets who come on stage with her, holding up her titties!” Bill gushed.  

I attempted my most earnest, “Of course. Tittie midgets. I can see why. That will really bring in customers,” but I managed only a mumbled, “Huh. Um. Huh.” Keeping my gaze fixed on Cherry’s spectacularly explicit level of porn required all of my concentration.  Crafting coherent commentary was impossible at that moment.

After passing our interview, (What, exactly, would it have taken to fail?), Bill asked if either of us wanted to work as a dancer that night, instead of waitressing.  I’d like to say I volunteered for the job because I am such a lousy waitress. While that is true, I must admit I was attracted to the promise of more money. Also, I have the ability to completely compartmentalize experiences.  Dissociation can be a blessing when it is conjured intentionally and a curse when it comes unbidden.

Along the left wall was a long wooden bar. There were only a few chairs there, because the was money to be made at the vinyl-topped tables where scantily clad – and obliging – waitresses served marked-up, watered-down whiskey and bottles of Budweiser.  Siouxsie, always a far better waitress than I, opted to stick with that role for the evening. Knowing her charms and experience as an aspiring actress, I had no doubt she would make a fortune in tips.

The crowd – audience? I’m not sure what the proper nomenclature is for patrons at a strip club – was what you would expect from anything referred to as, “World Famous,” showcased in a clearing just a few thousand yards from the wooded Interstate 65 that runs through southern Tennessee.

The Bungalow Club boasted quite the impressive (read: ear-piercing) sound system.  Before I went backstage to get dressed (undressed?) Bill lead me over to introduce me the DJ. I often wish I could remember the DJ’s name, because he schooled me in the crucial importance of selecting an effective stripper name.

“What’s your name and what are your two songs?” 

“My name is Heather. I don’t have two songs prepared.”

“Honey,” the DJ sighed, “you can’t use your real name.  If you want to make the cash, you need something with pizazz, like ‘Nikita Delight’ or ‘Lucky Lopez.’”

I thought for a few moments, and then blurted the first name that popped into my head.

“Amber St. Clare.”  

My mother was reading Forever Amber while she was pregnant with me and nearly named me Amber after Kathleen Windsor’s provincial-turned-courtesan.  I always will be grateful my father intervened.

As for my two songs, I cannot remember what I chose to be played second (I’d put big money on a Whitesnake song) but I know the first was Poison’s, “Talk Dirty to Me”.  Not too original, but I was a huge fan of 80’s hair bands – and, metaphorically, wasn’t I about to talk dirty to an entire room full of complete strangers?

You know how, when you see movies, all the leggy, impossibly beautiful showgirls are sitting gracefully – donning stunning costumes in front of Hollywood-style lighting?  They gossip and trade advice about men and makeup and seem to revel in the life they live. Backstage at the Bungalow Club was a rude awakening. I tried not to watch as one girl held another dancer’s hair back while she vomited into the toilet.  A second girl, who I soon learned went by, “Elektra Pryde,” sobbed uncontrollably at her mirrored reflection. Whispers around me revealed that a few hours earlier, Elektra’s boyfriend discovered she was stripping and cut off all of her long, dark hair as punishment.  

“Uh, hey . . .” I began. I had no idea what I was doing or how to continue. Unexpectedly, the girls were welcoming to me. In a flash, they transformed my hair and makeup, lent me costumes, and explained that the 6-foot Boa Constrictor in the cage behind the stage curtain was off limits to new girls. (Good note.)  The crowded dressing room was a confusing juxtaposition of glamour and pathos.

The Bungalow Club’s feature act that night was an impossibly buxom blonde named “Candy Apples.”  “Stars” command their own dressing room. Curious, I peered around the half-closed door. I still wish it we, as humans, possessed the power to un-see.  I stood, transfixed, observing an almost tender Eucharistic ritual, as a man (her manager I assumed) placed handfuls of multi-colored pills and capsules into Candy’s open mouth. Yet, there was no holy rapture in her eyes – only the unfocused stare of a helpless child.

