A look at some of the mechanisms that create our distinctions between like people and ‘others’.
It’s common in this country to look down the socio-economic ladder and blame people beneath us for their circumstances while we look up the ladder and lionize the wealthy as better, worthy, and more deserving. Until we overcome this prejudice against the poor we’re not going to come up with solutuons which actually do long term good.
Research consistently finds that Americans exhibit a disturbing level of antipathy towards those on the economic margins. in the case of people living in poverty, it creates manmade barriers to the social inclusion and economic mobility of vulnerable people and communities.
Othering uses bonds of shared identity to deny empathy and a sense of belonging to others. It gives elites and dominant groups an excuse to see social problems as distant pathologies, rather than soluble crises affecting people who are like them.
if we continue to see these brothers and sisters of ours as people who do not really belong in our country, we are not likely to support policies that actually lift them up into economic self-sufficiency.
the equal dignity of all people. And that entails a deliberate, conscious effort to bridge the growing physical, cultural, and emotional gaps that increasingly set low-income people apart as something other than the rest of America.
We are a nation comprised of people with huge variation in our racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds—and in our current economic status. But there are many things we share, and not least among them is the fact that almost everyone is descended from people whose families experienced poverty and marginalization. We respect our ancestors by recognizing and claiming today’s poor people as our brothers and sisters, and by rebuilding a society and an economy capable of creating greater justice for everyone.
A few corporations are tearng apart our world while handing us scraps, and yet we love them. This is one of those articles to ignore, but it had a few words worth sharing.
the tech industry is decimating the rest of the planet’s wealth and stability.
Its companies — especially the Frightful Five of Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft, which employ a select and privileged few — look poised to systematically gut much of the rest of the economy. And while Silicon Valley’s technologies could vastly improve our lives, we are now learning that they may also destabilize great portions of the social fabric — letting outsiders wreak havoc on our elections, fostering distrust and conspiracy theories in the media, sowing ever-greater levels of inequality, and cementing a level of corporate control over culture and society unseen since the days of the Robber Barons.
Should the Middle Class Invest in Risky Tech Start-Ups? https://nyti.ms/2yrOwLi
The Constitution was designed at a time when there wasn’t any meaningful inequality among the white property owner class which wrote it.
The problem is that our constitutional system might not survive in an unequal economy. Campaign contributions, lobbying, the revolving door of industry insiders working in government, interest group influence over regulators and even think tanks — all of these features of our current political system skew policy making to favor the wealthy and entrenched economic interests. “The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest,” Gouverneur Morris observed in 1787. “They always did. They always will.” An oligarchy — not a republic — is the inevitable result.
Theodore Roosevelt wrote, “There can be no real political democracy unless there is something approaching an economic democracy.”
For all its resilience and longevity, our Constitution doesn’t have structural checks built into it to prevent oligarchy or populist demagogues. It was written on the assumption that America would remain relatively equal economically. Even the father of the Constitution understood this. Toward the end of his life, Madison worried that the number of Americans who had only the “bare necessities of life” would one day increase. When it did, he concluded, the institutions and laws of the country would need to be adapted, and that task would require “all the wisdom of the wisest patriots.”
Our Constitution Wasn’t Built for This https://nyti.ms/2y5UDEK
Is it morally acceptable for a small number of people to have most of the wealth if they “meritorious” or “good people”?
Or rather, is it morally preferable to have a society in which such enormous gaps don’t exist regardless of how “nice” those at the top are?
These efforts respond to widespread judgments of the individual behaviors of wealthy people as morally meritorious or not. Yet what’s crucial to see is that such judgments distract us from any possibility of thinking about redistribution. When we evaluate people’s moral worth on the basis of where and how they live and work, we reinforce the idea that what matters is what people do, not what they have. With every such judgment, we reproduce a system in which being astronomically wealthy is acceptable as long as wealthy people are morally good.
Calls from liberal and left social critics for advantaged people to recognize their privilege also underscore this emphasis on individual identities. For individual people to admit that they are privileged is not necessarily going to change an unequal system of accumulation and distribution of resources.
Instead, we should talk not about the moral worth of individuals but about the moral worth of particular social arrangements. Is the society we want one in which it is acceptable for some people to have tens of millions or billions of dollars as long as they are hardworking, generous, not materialistic and down to earth? Or should there be some other moral rubric, that would strive for a society in which such high levels of inequality were morally unacceptable, regardless of how nice or moderate its beneficiaries are?
What the Rich Won’t Tell You https://nyti.ms/2xgXQoV
Building back the same way in Houston will doom us repeat history.
Congress and state legislatures disburse emergency funds, which are then offset in budgets with cuts to social services and public spending. We are seemingly in a permanently reactive mode, with money often going to rebuild “back to normal” as though this is proof of bravery in the face of tremendous uncertainty. Recovery from previous disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, has had regressive effects, heightening the disparities between rich and poor and perpetuating systemic racism.
We should plan recovery and rebuilding projects that address local poverty and exclusion, rather than line the pockets of developers. We should commit expenditures to the kinds of projects that mitigate climate change, like clean energy and public transportation. And we should strengthen our safety nets so that when the next storm’s victims are picking up the pieces, they are not also worried about job insecurity, rising health care costs and precarious retirements.
In Hurricane Harvey’s Wake, We Need a Green ‘New Deal’ https://nyti.ms/2eI4OIG
Going backward by reducing regulation of the financial industry will not help citizens.
The calls for deregulation come from greedy businessmen who put their interest and personal profit ahead of what’s best for the citizens of our country.
On top of that they are too lazy to seek business solutions which drive profit while keeping the financial system safe. There are ways to have both, but it takes more effort.
The real issue is do we have meritocracy or a kleptocracy?
Yellen Warns Against Erasing Regulations Made After Financial Crisis https://nyti.ms/2w45pxm
This fella is on to something. Let poor families help themselves to determine solutions.
We’re trying to elevate this concept of “no service.” We’d like to take the money that programs would normally spend on social workers and instead make it available as scholarships or investments or loans. That would parallel the kinds of benefits that we give to the rich because society thinks they create the jobs.
When Families Lead Themselves Out of Poverty https://nyti.ms/2uXDlIa