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BS: Why do we need poverty?

hesperis 21 Feb 05 - 11:54 PM
number 6 22 Feb 05 - 12:08 AM
Little Hawk 22 Feb 05 - 12:32 AM
Bert 22 Feb 05 - 01:48 AM
alanabit 22 Feb 05 - 03:44 AM
mooman 22 Feb 05 - 03:44 AM
Piers 22 Feb 05 - 04:57 AM
Jeanie 22 Feb 05 - 05:49 AM
Jeanie 22 Feb 05 - 05:50 AM
wysiwyg 22 Feb 05 - 10:38 AM
Bill D 22 Feb 05 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Joe_F 22 Feb 05 - 11:17 AM
Piers 22 Feb 05 - 12:19 PM
mg 22 Feb 05 - 12:43 PM
Little Hawk 22 Feb 05 - 12:52 PM
hesperis 22 Feb 05 - 01:28 PM
Richard Bridge 22 Feb 05 - 02:35 PM
Piers 22 Feb 05 - 02:40 PM
hesperis 22 Feb 05 - 04:05 PM
Georgiansilver 22 Feb 05 - 04:42 PM
Little Hawk 22 Feb 05 - 05:00 PM
hesperis 22 Feb 05 - 05:32 PM
Bobert 22 Feb 05 - 06:05 PM
Little Hawk 22 Feb 05 - 07:46 PM
mg 22 Feb 05 - 09:34 PM
hesperis 22 Feb 05 - 10:28 PM
Little Hawk 22 Feb 05 - 11:09 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Feb 05 - 11:50 PM
Kaleea 22 Feb 05 - 11:56 PM
Amos 23 Feb 05 - 12:13 AM
Piers 23 Feb 05 - 04:15 AM
Bobert 23 Feb 05 - 07:57 AM
hesperis 23 Feb 05 - 11:22 PM
mg 23 Feb 05 - 11:44 PM
Little Hawk 24 Feb 05 - 12:25 PM
Don Firth 24 Feb 05 - 05:12 PM
Bobert 24 Feb 05 - 05:29 PM
hesperis 24 Feb 05 - 05:30 PM
Piers 25 Feb 05 - 03:31 AM
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number 6 26 Feb 05 - 11:23 AM
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Jim Tailor 26 Feb 05 - 01:27 PM
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dianavan 26 Feb 05 - 01:57 PM
Little Hawk 26 Feb 05 - 02:04 PM
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Little Hawk 26 Feb 05 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Obie 26 Feb 05 - 04:35 PM
CarolC 26 Feb 05 - 04:42 PM
CarolC 26 Feb 05 - 04:49 PM
dianavan 26 Feb 05 - 04:49 PM
hesperis 27 Feb 05 - 10:36 PM
number 6 27 Feb 05 - 10:43 PM
Little Hawk 27 Feb 05 - 10:55 PM
hesperis 27 Feb 05 - 11:01 PM
mg 27 Feb 05 - 11:49 PM
CarolC 28 Feb 05 - 12:06 AM
Little Hawk 28 Feb 05 - 12:52 AM
number 6 28 Feb 05 - 01:17 AM
Little Hawk 28 Feb 05 - 08:55 AM
Piers 28 Feb 05 - 09:16 AM
Little Hawk 28 Feb 05 - 09:19 AM
Bobert 28 Feb 05 - 09:36 AM
John Hardly 28 Feb 05 - 09:57 AM
Piers 28 Feb 05 - 10:52 AM
dianavan 28 Feb 05 - 12:31 PM
hesperis 28 Feb 05 - 01:04 PM
dianavan 28 Feb 05 - 01:37 PM
Don Firth 28 Feb 05 - 02:06 PM
CarolC 28 Feb 05 - 02:11 PM
hesperis 28 Feb 05 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Obie 28 Feb 05 - 04:13 PM
Don Firth 28 Feb 05 - 04:35 PM
Bobert 28 Feb 05 - 04:44 PM
Little Hawk 28 Feb 05 - 05:02 PM
John Hardly 28 Feb 05 - 05:17 PM
Bobert 28 Feb 05 - 05:23 PM
John Hardly 28 Feb 05 - 05:30 PM
CarolC 28 Feb 05 - 06:41 PM
CarolC 28 Feb 05 - 06:42 PM
Bobert 28 Feb 05 - 06:48 PM
John Hardly 28 Feb 05 - 07:20 PM
Bobert 28 Feb 05 - 07:50 PM
hesperis 28 Feb 05 - 08:24 PM
Bobert 28 Feb 05 - 08:46 PM
dianavan 28 Feb 05 - 11:49 PM
John Hardly 01 Mar 05 - 06:52 AM
Bobert 01 Mar 05 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Obie 01 Mar 05 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Obie 01 Mar 05 - 09:58 AM
CarolC 01 Mar 05 - 12:05 PM
Don Firth 01 Mar 05 - 12:50 PM
John Hardly 01 Mar 05 - 01:06 PM
Piers 01 Mar 05 - 01:27 PM
Piers 01 Mar 05 - 01:43 PM
Piers 01 Mar 05 - 01:53 PM
Bobert 01 Mar 05 - 05:04 PM
John Hardly 01 Mar 05 - 05:45 PM
Bobert 01 Mar 05 - 10:00 PM
Jeep man 01 Mar 05 - 11:44 PM
Bobert 02 Mar 05 - 08:08 AM
mg 02 Mar 05 - 12:43 PM
Bobert 02 Mar 05 - 06:24 PM
dianavan 02 Mar 05 - 09:12 PM
mg 02 Mar 05 - 11:00 PM
Bobert 02 Mar 05 - 11:37 PM
mg 02 Mar 05 - 11:58 PM
John Hardly 03 Mar 05 - 07:46 AM
Bobert 03 Mar 05 - 08:22 AM
John Hardly 03 Mar 05 - 08:41 AM
GUEST 03 Mar 05 - 11:33 AM
hesperis 03 Mar 05 - 03:03 PM
hesperis 04 Mar 05 - 03:44 PM
mg 04 Mar 05 - 03:46 PM
Bobert 04 Mar 05 - 06:17 PM
John Hardly 04 Mar 05 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,mg 04 Mar 05 - 06:58 PM
Bobert 04 Mar 05 - 07:09 PM
goodbar 04 Mar 05 - 09:38 PM
hesperis 04 Mar 05 - 10:18 PM
Bobert 04 Mar 05 - 10:27 PM
dianavan 04 Mar 05 - 10:40 PM
mg 05 Mar 05 - 12:39 AM
Little Hawk 05 Mar 05 - 01:23 AM
Bobert 05 Mar 05 - 08:04 PM
hesperis 05 Mar 05 - 08:42 PM
Bobert 05 Mar 05 - 09:05 PM
CarolC 05 Mar 05 - 09:18 PM
Bobert 05 Mar 05 - 09:45 PM
mg 05 Mar 05 - 10:26 PM
Little Hawk 06 Mar 05 - 12:29 AM
Blissfully Ignorant 06 Mar 05 - 07:38 AM
Bobert 06 Mar 05 - 07:57 AM
Little Hawk 06 Mar 05 - 10:24 AM
Blissfully Ignorant 06 Mar 05 - 10:38 AM
John Hardly 06 Mar 05 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Heidebundt Pikelmaas, Arms Dealer 06 Mar 05 - 04:29 PM
Bobert 06 Mar 05 - 08:08 PM
hesperis 08 Mar 05 - 12:36 PM
John Hardly 08 Mar 05 - 05:37 PM

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Subject: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 11:54 PM

Why do we need some people to starve? Why do we need some people to become unable to work? Why do we need huge military budgets and small social assistance budgets? Why do we let children grow up malnourished all the way into incapable adults? Why is it necessary that the playing field be so uneven that some never even have the chance to get on that field?

And why, do we let this happen in the richest countries in the world, those with great natural resources and innovations and wealth?