When the time came for Candy to perform her act, the rest of the dancers were permitted to stand just offstage stage to watch.  She entered the stage area, her hair in two ponytails, dressed in a young child’s short white party dress. She pulled a red wagon and carried a doll in her arms.  The blankness of her eyes and the silicone enhancements were the only things that betrayed her as an adult. I watched her gyrate mechanically for the cheering crowd, and, as she removed the dress to reveal a sequined G-string, I was overcome by sorrow.  Despite the thunderous clapping and howling from the audience, tears welled in my eyes. I was afraid to let them fall; Elektra had painstakingly applied multiple layers of mascara to my eyes. Plus, there I was, standing in a sequin tube top and sparkly G-string the other girls had been kind enough to lend me for the night.  Who was I to judge Candy? Instead, I focused fury on her manager. I refused to believe any young girl could chose this life for herself. The cruel truth is, drugs and money can make almost anyone who stumbles into that life keep dancing and dancing, even when the dancing breeds so much pain.

Then, it was my turn.

When I stepped on to the stage, I was terrified, but only momentarily.  Images hit me in brief flashes. I saw men leaning on their elbows, crowding the stage.  I was less than 3 feet off the ground; they must have been seated at tables pushed up along the side of the platform.  I remember tanned arms, hands. Hands waving dollar bills.

Some of the crowd members grasped money firmly between their thumb and fist, while others displayed a five or ten wedged casually between two fingers.  They beckoned and motioned with their money toward their open mouths, hollering, whooping. Some lips pursed in a whistle. My mind wandered to oddly random places. I’ve always wanted to be able to whistle through my fingers, the way these men could.  The sound is so distinct. So shrill. I have often heard dogs summoned by their owners with that shrieking whistle. Now, I was the one expected to answer to that call.

The other girls had instructed me to “work my way” to topless.  I had two, three and a half minute songs to get through during my ‘set’. Layering seemed to be the key and a white sequined crop top covered my gold lame bikini bra.  It seemed odd that there was no buildup to my glittery G-string. I guess at the Bungalow Club, all the art is up top. (Do they specialize?)

Since that night, I have had the privilege to watch truly talented burlesque artists. They tease endlessly – tantalizing the audience by slowly, rhythmically shedding garter belts and spangled stockings. Oh, to be 20 with the knowledge of a forty-five year old.  I would have loved to have taken the stage, draped in a complex gilded tear-away gown. Undulating. Mesmerizing. Shedding each layer with grace and art, while my audience anticipates, cheering, even the deliberate removal of one long . . . taffeta . . . glove.

But I was already nearly naked in front of men jostling against each other as I leapt, gyrated, and rolled around on the thinly carpeted stage floor.

I am blessed with flexibility and I soon found doing the splits or some variation thereof resulted in more hands waving more dollar bills.  It became as much a game as a dance. If I bend this way . . . oh, polite applause. Backward shoulder roll into splits . . . huge reaction, but difficult to gather up the money. Rolling fan kick right downstage in front of the audience . . . best of both worlds. Roll and tuck the dollar bill. Roll and tuck – all the while, fumbling with the stings on the gold bikini. The sequined top had been abandoned – an obligatory casualty shed toward the middle of my first chosen song.

For the second song, I knew I was expected to be topless.  There was nothing artful about the deep breath I drew and then exhaled, dropping the tiny triangles of gold on to the floor.

Blissfully, at that moment, my brain compartmentalized or dissociated or did whatever it does for protection.

It used to bother me when I would lose time.  I would dissociate when I was under extreme stress or sensed I was in danger. It started small.  There was a bridge I had to take over the Tennessee River when driving from Huntsville to Tuscaloosa where I attended college.  No matter how intensely I would concentrate on remembering, I always found myself on the other side of the bridge with no recollection of the drive.  I suspect things like that happen to everyone at one time or another. You drive the same way to work each day, and after a while, you can’t really remember making the drive. 

