blue bits. red rocks.

On solving poverty


People want to “think out of the box” and cast poverty or inequality as “eminently solvable”. I’m going to go with no, no it isn’t. I don’t subscribe to that particular weekly. Which isn’t to say that inequality is right - it isn’t - or that I like it. I don’t.

But at the end of the day, I’m insulated from poverty. It doesn’t affect me, so I can “care” without investing any hope into the process. Hope is unnecessary and useless in my worldview. I pay my taxes and give what I can, but beyond that? I’m buying high walls and ammunition before I’m buying the lie that humanity can or will be saved.

This makes me the particular breed of disgusting cracker that pays for rehab but would never take a crackhead into his home. I vote for “systemic solutions” while simultaneously maintaining the conviction that they will fail or never be implemented. That’s because I know that if I throw people enough bones, they’ll get busy chewing on them. Which means they never get back to me.

It’s called limousine liberalism, and being the lesser of many evils, and you best believe the tires on this thing are bulletproof.

But poverty is indeed “solvable”, and this (these United States of America) nation’s economic history is replete with illustration (as well as some other “first world” nations, now further along on the arc of economic justice).

Most Americans today take the existence of a middle class for granted. But it wasn’t always so. And not just in the vast timeline of civilization where economic fortunes have for most of 6+ millenium been pyramid shaped, that is, a few elites on top, a small band of middle class denizens, and then all the rest squabbling for crumbs. But in America too was mired too in this model (even despite advancing economic progress, which did not “trickle down”, and treated most workers as fodder), until the 20th century, when such “welfare state” (as decried by the cult of the right) measures transformed that pyramid shape into a more egalitarian, greater equality “diamond” — with the “middle class” now the wide band in the middle, but yet a small number still in poverty, most of which was due to the legacy of Jim Crow.

Even Lyndon Johnson “War on Poverty”, much scorned by conservatives and neoconservatives, drastically cut poverty.

And what happened here and in other economically enlightened nations can happen anywhere in the world; despite the authoritarian and institutionally corrupt patterns in place that have thwarted it thus far. Or even reverse the Social Darwinist course the U.S. has been charting since the Age of Reagan.

For a bright young man, sometimes you sound like a scowling uncle after knocking down a half-dozen whiskey sours.

(Source: squashed, via thecallus-deactivated20130520)


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