Much more useful a question than "why do we need money" because it is self-evident that we do need something to fulfill the role that money holds so well. But why do we need poverty? There doesn't seem to be any good in it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: number 6
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 12:08 AM

who said we need poverty ??

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 12:32 AM

Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were asking that very question when they launched a successful revolution in Cuba that threw out the Mafia and a bunch of big American companies that ran everything in Cuba. The CIA eventually killed Che, and they have tried to kill Fidel many times, but not succeeded. Their bosses seem to think we do need poverty...in certain places and for certain people. In Cuba, a rather poor country, all medical care is for free. In the USA, a very rich country, the largest current cause of middle class people being driven into bankruptcy according to a recent article I read, is being utterly unable to pay absolutely necessary medical bills.

Most countries in western Europe provide socialized medical funding to protect their public. Canada does too, but NOT for dental. The USA basically doesn't, period.

Why? Greed on the part of the wealthy at the top of the system. Greed on the part of American voters, who imagine they are getting a "tax break" by privatizing everything. Greed on the part of politicians who make misleading propaganda about tax breaks to get themselves elected, and who suck up to big drug companies and medical associations and military contractors. Add to that sheer ignorance on the part of an American voting public that is told from cradle to grave that they live in "the greatest society on Earth". Ha. What a sad, sad joke it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bert
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 01:48 AM

wE NEED POVERTY TO KEEP THE bUSH FAMILY IN RICHES


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: alanabit
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 03:44 AM

In the Thatcher scheme of things - economic liberalism as it was so charmingly called, there had to be a punishment for "failure". This was made clear in the speeches of Sir Keith Joseph and other acolytes years before she took power. The idea caught on, didn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: mooman
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 03:44 AM

Agree with Little Hawk for the most part, except the problem isn't exclusively American. It's due to greed in general by those who already have the most and the underlying political system that supports them.

Peace

moo

(Good on Hesperis for starting an important "BS" thread (and best regards to her too))


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Piers
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 04:57 AM

[i]'Much more useful a question than "why do we need money" because it is self-evident that we do need something to fulfill the role that money holds so well.'[/i]

Is it self-evident that we need money [to trade goods and services]? It is certainly evident that as long as the capitalist/market/money system has existed there has been poverty. People have been trying for hundreds of years to eradicate poverty within the capitalist system, it doesn't work. Unfashionable as it is to say so the world is still divided into those who own the means of producing things and those that don't. Those that don't possess the means of living are forced to sell their labour to those that do. This is the basis of poverty. Labour is a commodity, if there is no buyer it goes unsold with disasterous consequences for the seller, or if - because the basis of labour consumption in capitalism is the ability to return a profit - the value of that labour doesn't buy a decent standard of living.

No matter how much fair pay, fairtrade, welfare state and charity we get we are only treating the symptoms of the disease. The cure is for the means of living to be in the possession of all and used in the interests of all through democratic control. Production for use, not production for profit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Jeanie
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 05:49 AM

Take a look at this website:Make Poverty Hisotry

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Jeanie
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 05:50 AM

Sorry - it should be "Make Poverty History" - but the link above works, nevertheless !

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 10:38 AM

A capitalist society needs poverty (and a class of poverts) to threaten the working folks-- in at least two forms which are usually alternated as needed:

1. "Comply with [insert latest ripoff or wrongness] or you'll wind up like THEM."

2. "We can always replace you with one of THEM-- they would love to have your job."

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 11:12 AM

poverty is mostly relative. There are 'poor' in this country who would be considered quite comfortable in 3rd world countries. The only way to avoid poverty is to have WAY more resources and land and food and water than the population needs. (some island paradises used to have something like this, before they were shown TV and motorboats and other manufactured goods.)

Reduce the population enough so that there is not struggle for basics and there are jobs for everyone and we can come close to eliminating realpoverty...but relative poverty will always be here as long as some people are too dumb, unlucky, unhealthy, unmotivated to cope with getting their share, while others are smarter, luckier, greedier and motivated to get more than their share...even in the midst of plenty.

You will NOT solve the problem with any known political system, as the only solutions are unthinkable to the short-term mindsets of the politicians.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 11:17 AM

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    joe_f@verizon.net

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


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Piers
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 12:19 PM

I think you are right about greed Joe F. But inequality in the 'developed' world is increasing, in income as well as wealth possesion so I don't see how you can suggest that the 'disequilibrium' might disappear. Surely as long as the social relations of capital and labour exist, there is poverty of control over the means of production which results in poverty of income because holders of capital can command assets that yield profit whereas the majority have only their labour to sell.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: mg
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 12:43 PM

Poverty isn't necessary, although some people will always be unable to support themselves. That is a given. The guy who started the miniloan program calculated how much money it would take through miniloans to eliminate poverty and it really was doable. What we need to do is just assume that x number of people can not take care of themselves, and y number of people could with some education, push here and there, and make-work programs if necessary, in turning helping those who can not help themselves, such as elderly, etc. There are educational funds that for generations have gone either untouched or misused, and I mean vocational education funds. We should never graduate a student without training in some field, ready and wearing to go to work, and of course I mean high school. Junior high students at least should have basic skills in cleaning, entry level cooking etc. Then we need to hit, and hit hard, the social behaviors that lead directly to poverty, not just for those who engage in them, but they bring down others as well. The two main ones are drug use, aprticularly now meth, and too early and/or irresponsible pregnancy. Cut down on those behaviors and watch the poverty rate drop drop drop. And don't bother to tell me poor people must use meth because it alleviates their pain somehow. It doesn't matter; they still don't get to in my book. (And I am all for alleviating real pain through morphine, marijuana or whatever it takes).

Now, people have to take back some of their own means of production. If they have land, they should be growing some permanent crops, like apples, blueberries, etc. Most of them should know how to sew, cook, treat minor illnesses and wounds. Anyone who can should be acquiring renewable energy sources at home..solar lamps, panels, wind chimes, whatever. A good percentage of our high school students who are now some of them learning "to be useless" as a department chair put it, should be learning to build simple concrete block or other type houses.

Yes, we should have universal medical care, public housing where the residents neither destroy the property nor terrorize other tenants, safe and pleasant homes for the mentally ill, elderly etc. We absolutly have to look at the foster care situation. There are so many abuses. Some of the currently unemployed should be house parents in children's houses or little villages.

We need to find ways to distribute perfectly good items that now end up in our landfills. We need to secure our farmland, both from being turned into other uses, and from terrorism. We need to encourage simple lifestyles, good money management etc. A lot can be done right now, right from here. I give it 10 seconds before someone says I am blaming the victim. I am not. I want to house and feed everyone and put them to work if the economy itself can not. Then I wnt to step back and leave them alone to work it out as they please. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 12:52 PM

Something quite notable has happened since the collapse of Communism in Russia...triggered mainly by their inability to afford a high-tech arms race with the USA, and thus their inability to properly modernize their civilian infrastructure...and aggravated by their totalitarian and archaic political system.

What has happened is the opposite of what was predicted in the exulting capitalist press. What was predicted was a "Peace Dividend"! Remember that? Ah, yes, things were supposed to get much better for everyone now that the Cold War was over, because all that money spent on arms would now go to improving societies.

That was the big lie. The Peace Dividend never happened. With the Communist bloc removed from the scene...thus vanishing as an effective political opposition...the capitalist societies began dismantling and downsizing their social services, while continuing massive spending on weapons and preparation for future wars...with whom, was the question? A new enemy must be found in order to justify such spending.

A new enemy had already been nicely incubated by the CIA in its successful attempt to bring down the Soviet Union. That new enemy was the militant Muslim fundamentalists, most notably concentrated in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. They had been handy for attacking Russia. They would now prove handy for provoking further crises, and for taking over or gaining access to parts of the World where there is a hell of a lot of oil...namely, the Middle East and the Caspian region.

The Peace Dividend never happened. We were on a war kick under Reagan, and we have continued on a war kick ever since. The Bush administration has done this more openly than any other, having been given the perfect excuse to by 911. They are building an overseas oil empire under the guise of fighting terrorism. They are committing terrorism on a far larger scale than anyone else is.