The first time I lost a great deal of time was when my father came to visit me at the Menninger Clinic when I was a patient there in my early twenties.  He stayed for a week. I was so upset to have my routine at the hospital invaded by someone from the outside that I still cannot remember him being there at all.  I know that episode caused my dad a lot of emotional pain; I felt nothing but guilt for weeks after he left. I know he bought me new boots for hiking while he was there.  They were my only proof of his visit.

I don’t remember anything more about the Bungalow performance until I was standing, slightly breathless, leaning against the cool glass aquarium that held the boa constrictor (off limits). And I was done.

Another way a dancer could make money was to have customer “buy her a drink.”  The drink, in this case, was a $10 glass of water. For buying a dancer a drink, the customer received his thanks in the form of a table dance.  This was probably the hardest task I had to perform during the course of the night. Dancing on stage – with the lights in my eyes – I could barely see the people watching me, unless they came up to the stage to put money in my garter belt.

But with a table dance, I was alone, standing maybe a foot and a half away from one customer – having to make eye contact.  There was an . . . I don’t know . . . an intimacy (?) to table dances that prevented me from just shutting down. I could not manage to compartmentalize the way I could while dancing on stage.  To make myself that vulnerable for $10 felt wrong, but it was part of the job. I got through those table dances the best I could. I tried, each time, to go to that numb place in my mind, the place that lets me pretend I am only an observer of a situation, rather than a participant.  For some reason, my brain refused to let me retreat into myself. Some experiences even I cannot escape, I suppose.

At the end of the night, after the club had closed, the dancers gathered on stage to receive their hourly pay for the night.  The salary for an 8-hour shift at about $4.25 an hour was not where the bulk of a dancer’s money is made, but the conversation between Bill and some of the regular dancers revealed an aspect of the operation I would not have guessed.  It seemed Bill, conveniently, owned the apartment building where many of the girls lived. Basically, he would hand a girl money which she had to give back immediately to pay her rent. I strongly suspect that a similar income turnaround game was played with the drugs that were so prevalent in the dressing room.  Ironically, dancers were not allowed to drink while working. I presume that would have cut into the profits.

Over 20 years later, my Boobie Bungalow Club adventure remains one of the most important experiences in my life.  I had been fortunate enough to live, ever so briefly, among women whose everyday reality was an existence I had only read about in books or watched portrayed in films. For the first time, their world was real to me. In sharp contrast, my ‘real life’ was that of a recent college graduate with loving parents and a job lined up to work as a technical writer at NASA.  I had been dancing on a whim. The girls at the club had to dance to survive. I began the night a fraud, but I left that club with an experience that changed me. I no longer have the ability to judge or fear people that society often labels (arbitrarily) as “others”. I am grateful to Bill, Candy, Elektra, and the other Boobie Bungalow regulars for teaching me the import land lesson that we all share – our humanity – and, occasionally, sequin G-strings.

Do Genetics Determine Tendency Toward Alcohol Blackouts

An innovative study involving more than three thousand adult twins from Australia investigated the contributions of genetic and environmental factors to blacking and passing out after drinking. Twins are a vital resource for health research, including alcohol studies. By comparing the frequency of an outcome ─such as blackout ─among identical twins (who share a commonality of all genes) and fraternal twins (who share only half of their genes but similar environmental aspects), researchers can better understand the roles of genetic and environmental factors in influencing the outcome.


The participants in this study were between 27 and 40 years old. All had completed a computer-assisted telephone interview, answering questions on a variety of drinking behaviors and consequences – including their experience of blackouts, passing out, and intoxication. An essential part of the statistical evaluation was to control for how often participants became intoxicated – while the frequency of heavy drinking would affect the likelihood of blacking and passing out, the researchers wanted to look beyond individual differences in drinking habits to understand susceptibility.


