The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #78659   Message #1417523
Posted By: GUEST,Joe_F
22-Feb-05 - 11:17 AM
Thread Name: BS: Why do we need poverty?
Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
Greed is neither a sufficient nor a necessary explanation. One thing greedy people do is go into business; and poor people make poor customers. Another thing they do is become robbers; but successful robbers rob where the money is.

The poor as a reservoir of cheap labor were probably important in the early stages of industrialization. But the tendency of capitalism, thru investment in capital, is to lessen the relative importance of labor as a factor in production. Sure, if the Chinese & the Brazilians had the same standard of living as the U.S., clothes & coffee would be somewhat more expensive here, but not overwhelmingly so. Peasants & sweatshop workers are not the foundation on which the economy rests, however that may have been 150 years ago.

For prosperous people, greedy or otherwise, the poor are mainly an expensive nuisance. We haven't gotten rid of them, IMO, because nobody knows how to organize it. Wealth & poverty are a sort of condensation phenomenon, like the segregation of water molecules into liquid & vapor in some ranges of temperature & pressure. Whether that is a disequilibrium that will disappear with the further accumulation of capital, or is an equilibrium that with require a fundamental, noneconomic restructuring of society to sort out, probably depends on details that are hard to sort out. I am suspicious of people who say they know.

--- Joe Fineman

||: There's no foolishness like old foolishness. :||