Every civilian population in the World has been robbed by this cynical and destructive program of promising one thing and delivering another thing entirely. Eastern Europeans were promised freedom and prosperity. They got some freedom, all right...along with a catastrophic loss of jobs, a sharp rise in poverty, a huge rise in crime, and a huge rise in corruption. There's no going back now...they must struggle through and build a new society for themselves. It won't be easy. They were lied to. So were the rest of us.

Without a viable socialist alternative in the World, the capitalist systems will be happy to privatize everything they possibly can, do away with as many social services as possible, and worsen the gap between rich and poor in most places. The results will not be good, not good at all. It's a recipe for war and revolution in many places. Poverty and excess, side by side, are the hallmark of the ruling system in the World at this time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 01:28 PM

There was poverty before the capitalist system... however it was much more localized. If your crops didn't do well, you starved. Money enables an exchange of goods and services at a much higher level of abstraction, and also enables people to become specialized... which raises the quality of life for all those who can afford those specialized services.

And it is money that could help to alleviate true poverty - which I define as the lack of health, basic food, basic housing and basic contribution to society. Money simply allows a greater overall wealth than is possible in a simple barter system. It has the potential to be used in a way to enable more human beings to have the basics. Then once more human beings have the basics, there will be more human beings capable of contributing real value to the local and global society.

Poverty itself may not need to be eradicated, only redefined. What if the poor were those who were well off healthwise but didn't own a means of production? There would still be rich people, there would still be rewards for great achievement in business or life. People would still want to be more than poor. But the poor would not be hopeless of achieving even their basic needs. It is hopelessness that leads to most of the counter-productive behaviours of the poor, although it is still a personal choice and some avoid falling into those behaviours. What if anything less than that was seen as a failure of society, not a failure of the individual? How is a child supposed to grow into a contributing adult when malnourished for decades? How is that a failure of that child?

There are always some people who cannot support themselves... under the current system. If their basic needs were taken care of, what gifts would they be able to offer society in exchange, what talents and usefulnesses would flower under adequate watering? This would make success and wealth on a larger scale than has ever happened in history, more than paying for any programs necessary to put that basic level of support in place.

So why is it not happening already?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 02:35 PM

WE do not NEED poverty.

The rich (in general) WANT to see poverty, because it makes those anxious to excape it more compliant - production economy or service economy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Piers
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 02:40 PM

Hesperis,
I don't think anyone who wants a moneyless society wants to replace it with a barter. We are questioning the need for trade at all.

I can't quite see what you are actually suggesting we can do to take care of people's basic needs. However, it is irrelevant because however well meaning one is, the idea that you can get rid of poverty without getting rid of the rich is flawed. The problems of people's basic needs not being met is an inherent part of capitalism. Ownership of the means of production is not some abstract question. We are all dependent on the means of production, they are the means of living - producing and distributing food, health, housing and entertainment. In capitalism, ownership of the means of production is vested in a minority and the basis for production is the ability to yield surplus. If the means of production could be brought under social control, that is democratic operation on the basis of meeting needs, then the fruits of our labour can be distributed according to need. In capitalism goods and services are available, as you suggest, for those who can afford it - that is a can't pay, can't have basis. Socialism would do away with the inequality this creates. Without the fetters of 'no profit, no production' we could have enough basics plus not-so basic goods and services for everyone and there would be no need to ration, i.e. trade. This may sound like a wacky idea, but it is a lot more realistic than ending poverty through free trade, fair trade, the welfare state or charity. The counter-productive behaviours of the rich, the tyranny of the rich over the poor, poverty will be with us as long as they control the means of living.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 04:05 PM

Ah, I see now what you mean, Piers.

But surely even as there will always be some people who can't take care of themselves, there will always be people who want to have more than other people and have a knack for making that happen. That's not going to go away. Also, people are still going to want some goods that are not local. So trade would also still be necessary.

I do not see anything wrong with wealth in and of itself, particularly for those who are brilliant at meeting the needs of other people without exploitation. What is not necessary is degradation of human beings as only commodities. But as long as the poor do not hold the means of production of the resources they need to live, there will be exploitation of the commodities they represent to some people...

Housing, food, health care, and work in these fields: these are important. So these are the ones that must be owned by those that use them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 04:42 PM

Whosoever controls money/gas/electric/oil....has the power!
Power is all! Every Government knows that to rule you have to keep the people in their place. Poverty is a sure way as the people are largely dependent on the "state" and easily controlled as a consequence..........unless the poor revolt as in the French revolution....but what happens then? A new regime takes over and becomes richer as the poor become poorer....Ah well, that's life eh??? or is it?
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 05:00 PM

The only chance of real change is for someone to have the power who is actually intelligent enough and unselfish enough to USE that power for the benefit of all. Such things have happened, but only rarely in our history.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 05:32 PM

Or for someone to raise the poor together to have control over this power.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 06:05 PM

In any country that is going to have grossly rich people yer gonna have to have lots of poor folks to keep them grossly rich.

Actually, as a few folks have allready pointed out, Boss Hog likes to keep lots of poor folks around to keep the middle class at bay. The middle class scares the heck out of Boss Hog 'cause the middle class is a *real* threat to making the grossly rich merely rich. Yeah, if the middle class ever feels a level of sucurity, it *will* stand up to Boss Hog and try to pry away a greater share of the wealth that it and the poor folks create. Should that happen then those living in poverty will get kicked up outtta poverty...

But, if there was a real World Court, the leadership of United States, given the US's wealth, would certainl;y be awaiting trial.

And what make me sick is these crooks and thieves going around saying they are Christain??? My butt!!!! Jesus teaches us that we will be judged on how we treat our poor... Oh yeah, these so called Chrisains never made it into the New Testament, with the exception of "Rule Boy" Paul, the tax collector...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 07:46 PM

The poor have risen on many occasions, but usually found themselves being ruled over by a gang of thugs formed by the leaders from their own ranks, soon enough...since violence begets more violence.

Examples: the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution.

It's only rarely that people of genuine idealism, coupled with mercy and compassion, lead a revolution. Gandhi was one such, and he led a peaceful revolution which succeeded, but did not succeed perfectly by any means. It fractured between Muslims and Hindus and resulted in violence and partition of India into India and Pakistan.

The common people in the Soviet Union, with Gorbachev's strong encouragement, transformed and finally brought down the old system, but then turned to the demagogue Boris Yeltsin (because he promised them totally unrealistic things), and saw their society lose most of its social services and security and get taken over by crooks and mafia scoundrels. It is now sliding back into being an authoritarian state.

The common people in other places like Czechoslovakia and East Germany managed a peaceful changeover, but for many the economic situation has worsened, while for some it has improved.

The poor people in Cuba benefited greatly from the Revolution, if you look at the lives of the average Cubans before and after. That was one revolution that fairly much lived up to its stated ideals. It had the bad luck to be embargoed and basically besieged by a superpower.

Bobert - I couldn't agree more about the so-called "Christians" out there who support Boss Hog, as you put it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: mg
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 09:34 PM

oh for heavens sake. I'm not going to say that Boss Hog does not exist, and I am not going to tell you the tooth fairy does not either. So may she does exist. Like the Wizard of Oz. More smoke and mirrors than not. And think what this message does to the young people and more easily persuaded of society...and that is the biggest problem, although I can out doom and gloom any 20 of you here..the message that things are hopeless and the rich are out to get the poor. The message we should be giving everyone is to stay off drugs, stay healthy, acquire skills, live simply, grow food, be flexible because things are going to change faster than we can. Poverty cycles can be broken, poverty behaviors that both cause and are caused by poverty in a viscious circle can be changed. Things are not constantly hopeless, or at least we don't know for sure and have to act as though they aren't. Cynics and doom and gloomers are not raising the level of consciousness on this planet, although they do serve their purpose and could be, in fact, are, right about many things. But they seem not to take into account the incredible resiliance and creativity of the human race..do some of you not listen to the songs you sing? mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 10:28 PM

It's interesting... there is no ONE Boss Hog... but reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad I learned that the rich think that the poor will always be poor because they don't have the intelligence to realize that working for an hourly wage isn't going to get you rich... only ownership of property will make you rich, because property makes money (and other people) work for you instead of you working for other people.

