What is an entrenched issue?

中国日报网 2016-01-12 11:52



What is an entrenched issue?

Reader question:

What is an “entrenched issue”? As in, for example, “The current refugee crisis adds a new layer to an entrenched issue.”

My comments:

Are we talking about the refugee crisis in Europe?

Any way, describing the refugee crisis as an entrenched issue means that it’s a persisting problem, a problem that’s been there for a long time and is probably not going to completely go away any time soon.

In other words, it is a difficult problem to solve.

All you have to do is to get back to the root of the word “entrenched” to get the hang of it.

Yes, “trench” is the root word I’m referring to. A trench, you see, is a long narrow hole dug in the ground. Soldiers, for example, dig trenches for protection.

Entrenched, yes, as in entrenched interests, means it’s deep-rooted and well established and therefore hard to remove.

Let me give you a few examples. Poverty is an entrenched problem worldwide. Even though the world has enough food to feed its people, many still go hungry and fail to put a roof over their head. It is, partially, responsibly for the refugee crisis in Europe and elsewhere.

Inequality is an entrenched problem. Even though it is easily explained and more or less accepted that all men are created equal, many still (feel compelled to) kowtow to authority and women continue to draw a smaller paycheck than their male counterpart doing the same work.

Race in America is an entrenched issue, obviously. This is a problem that goes all the way back to the slave trade and the founding of the United States itself.

Air pollution in Beijing is an entrenched problem. It’s been there for years and politicians have been working on it for equally long but still it remains and looks to be progressively getting worse. Beijingers, cough-cough, count on the next wind to blow pollutants away.

As to the reasons for entrenched issues…. Well, they are varied and deep-rooted too – That’s why the problems become entrenched.

Okay, here are media examples of various entrenched issues facing people here and here:

1. UNEMPLOYMENT among young people is at a staggering level when compared to the total estimated unemployment rate for the nation.

The overall national unemployment rate for March this year was steady at 5.5per cent.

The unemployment rate is the percentage of people in the labour force who are unemployed. The definition of employment is very generous though, as anyone who works for at least one hour or more a week for pay or profit is considered employed. Applying this definition doesn’t help in capturing the true extent of underemployment – those people who would like more work or a full-time job. This month’s Statistical Bulletin released by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library reported that “in February 2013 there were 65,000 young people actively looking for full-time work, an increase of 3800 on the previous month”.

The overall youth unemployment rate is 26.3per cent, which reflects the highest point since July 2009 when it was also 26.3per cent.

This is an entrenched issue as the youth unemployment rate is 10.1per cent higher than November 2008, prior to the global financial crisis (GFC).

- Unemployment count masks a grim reality, TheHerald.com.au, April 21, 2013.

2. The government has “failed to act” on the causes of the Manchester and Salford riots, the area’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said.

The city saw rioting on 9 August 2011, following similar trouble in London.

Tony Lloyd said only 11 of the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel’s 63 recommendations had been accepted, showing the government’s “contempt” to those “left to pick up the pieces”.

Communities minister Brandon Lewis said “practical action” had been taken.

More than 200 people were prosecuted following the riots, which saw businesses damaged in Manchester city centre and Salford Shopping City in Pendleton.


Mr Lewis said the panel’s “comprehensive report” showed that “in the immediate aftermath of the riots, the government acted swiftly to rebuild affected communities and help people get their lives back on track”.

He added: “We took practical action to tackle the problems behind the violence and developed policies which are starting to show real results in dealing with some of the more entrenched issues raised in the panel’s report.

“We can all learn lessons from the events witnessed in August 2011 and have a responsibility to ensure that we never see a repeat of those shocking scenes.”

- Government ‘failed to act’ over Manchester and Salford riots, BBC.com, August 9, 2013.

3. Communities around the United States seeking federal housing grants will soon be required to grapple with segregation and inequality in housing under new federal rules announced Wednesday.

The rules will require towns and cities to study patterns of segregation and how they are linked to access to jobs, high-quality schools and public transportation. Then, the municipalities must submit goals for improving fair access to housing. Steps could include integrating communities or more evenly distributing services.

“A ZIP Code should never prevent any person from reaching their aspirations,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro said in announcing the regulations.

The rules, another instance of the Obama administration using its executive power to take on an entrenched issue, clarify how grant recipients must meet a standard that was set in the Fair Housing Act of 1968 — but has been inconsistently enforced.

Advocates also hope the rules will lead to the building of more affordable housing in wealthier areas.

- New HUD rules aim to ease segregation in housing, LATimes.com, July 9, 2015.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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