Fifty-three percent of the participants reported having had at least one alcohol-induced blackout in their life; a similar proportion (56%) related passing out from alcohol. Although blacking out and passing out are strongly associated with each other. People who experience blackouts are more likely than others to have passed out after drinking, and vice versa ─their causes were different. The findings showed that after accounting for frequency of intoxication, susceptibility to blackout among men and women depends in part on the individual’s genetic make-up. However, genetic factors are less influential regarding the tendency to pass out. Here, environmental influences ─particularly ‘nonshared’ environmental factors that can differ between twins ─have a more significant role, especially in women. These influences might include social and cultural norms around alcohol use, the drinking context, and the type of alcohol consumed.


The Australian study is one of very few to investigate the contribution of genetic and environmental factors to people’s liability for alcohol-induced blacking and passing out. The results suggest that interventions should target possible harmful environmental influences. Women, particularly, are advised to avoid drinking game participation, mixing drinks and taking shots. The research results will aid future investigations and may help to reduce the negative consequences of heavy drinking

Suzy Tamasy

Creative Designer Making a Crucial Difference

Canadian fashion designer Suzy Tamasy is the founder SuzyQJewels & Frugal Divas. Seven years ago, this energetic idealist launched an exceptional initiative. Tamasy’s goal was – and still is – to alter the way our society encourages, honors, and invests in female entrepreneurs.  

I was remarkably fortunate to have the chance to interview Suzy; I am awestruck and deeply affected by the path that led Tamasy to found SuzyQJewels & Frugal Divas.

I began our conversation with something I assumed to be a straightforward question:

“Define fashion.”

The candor of Tamasy’s answer took me by complete surprise! Suzy revealed that she grew up in an abusive home – an experience that continually shapes the unwavering altruism of SuzyQJewels & Frugal Divas’ business model.

Tamasy studied  Pension Management at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario and is committed to sharing her expertise in managing money. By sharing business tips, Suzy assists other women in expanding other opportunities for growth in their lives. Tamasy provides everyday living tips on entertainment, home décor, and recycling innovations to help save our planet. Her passion is fashion and being an appearance stylist, and her goal is to assist to stop contributing to our landfill by recycling your clothing and giving back to the community

SuzyQJewels & Frugal Divas donates a portion of its sales to five different women’s shelters across the Toronto area. Ten percent of each total purchase is placed in a trust fund and evenly distributed among the shelters.

The organizations SuzyQJewels & Frugal Divas support enable women and children to leave abusive relationships by providing support and shelter while progressing toward a safer life. Tamasy’s organization helps ensure both the positive publicity and financial relief required to provide necessary free shelter, therapy, and counseling across Toronto. (In adherence to  privacy policies furthermore protect women’s safety, the names of some of the women’s shelters Suzy’s company works with are confidential.)

Launching her business part-time with pop-up shops in beauty salons,  Suzy’s first designs were handmade jewelry items made from recycled materials. For five years, Tamasy worked out of a home office. As her organization continues to grow, Suzy is crafting a “mini-empire.” In addition to the services and products on, a virtual consignment shop on Facebook now offers a new SuzyQJewels & Frugal Divas clothing line.

How Free Trade Reduces Global Poverty: Facts You Need to Know

A sharp increase in the number of developing countries participating in trade corresponds with an equally dramatic decline in extreme global poverty. Developing countries now comprise 48 percent of world trade. This statistic reflects a nearly 1.5 percent increase since 2000. The number of individuals subsisting in extreme poverty has halved since 1990 to fewer than one billion people. Free trade reduces global poverty by accelerating the quantity and quality of employment opportunities in developing countries by stimulating economic growth. Moreover, it encourages increases in productivity.

Indonesia’s Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati indicates Indonesia will apply to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the future. According to Indrawati, global trade tariffs will not hurt Indonesia now but could in future. “The direction is towards the (TPP), but we have to address a lot of structural issues. That is why the Indonesian government is paying attention to connectivity, human capital and reform to the ease of doing business,” Indrawati says.