It basically justifies an attitude of bigotry towards the poor as being less intelligent than the rich. (Although it does contain useful financial information.) But how many poor people do you know who could even get a mortgage and put the plans laid out so very clearly in Rich Dad, Poor Dad in place? How many creative people actually have their creative property working for them instead of them just creating it?

So the message of the book is that to be rich you must earn money from many people of lower intelligence working to make money for you. If that's not purposeful exploitation then what is? I'm sure that's not the intention of the book but that attitude is definitely in there. Makes you wonder.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 11:09 PM

Rich people have more time and more opportunity to gather information. They are more likely to become academic in nature. They are more likely to travel and to be exposed to different ideas. Thus, although they are not born more intelligent than the poor, they are in a situation which is more likely to develop their knowledge and bring forth their awareness of the opportunities in life.

Example: I was born in a middle class family from upper middle class roots.   In my family books and art and education and culture were very much emphasized. This certainly helped to steer me into book reading, into getting good marks in school, and into expecting to move up in life. When you expect to move up, you are more likely to.

I knew kids in school who were from much more working class families, families in which books were barely even thought of. They were more into physical stuff than I was. They were less into thinking and more into acting. This meant that they were better at sports, better at the rough and tumble of life, but not nearly as good as me at academics or writing or thinking. They were not growing up in a setting that encouraged gathering knowledge or thinking for its own sake, and I was.

And that is the classic divide between working class people and the bosses...or the artists...or the academics and intellectuals.

It starts early in life. If your kid is mainly into watching TV, playing video games, playing sports, socializing, and such...then your kid is being prepared for a working class existence...and will likely end up among the exploited. That has nothing to do with basic intelligence. Intelligence can be stifled or it can be encouraged. A life built on TV watching and playing Nintendo is quite likely to stifle intelligence and independent thought in most people.

"Rich" people are keenly aware that their background has provided them with a wider range of possibilities than most poorer people. If they are inclined to use those possibilities, then they can do a lot with them. Thus, they instinctively tend to feel "smarter" than poor people. They're not really smarter, they're just better prepared to use their intelligence.

The tragedy of the poor in any nation is mainly that they are not as aware of possibilities as they could be, had they grown up in a family that was not already locked into a working class lifestyle.

So...classes tend to perpetuate themselves.

The way to overcome this is to raise everyone to a basically good level of material existence, education, and medical care, as was attempted in Cuba after 1959...then take it from there. That necessitates some form of socialism. It is NOT going to happen in a purely free market system. Such a system acts to perpetuate the divide between rich and poor in order to maximize profit.

I will qualify the above by pointing out that, yes, there are some individuals who will break the pattern of their class...and move either up or down in class...but most people will basically repeat the established pattern they are most familiar with as youngsters.

Poor people may seem less intelligent to the rich...but they are simply shaped that way by what they are exposed to when they are quite young. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.

A society that abandons its poor perpetuates its poverty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 11:50 PM

Capitalism cannot survive without poverty. Simple as that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Kaleea
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 11:56 PM

Geez, if we didn't have people in poverty, who else would the uppity--I mean rich--people look down own & blame for all the problems of the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 12:13 AM

Oh come on, folks. You can have all the buildings in a city block turned over to a population of 1000 poor people, and out of that 1000, 9990 will manage to figure out that living in the buildings will work. But how many will study out how to use those resources as a basis for production which can be exported, to support the community?

It takes an idea, an imagined scenario followed up by a LOT of persuasion and energetic pushing and figgering and making things happen to get a group of people to start producing something. It takes more ideas and creative energy to make it well, and to sell it.

Until a small number of visionairies and organizers figgers out how to do it, it usually doesn't happen -- no organizing, no justice no exchange, no distribution of the non-wealth.

Those insights and methods are valuable products; they don't just come from trees. They are as valuable and more valuable than the routine productive effort of someone who works a mill--at least, harder to replace.

Poverty above all else is a failure of imagination and communication. At least when it occurs among the basically able it is.

Add imagination and communication and any group of poor people with a little bit of help can start up an economic cycle that will feed themselves.

That's the direction of help that is needed, IMHO. Organizing, developing, enterprising and training.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Piers
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 04:15 AM

Amos, I can see you know standing amongst a bunch of half-starved people preaching about 'organising, developing, enterprising and training'. Christ, talk about kissing the foot that kicks you. You don't need to know too much about economics to know that employment rates are directly related to productivity (profitability) which goes up and down because of repeated cycles of boom and recession, which is integral to capitalism.

You are living in some fantasy world if you think that capitalists are the most clever, inventive or visionary and they all got to be capitalists by doing that and it is there just reward. It's nothing but propaganda to justify the inequality of capitalism. There are many brilliant musicians on mudcat who are poor, brilliant inventors and scientists are poor too. People who a good at making money get to be rich. Bill Gates isn't a computer programmer, Richard Branson doesn't fly aeroplanes they make money and that's it. And it is this system that keeps the rest of us in poverty, even in the 'developed' countries we are still wageslaves, in the 'developing' millions don't have their basic needs, purely because there is no profit in producing food for them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 07:57 AM

It shouldn't come down to one's ability to make money. Or even one gtoup of people's ability to make money. What I can't understand is how my country, with all of its wealth, justifies such a hihg percentage of folks living in poverty compared to other developed countries. And I'm not buying the argument that the US is rich becuase it has so many poor people.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 11:22 PM

I think the US justifies it by reasoning that people here who are in poverty still have a higher standard of living.

But it's a secondhand standard. Nothing wrong with that, just that if people didn't throw so much perfectly working stuff out then the poor here wouldn't have all those things. True poverty is a lack of health, a lack of food, and a lack of housing... we have all those here.

And, you can't sell secondhand stuff for food either, because it's crappy and nobody will buy it. So you end up drowning in stuff that other people didn't want and you STILL can't eat. I doubt there are many people who realize that.

And as for housing... we have higher standards of housing. That means that people can't build a simple shelter without paying for permits and inspections and making sure it's up to code. A risk of fire is not quite as important as a definite death from cold!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: mg
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 11:44 PM

you're right about the housing codes..at least in some respects..like you used to in USA not be eligible for a VHA loan for a house unless the sink and toilet were the same color. Is that necessary? And if we didn't build with wood, but with cement or stone, there would be far less fire danger and flood danger..but more earthquake damage it seems...less insect damage and dry rot. And there should be higher density housing in some areas with plenty of green space and agricultural space surrounding it. We don't all need yards and as long as there is safety and soundproofing we can live stacked up on top of each other. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 12:25 PM

True enough about the housing code. The housing code is supposedly there to protect people...and it does...but it also condemns people below a certain poverty level by making it impossible for them to afford to build a legal shelter.

In Trinidad, the poor people have mostly built themselves little shacks, all of which would totally fail our North American housing codes...and they are allowed to. They also are usually squatting on public land or some land they found somewhere. They would not be allowed to do that in North America either.

North America is a jail for poor people, who generally have little or no hope of either providing for themselves effectively or ever getting out of the hole they're in.

In Trinidad, you can be dirt poor and STILL build yourself a little house somewhere, and no one will come and stop you from doing it. I noticed that Trinidadians are, on the whole, more relaxed and happy than North Americans, and I'll tell you why...they're freer than North Americans, because they are far less regulated by laws, rules, and restrictions. We North Americans are living in a place that more and more resembles Orwell's 1984, year by year...and it's all done to service a moneyed elite and keep the money rolling in.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 05:12 PM

A modest proposal:

I remember back in the Thirties when I was a little wee kid, there was an organization called Technocracy, Inc. It was dismissed by most people as some sort of futuristic, Utopian social scheme, or as a cult, sect, or collection of pseudo-scientific crackpots. Nevertheless, some of them were the original Scientists and Engineers for Social Responsibility. Being way ahead of their time—and thinking outside the box—their theories appear to read like science fiction.

I didn't learn what they were really about until back in the early Sixties, when a drinking buddy of mine said that he was going to a lecture of Technocracy, Inc., and would I like to join him. That drinking buddy was Jerry Pournelle.

Yes, the science fiction writer. Back then, I didn't even know he was interested in writing, and I didn't find out until a few years after he and Roberta left for California and I started seeing his stuff appearing in Analog and his books showing up on paperback racks. Anyway, Jerry was pretty conservative (characterized himself as far to the right of Attila the Hun), and he and I had many a good discussion (argument) about politics and such. Shows that two people can disagree strenuously about a lot of things, but still be good friends. I haven't seen him since 1985 or so, but I check his website from time to time to see what he's up to lately. He now refers to himself as a "paleo-conservative" as distinct from a "neo-conservative." (Got that, DougR?)

Anyway, we took in the lecture. In the question and answer period, Jerry asked some very pointed questions. Afterwards, we went to the notorious Blue Moon Tavern (our customary watering-hole) and kicked it around. Jerry was a bit perturbed. He was trying to blow holes in it. There was something about it that he didn't like. Although in no way is it related to Marxism, communism, or socialism, it seems distressingly left-wing. The idea of managing and distributing goods and services in a way that everybody would have everything they need, and some people might not have to even work unless called upon to do so (and even then, they would work at jobs they like and are well-suited for), even if the whole idea was scientifically sound, somehow offended his conservative viewpoint. At the end of the evening, he allowed as how there had to be a flaw, but so far he couldn't find. "Might just work," he mused, uncomfortably. He may have changed his mind since then, but that, I don't know.

In the thread "Why do we need money," Little Hawk mentions Earth society as portrayed in Star Trek: The Next Generation a couple of times (for example, HERE). A consummation devoutly to be wished. It strikes me that, with some minor modifications and updating, the ideas extended by the advocates of Technocracy, Inc. way back in the Thirties have the potential of bringing that about.

One writer on Technocracy, Inc. puts it this way:   Before dismissing Technocracy, one should review their work on economics needing to be energy based, actual credits based on the total value of physical energy available in an industrialized society. Not wage based. In other words they call for abolishing the wage system! Technocracy opposes Capitalism's "money—>capital—>money" formula, or as we might call it today, the "Casino Capitalism of the Stock Market." They oppose this money economy, or "price economy," as they call it, and propose replacing it with an energy economy.

These days, if you mention Technocracy, Inc., most people have never heard of it. Those who have think of it as a crazy Utopian scheme from back in the Thirties. And those who know a lot about it, especially if they have a vested interest in the present system, can get downright hostile and abusive.

I'm not advocating it (yet, anyway), but don't think it should be dismissed without giving it a good look. The idea is still drifting around out there, and those who do advocate it have a website.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 05:29 PM

As fir housing go to any large city in the US and you'll find lots of people without it. The homeless rate is climbing like a shyrocket in America. Health care? Most folks are either going without entirely or darned sick before seeking help. Why? It's very costly. Food? Since school food proframs have been slashed under the current "compassionate" conservative lots of kids just don't get even one real balanced meal per day...

Comparing the US to Third World counteies might make some folks feel less guilty but when we compare our poverty rates with the rates of other developed countries, the US has nothing to brag about and all the reason in te world to be ashamed...

And to the Bush-heads here, I can take you down to Washington, D.C. and show you folks who are living in cardboard boxes within a 1/2 mile of the nation's capitol...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 05:30 PM

Very interesting, Don!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Piers
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 03:31 AM

Thank you Don, that is very interesting. I would have to class them as a utopian cult though. Whilst there is definetly a strong Marxist and socialist influence (e.g. is the 'money—>capital—>money formula' is a paraphrase of Marx's M-C-M (Das Kapital, chap 4)? But the C stands for commodity not capital, not that it makes sense unless compared to commodity->money->commodity (money as a simple exchange), money->commodity->money is buying something to sell it, capitalism).

A fundamental flaw in their goal of acheiving technocracy is that they believe capitalism will collapse. This is an erroneous idea, often attributed to Marx (check this out for further info: http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/pdf/wcwnc.pdf). They also assume that scientific opinion is always the same and that calculation of production values based on energy will never generate conflicts, and if it did who's in charge?. I suspect that they percieve a need for a single calculating mechanism in response to von Mises' 'economic calculation argument' against socialism - but that is another story. They also seem to assume that people will be able to accept having an equal share of everything, an idea that Marx specifically ridiculed in Critique of the Gotha Programme, i.e. that everybody has the same needs. I also can't quite see in their writings why technocracy should only apply to North America and not other developed parts of the world. There is also certain amount of hypocrisy, despite wanting to get rid of subjective things like politics and religion they appeal to 'patriotic North Americans'.

Whilst I agree, broadly, with their analysis of the inherent poverty in capitalism and that this can only be acheived by abolishing capitalism. I do not agree that common/social ownership could be run by technocracy but that common/social ownership of the means of production can only be acheived by common/social control, i.e. through democratic decision making.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 03:44 PM

Yes, everyone does not have the same needs, even basic needs such as nutrition are different for individuals. But nutrition itself is a basic need that everyone does share.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 05:58 PM

I very much doubt that capitalism will collapse. Far more likely that it will expand considerably. It's doing so right now, specially on the part of China.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: number 6
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 11:23 AM

Has anyone who posted to this thread really experienced absolute poverty. Absolute Poverty meaning completely being destitute beyond all control. Lacking and being denied all the basic ammenities of food, shelter, medicare. I'm not refering to the 'salad days' of our youth, the poverty of our university days or whatever. I bet none of us have. I know I haven't. But I can sympathize to those that do live this miserable life and existance, the unfortunate ones on this planet who are gripped and controled by the poverty imposed on them. All rhetoric and reason as to why we need poverty, as to why there is poverty is an insult to humanity. There is no reason, need or excuse for absolute poverty.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 11:27 AM

Don,

Thanks for the link to the Technocracy site. I had heard about them back int he 70's and forgotten about them completely.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 11:36 AM

6 - I haven't experienced it, but I have witnessed it, and no, there is no excuse for it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 01:02 PM

Don,

Thanks for the link to the Technocracy site. I had heard about them back int he 70's and forgotten about them completely.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 01:27 PM

When Bee-Dubya-Ell takes $0.20 worth of clay, $0.0001 worth of glaze, $0.10 worth of electricity and makes a pot that sells for $200. Is it he who is greedy? Which piece of "poor folks pie" did he rob in order to enrich himself -- the person who spent the $200? What makes the discrepency between the $200 pot and the $0.3001 materials that went into it? If BeeDub can sell it for $2,000 is he even greedier? If BeeDub gave away all of his pottery and was, instead, supported by Gov't stipend as "The official potter and broke-dick mamalucka of the united states of america" (here-to-fore OPBDMUSA, or "Opie" for short), would that stipend not affect the poor?

When you tune up your guitar and go down to the local bar or coffee house and play for $20 in tips, what poor person's $20 is that? --and doesn't your guitar go severely out of tune if you do it in that order?

What if I don't want to play the economic game -- instead, choose to live simply, and, by that choice always fall below the "poverty line". Should that reflect poorly on BeeDub because he pocketted the $2K from that pot sale? (I hope so -- I like it when things reflect poorly on BeeDub)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 01:37 PM

The pot that sells for $200 is not just the sum of the physical materials used in its construction. It is a great deal of intelligent consciousness and experience of the artisan, given visible form. If well done, that is worth a lot of money.

Same as a well made guitar or any other thing that is well made.

The crime of modern mass marketing capitalism is not that things are marketed which are expensive, but that people are manipulated through advertising to place importance on an artificial lifestyle that makes no sense and doesn't even make them happy. They are encouraged to seek happiness where it cannot be found, and they are encouraged to be self-destructive at the same time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 01:56 PM

"It is a great deal of intelligent consciousness and experience of the artisan"

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!