So, if free trade reduces global poverty, why do governments protect specific industries at the expense of the rest of the economy? Some enterprises have built up enormous political influence over time, including by making large donations to political parties and campaigns. Specific industries wield wildly successful Public Relations machines that convince the public to support measures to protect them, personally, and to oppose projects that might expose them to foreign competition.


After the United States abandoned plans to join the TPP trade agreement, 11 other countries decided to revive it and signed a revised version in March. Now participating are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.


Indrawati says Indonesia’s trade focus in future will not focus solely on TPP nations. “I think we are going to make sure that Indonesia focuses on non-traditional markets. We are going to look at central Asia as well as India and Africa.” The Finance Minister fears the anti-trade movement sweeping several areas of the world will hinder global efforts to propel millions out of poverty.


Data from Indonesia’s Statistics Agency (BPS) indicates Indonesia’s absolute poverty increased from 27.76 million in September 2016 to 27.77 million people in March 2017. In contrast, Indonesia’s relative poverty figure fell from 10.70 percent of the population in September 2016 to 10.64 percent in March 2017. Rising absolute poverty accompanied by declining relative poverty results from Indonesia’s growing population. The country’s population presently numbers about 261 million people.


The Indonesian economy expanded at a solid pace in the third quarter of 2017. Commodity tailwinds and increased domestic and external demand propelled this growth according to the World Bank’s December 2017 Indonesia Economic Quarterly. Indonesia’s gross domestic product growth increased from 5.0 percent between the second quarter of 2017 to 5.1 percent in the third quarter. Investment growth jumped to its highest level in more than four years and foreign direct investment recorded the most significant net inflow in more than seven years. Export and import volumes had not experienced double-digit gains since 2012.


The World Bank noted in a previous report that, “sustained long-term poverty reduction depends on stimulating economic growth, which in turn depends on trade policy reform.” They concluded that, consistently, free trade reduces global poverty.


Free trade and reducing trade costs are imperative to producing gains for the poor. A range of coordinated policies helps maximize the benefits of openness for the poor, particularly programs relating to human and physical resources, access to finance, governance and organizations or macroeconomic security.  Innovative policy frameworks that improve consultation with the poor, and target their needs more carefully could help reduce poverty. To achieve this will require dedicated cooperation across sectors, a cooperative effort across government departments and offices and encourage a broader range of stakeholders to work together effectively.


According to Tim Worstall of “Forbes” magazine, “if you’re pro-poor, then you really should be vehemently pro-free trade and globalization. Those are the two things that have led to the most significant reduction in poverty in our history. Therefore, they have been the two most effective instruments for reducing poverty in history.”


Analyzing statistics from 92 countries over a 40-year period, economists David Dollar and Aart Kraay found that “growth-enhancing policies and institutions, including openness to international trade, low inflation, moderate size of government, financial development, and strong property rights and the rule of law.” The income of the poor rises to the same degree that it increases the revenue of the other economic groups. Pro-growth policies enable conditions for low-income families to increase both production and income.


According to the Brooking Institution, worldwide economic growth is the result of the rise of globalization, the expansion of capitalism and the improving quality of economic governance. Collectively these factors have permitted the developing world to begin uniting on the subject of advanced economy incomes after centuries of division. The poor countries that demonstrate the most significant success today are those who engage with the global economy, allowing market prices to balance supply and demand and to allocate scarce resources, and pursuing sensible and strategic economic policies to spur investment, trade and job creation. This effective combination allows the present to differ from the trend of flat growth and intractable poverty of the past.


Urban Peak Colorado Springs


UPCS-logo-1-400x300YOU are the spark that ignites the potential in youth to exit homelessness and lead self-determined, fulfilled lives. Lives like the one Hayden has built for himself.

Hayden, now 28, who from age 18 to 21 relied on Urban Peak when his grandparents asked him to leave home after coming out, telling him that he was “an abomination.”

You can read Hayden’s Spark Interview by clicking here. YOU are the spark that ignites the potential in youth to exit homelessness and lead self-determined, fulfilled lives. Lives like the one Hayden has built for himself.