*phew*

You had me going there for a minute. Then I read "intelligent" and realized that you had changed the subject.

I was talking about Bee-Dubya-Ell.

(by the way -- that still doesn't explain which poor are going to suffer because BWL sold the pot -- or do they only suffer if BWL gets "wealthy" selling his pots?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: dianavan
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 01:57 PM

When I was raising my children, we lived below the poverty line but we always had plenty to eat, a roof over our heads and medical care when necessary. It was a struggle to provide, but we did it and I managed put myself through university and establish a career.

Oddly, my children (who are now grown) never realized that we were poor. We have talked about this many times. We were living in a rural situation most of the time and owning a car, a t.v. and other luxuries that others consider the basics, were non-existent. As long as we were clean and well-mended, we were able to fit into the community and nobody really knew that we were strugggling financially.

Hesperis has a good point when she says: " Poverty itself may not need to be eradicated, only redefined."

I was discussing this very point with a friend from Jamaica. We were actually considering a Masters Thesis entitled, Re-defining poverty. Poverty is real but how you are able to cope with it may determine your actual level of poverty.

At one point, a counsellor told me that a woman who is suddenly single after living a life of affluence is much more likely to feel impoverished than a woman who had been dealing with poverty all of her life. Makes sense to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 02:04 PM

Jim, if you would be willing to bend over, I would be happy to assist you with the placement of this iron fireplace poker here... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 02:09 PM

Flirt with me all you want Mr Hawk, but fireplace pokers are not my choice of recreational devices. Besides, you haven't even wined and dined me yet.

By the way, does the poker have that "barb" thingy, or is it just the straight kind? I'd like to refine tonight's nightmare if I might.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 02:13 PM

Among people who share equally, and with a good heart, there is little or no perception of poverty, even though material goods may be very limited. Among people who place great want alongside great excess in a single community....there IS a perception of poverty.

An interesting demonstration of this was done recently with monkeys in a research lab. They discovered that when some monkeys were rewarded with better stuff (more tasty fruit) for doing the same work, the monkeys who received the less desirable food got mad and refused to do ANY work at all for it. They perceived that they were being treated unfairly. They didn't like it.

The French people who cut off the heads of their king and queen apparently didn't like it either. Poverty is perceived in the face of massive inequity. It is the awareness of an unfair distribution of material goods on an arbitrary basis.

Society needs every worker in order to function. Every worker ought to receive a reasonably good reward. Every child ought to receive a reasonably good level of support. In this way one achieves social justice, stability, and harmony.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 02:17 PM

"you haven't even wined and dined me yet."

You should live so long, Jim!

It's got the barb thingy. Get ready for a really memorable experience...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 02:35 PM

So, by that reasoning, unless you can guarantee absolute equity, you will always have absolute poverty -- even in the face of a lack of need.

People are funny. We seem to only understand certain things by contrast. But lessening the degree of contrast does not lessen the accuity with which the inequity is percieved. In fact, unless it's readily evident why they, not we, succeeded, we're just as inclined to resent our peer's success (after all, they're nuthin' special -- just one of us) as we are to resent those who are at an extremely opposite end of circumstances. Our lack of understanding for how they got to that extreme (and we didn't) allows us to more easily demonize them -- but it doesn't seem to make us resent them more than we resent our peers.

We don't have to be taught to envy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:01 PM

When Bee-Dubya-El makes his pots and sells them, he is making his wealth himself. He did need some capital in the beginning to buy his kilns and other essentials for making pottery. He got that by having a wage paying job prior to becoming a potter; one that must have paid him enough for him to have the discretionary income that enabled him to buy his equipment.

If Bee-Dubya-El were to employ his neighbors, paying them incomes that were below the subsistance level (just because he could get away with it because they were financially desperate and willing to starve slowly rather than all at once), to make his pots for him and he then sold them for a large profit over his costs, then he would be greedy. And since his empolyees would not even be getting paid subsistance level wages, they would not ever be able to save money to buy their own pottery-making equipment so as to enable themselves to create their own wealth as Bee-Dubya-El does.

I think this is a much more accurate summation of the reason we have so many working poor in the US.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: dianavan
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:15 PM

Which reminds me of my mother's wise words:

"If you continually compare yourself to others you will always feel that you don't have enough. There will always be those who have more and those who have less. Be grateful for what you have!"

I think poverty is highly subjective but I would like to live in a world where everyone had clean water and clean air, nutritous food and adequate shelter and medical care. I think it is possible and believe it is worth the effort. Given that all people would have their basic needs met, I think that they can provide their own luxuries.

I think the wealthy should stop looking at the world in terms of finite resources and begin to contribute to the well being of others. They just mind find that the 'tricle down' theory is false economy. Lets try 'trickle up' and see what happens.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:27 PM

Another reason the US needs poverty is so that a large number of young people who are just entering the work force for the first time will not have any alternatives other than to join the military. This is for the endless war scenario that our government has in mind for us. The US is becoming nothing more than a breeding ground for the warrior class of the "New World Order".


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:31 PM

So, should the evil Bee-dub (evil because I like to think of him that way) pay anyone who works for him exactly the same thing he pays himself?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:35 PM

He should pay them at least enough for basic survival. If he is makig a lot of money from their efforts, he ought to pay them more than basic survival. The operative word is "exploitation". Is he exploiting people, or is he paying them a fair wage? In the case of the military, I would say most of them are being exploited. If they were being paid proportional to the amount of profit the war profiteers are making as a result of their sacrifices, many of them would not need to be getting food stamps in order for their families to survive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:37 PM

Oops. I saw "evil Dubya" instead of "evil Bee-Dub. Give me a minute while I revise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:38 PM

It just occurred to me that the reason Bee-dub is evil is that he actually tries to keep paying those who work for him less so that they will quit working for him and go into the military. Cripes, what an evil genius!

Wonder where he got his MBA.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:40 PM

I don't think anyone said that, Jim. But he should at least pay them a decent wage. Rational self-interest dictates this.

Henry Ford (not exactly a flaming liberal) was taken to task by some of his confreres for paying his workers the unheard of (until then) sum of $5.00 a day. He responded by saying, "I want to pay my workers enough so they can buy the automobiles we're manufacturing."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:47 PM

If the accordion playing Bee-Dub is making a large profit, he should at least pay them enough for basic survival. But he is still greedy if he is makig a lot of money from their efforts, but is only paying them subsistance wages. The operative word is "exploitation". Is he exploiting people, or is he paying them a fair wage? Paying a fair wage on the large profits we are theorizing about would not necessitate paying them the same amount as he pays himself, but it wouldn't necessarily preclude it, either.

I think another big part of the problem is the stock market. When corporate CEOs make decisions that are good for short term profits (as they so often do), rather than for long term health of the enterprise, we see the people at the bottom, the ones witout whose efforts the wealth could not be created, suffering the most.

Probably the most humane and sustainable systems for production of goods are the empolyee-owned companies... the ones in which the company was being sold and the employees got together and found a way to buy the company instead of it being completely sold out from under them to some predatory corporate interest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:47 PM

No, Jim, not ABSOLUTE equality. By no means. That is most certainly not what I am suggesting. I am suggesting a moderate degree of equality.

As they said in Shangri-La: "We believe in moderation. We are moderately honest, moderately chaste, moderately hardworking, etc... :-)

Those who attempt to achieve absolutism of any sort in a society are no boon to humanity, I can assure you. Extremism IS a vice, even if Barry Goldwater didn't think so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:57 PM

It just occurred to me that the reason Bee-dub is evil is that he actually tries to keep paying those who work for him less so that they will quit working for him and go into the military. Cripes, what an evil genius!

No, that is a result of the cronyistic political system we have here in the US. W. Bush's "no child left behind" initiative is certainly a factor in agravating this situation. With this initiative, schools are having to teach to the test, and their funding suffers if they don't perform. Add to this the fact that Bush is not funding this mandate, and the result is that schools work less hard to prevent people from dropping out. If someone is underperforming, with the kinds of budgets the schools have to work with these days, the easiest and most effective way to keep what funding they do have is to allow people to just drop out so their low scores won't reflect badly on the school's overall test scores. If people aren't getting properly educated, they can't compete in the work force. The military is still a viable option for these people, even when they don't succeed in the public schools.

And then of course, there are the tax incentives that are given to companies that move their jobs out of the country. If a significant percentage of the jobs that would pay a living wage leave the country (as they are doing now), eventually, people will not have much choice other than to join the military.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 04:02 PM

Has anyone noticed that when certain people (like Jim T) wish to discredit a perfectly valid line of reasoning, they simply stretch it to the logical limit of absurdity, thus making it look silly? I have.

It's a dishonest debating technique, in my opinion, but it's superficially quite clever. My Father used to use it routinely to win debates in University. Most of the time it worked for him. He was thus able to be basically in error, and still appear to "win" anyway, unless his opponent avoided getting flustered.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 04:10 PM

I think he is assuming that we haven't carefully thought out our line of reasoning, LH. His tone sounds to me like someone who thinks he's talking to children.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 04:17 PM

Yeah, Carol, sounds like it to me. That was always the way my Dad thought too. When he walked into a room he figured, "The smartest person here just arrived."

A little education can be a dangerous thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 04:27 PM

Oh, come on. Is it going to be this way any time I dare to question the orthodoxy here? Even the interjection of humor fails to stave off the accusation of "talking down to".

What Don answered is exactly right -- there are economic and common sense considerations that make up Bee-dub's -- or anyone else's -- employee concerns.

I am not the one making the extreme assertions. Read the thread above my posts. Not one post pointing to such pragmatics (as Don brought up after my questions) -- only talk of evil capitalists. I dare to point out how those generalizations tend to take on a different flavor when personalized (like talking about your resident craftsman) and suddenly I'm talking down to you and using illogical arguements and...

Really. Why the accusations of unfair fighting and talking to you as I would to children? Is it really not evident that I have interjected humor? Was I not even self-effacing in my humor? What, as you read, was the balance of my declarative to my interrogative sentences? What would one have to do to disagree with you folks and not face this ad hominem? Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 04:30 PM

Well, in my case, it's because I'm such a sweet person.

How about in yours?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 04:32 PM

But, pardon me for missing your humour. Seriously. I guess I did take you a bit too seriously on a couple of those statements.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 04:35 PM

Poverty, while subjective, is necessary to set a benchmark to which we compare our own success in life. How can we feel superior to another human until we establish where we are on the pecking order? As for wealth, that is our assurance that we have eaten more than our fair share of the pie. If some go hungry so that we may be stuffed that is their problem and not ours. Welcome to Capitalism!
          Obie


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 04:42 PM

It's not the fact that you question anything (although I think your implied suggestion that the rest of us are mearly mouthing "the orthodoxy here" sort of proves my point), it's the way you do it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 04:49 PM

only talk of evil capitalists

Here's another good example. You are putting words into our (collective) mouths based on your own stereotypes of who you think we are and how we think. I have not used the word "evil" in connection with the word "Capitalist". You did that.

Here is another example:

What Don answered is exactly right

What Don answered is exactly right in your opinion.

And here's another:

there are economic and common sense considerations that make up Bee-dub's -- or anyone else's -- employee concerns

Yes, there may be. But there are also economic and common sense considerations that make up my answers to your questions. If you talk to us and not down to us, we won't talk behind your figurative back. Ok?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: dianavan
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 04:49 PM

Jim Tailor - If you are joking or trying to be funny, use this :>)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 10:36 PM

Yeesh, I can't connect for a day and it falls off the page despite a GREAT number of replies!

number 6 - I've been *close* to absolutely poor. I have been unable to attain food, shelter, and so on, by my own efforts... and the fact that health care doesn't pay for fixing teeth (only for getting rid of teeth) recently lost me a tooth that could have been fixed. I'm only alive now because I've had to rely on the generousity of others... and yes, that makes me feel poor. I am however, very rich in my friends and in the help that was given to me, and that's why I'm still alive. I just hope that'll be enough now that I'm capable of part-time work. Yes, I'm grateful that I didn't end up worse... but it's still true poverty when you cannot take care of your own basic needs even when you try, because your health is bad from being poor and not being able to afford the health care to become better enough to work fulltime. But enough about me.

I'd like to keep the definition of "true poverty" in this thread to that of anything below being able to pay for basic food, shelter, clean water, basic clothing, care from doctor and dentist, basic transportation to your job or school, and the health and opportunity to work fulltime at something to pay for all the necessities listed above.

The feeling of poverty is obviously not the same as actual poverty. One who drops suddenly in level of affluence will obviously feel poor, even if their basic needs are all still taken care of and they still have their health! But that is not poverty, only an ephemeral feeling. Besides which, someone who drops in affluence is better off than those who never had any affluence at all, because that first person can often sell things they own and gain temporary respite from the newer poverty. Someone who's never been well off might not have anything to sell.

Dianavan: "I think poverty is highly subjective but I would like to live in a world where everyone had clean water and clean air, nutritous food and adequate shelter and medical care." Right on.

Now, why is it an accepted opinion that, for capitalism to thrive, some people must be so far below that basic level that they die from poverty, even when they live in an affluent country? What are the flaws in thinking that this is the only way capitalism stays strong?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: number 6
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 10:43 PM

I emphasis with you hesperis. True poverty is what I'm refering to in my thread. As I mentioned, true poverty is totally unacceptable, and inexcusable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 10:55 PM

Capitalism is back up by a bankrupt philosophy called, quite simply:

"survival of the fittest"

It's the Darwinian approach to running a society, and is a theory generally most avidly supported by those who are already wealthy, and thus never have to actually worry about such petty issues as basic survival...until the mob storms the Bastille or the Winter Palace and drags the gentry off to be executed.

It's a philosophy which is termed "child abuse" when applied to the members of a family. A society IS a large extended family. In a healthy family, everyone's basic needs are met. That is a given.

Unregulated capitalism is moral anarchy, justified by large profits for those at the top. Since those at the top make the laws and command the police and military, it is a self-sustaining $ySStem as long as most people choose not to resist. They are kept from resisting by addiction, by clever mass marketing, and by being assured that they are "free" at the same time. They are not nearly so free as they think.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 11:01 PM

How much stronger would capitalism be if people were stronger? Is there any way to measure that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: mg
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 11:49 PM

I'm inclined to agree with Bill D. who I think mentioned that rich people see poor people more as a nuisance than part of the grand scheme they need to have to stay rich. There is poverty with appropriate land, and poverty without appropriate land. If you have the land, you can hopefully get a few goats, have a few apple and plum trees, I will send you all the blackberry shoots you could want, plant some potatoes, catch a few fish, and you could meet your needs if the weather cooperates. If you have too many people on too little land, you can't do that. I personally don't think we need poverty any more than we need cancer and I don't think industrialists sit around thinking of ways to perpetuate poverty, although I do think they will exploit labor if they must, but even then, do they hire the poorest of the poor? I doubt it. The way to trick the capitalists is to have fewer children, and I think things are moving in this direction. Also to have your own means of production, whatever that is, your goats and fish pond and dwarf fruit trees and windmills, all on your average suburban lot. I think capitalism needs to be checked when it exploits people or common resources such as air, fish, water...but it doesn't always do that..and it is nimble. Think about it..do you want the people, no offense to anyone in this profession, at DMV figuring out how to grow your food, concoct your medicines etc??? mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 12:06 AM

I do think they will exploit labor if they must, but even then, do they hire the poorest of the poor?

More and more they do. That's why they are sending the jobs overseas to the most desperately poor countries. And not just the poorest of the poor, but also the children of the poorest of the poor... working for slave wages in reprehensible working conditions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 12:52 AM

People, in general, are very strong in my opinion...when put to the test...but it helps when they have learned to think positively about themselves and Life while growing up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: number 6
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 01:17 AM

LH .... do you think the poor in the Sudan think very positively about themselves and life while growing up?

These people are the poorest of the poor, and no job opportunities are being exported there. These people are the absolute poor. Capitalism has even bypassed them.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 08:55 AM

Well, I would generally have to agree with you about the people in the Sudan, 6. What I was driving at was more this kind of idea...

A person who is hampered by negative ideas about life and about self that have been planted in them by their parents and their society when they were young and impressionable is at a great disadvantage, regardless of whether they were born in material abundance or poverty. If you think the World is cruel, then it will continue to appear cruel to you. If you think no one can be trusted, then you will trust no one. If you think you are basically worthless, then you will live a miserable life and have no confidence to take advantage of good opportunities...or you may become a criminal or abuser of others.

Take the example of Howard Hughes. He had some negative ideas implanted in him at a very young age about germs and disease...and despite his advantages in life, which were tremendous, his paranoia about germs eventually destroyed him. He was living in a kind of psychological poverty.

That can be just as crippling as physical poverty. They are both conditions we ought to strive to eliminate in society, by whatever means possible. We must first feed and protect the body. We must also feed and protect the heart and mind. The second is a more subtle business than the first, though the first is clearly a given in any rational, responsible society.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Piers
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 09:16 AM

Little Hawk, would you say that 'negative ideas about life' stem from material poverty? I think that many do, or are, at least, instigated by material poverty. For example, 'the world is out to get you' is borne of competition for jobs and over resources that we all face because of capitalism, 'thinking yourself worthless' is a common feature of the psychological effects of unemployment or mind-numbing employment that so many face. The corollary of this is that no matter how much positive thinking, confidence boosting, etc. you might do the underlying cause of much 'psychological poverty' is material poverty.

Piers


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 09:19 AM

Yes, I would definitely agree with that, Piers. That's one reason why I am strongly in favour of some form of democratic socialism to help the people at the lower material end.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 09:36 AM

Just another sidebar...

Malnutrition is not something that is a concern in Third World countries... The US has a major problem with malnutrition and if we look at the guns/heavy and butter/weak budget that the current administartion has put forth then malnutrition will explode in the Food-Capitol-of-the-World.

So what, one might ask?

I've countered the "Personal Responsibility" folks arguments many times here in Mudville by suggesting that I would have no problem with persona' responsibilty is the playing field was level... With that said, however, hungry kids don't learn very well. Might of fact, hungry pregnant women give birth to smalled babies. Nutrition and learning go hand in hand.

Not only does Bush's budget calls for deep cuts in the Food Sramp program but also housing for the poor. Hmmmmmm? What this is going to do is make housing less affordable for those folks at the bottom of the social-econimic scale. Well, just as seniors are now having to choses between food and medicine it will be thre poor who will be increasingly have to make tough decisions between food and housing.

Meanwhile, the (mostly) white and eductated angry middle class *men* wil continue their "personal responsibility" mantra as more and more (disporportionately) black kids go hungry and suffer from the many neagtive effects associated with malnutrition...

No level playing field here...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 09:57 AM

"Malnutrition is not something that is a concern in Third World countries..."

?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Piers
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 10:52 AM

Glad to hear it Little Hawk, but I think this applies to all workers not just those on the margins of having their basic needs met. As in your example, even those who are 'comfortably off' suffer 'psychological poverty'. Many folk I know with well paid jobs are also very stressed and often have ugly attitudes towards their fellow beings. Even capitalists suffer from stress (though they have more spare cash to deal with the resulting health problems). Which is why I think a society based on co-operation not competition would be of great benefit to everybody.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: dianavan
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 12:31 PM

All of you have had very good things to say about this topic and most of it is true. When your basic needs are met and you have a healthy outlook on the possibilities in your life, you can break the cycle of poverty. Having said that, it takes the will of the government to open the doors for you.

I have found that many people who have never experienced poverty treat it like a disease. If they get too close, they might catch it. There are very few who have any compassion for the poor. Its another case of blaming the victim. As it is, society effectively isolates the poor.

Bobert brought up a good point regarding pregnancy and motherhood. At this time we focus on (or at least pay lip service) children living in poverty. I think the focus should be on pregnant women. If you have healthy mothers, healthy children will follow. Every pregnant woman should be given adequate food, shelter, medical care and education (including parenting skills). Given that, we might be able to break the cycle. At least it is a logical starting point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 01:04 PM

Well, a lot of poor and pregnany women probably shouldn't be pregnant - if you can't support yourself, why are you bringing a child into the world that you'd have to support as well? There is the quite real opposition to supporting pregnant women in an absolute way, because a lot of women might get pregnant just to get on a program like that, especially if they have no other option to support themselves. Honestly, I probably would do so if I had no other way of supporting myself... which would not be good for myself, the kid, or society.

Now, the fact that welfare doesn't offer pregnant women even a tiny special allowance for the extra nutritional needs of that time, is pretty pathetic, and probably leads to a lot of malnourished newborns and new mothers. But poor people should not be *encouraged* to make babies, as that only perpetuates the cycle of poverty.

Any approach would have to be multi-pronged, to reach the true reasons for poverty. Childhood efforts help a bit, except for those who don't fit the criteria but are actually poor.

Poverty also has a different face in the cities than in rural areas. Rural poverty has land, and can do some work on that land for food. City poverty has city ordinances against owning most food animals and it is much more difficult to have a vegetable garden.

So probably the most effective way to reduce poverty would be to provide safe and cheap housing with gardening opportunities, educate about the costs of raising children so that less poor people have kids as a matter of course, then put programs in place to offer the poor cooperative ownership of some form of useful production, perhaps inside the cheap housing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: dianavan
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 01:37 PM

Yes, Hesperis, housing in urban areas is a major problem.   

I have to disagree with what you say about support for pregnant women when you say that they would get pregnant just to get on the program. Thats one of the arguments you hear now. The fact is, most women do not have children so that they can go on welfare. Having a child is not a solution to poverty.

If you think its a solution, you can have a child and go on welfare. Then you will have two mouths to feed, child-care responsibilities, and very little chance to work outside the home.

I'm not going to find solutions for your poverty. You have to solve your own problems - even if it means changing your thinking from the way it should be to the way it is. You may need to look into co-housing or living with others or even doing what you may think is more than your fair share of the work. If you come across as 'needy', nobody will help you. When you begin to help yourself, all kinds of people will be there for you.

As a woman who raised two children on nothing but my wits, I find that single people who whine about their personal circumstances or ask me for a hand-out are a major drain on my patience. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and find something useful to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 02:06 PM

Speaking of "catching poverty" like a disease, there is another disease out there that is of epidemic proportions.

On the local news a couple of days ago, they showed shots of a long line of people who had camped for two days in front of a store that specializes in athletic shoes. You know, the flashy kind, complete with swoops and tail-fins, with computer chips in the heels that adjust the high-tech gel pads inside to conform to the ever-changing weight distribution of your foot, etc., and leave footprints large enough to start sasquatch rumors. It seems there is a new model out. $250 a pair (made in a sweatshop in Bangladesh, undoubtedly). The store announced that they will be getting a very limited supply, so people, mostly kids, started lining up days in advance, complete with lawn chairs and sleeping bags, like a line-up for tickets to a rock concert. When I was their age, I had an allowance of $10.00 a week, and compared to some of my friends, I thought Dad was treating me very generously. Where do the kids in that line-up get that much money!??

They reflect that cultural morass that is so all-pervasive in this country that the majority of people think it is the normal way to live—the only way to live. They're so screwed up by it that they think they will plunge to the bottom of the ladder if they don't get a pair of those silly-ass shoes. Then, of course, a few months from now, out comes another model . . . and the puppets keep right on dancing to whatever tune is being played to them.

Highly germane to the subject of this thread are two related PBS television specials that ran a couple of years ago. NPR's Scott Simon hosted the shows. They were packed with information. They were startling, a bit horrifying at times, and seemed all too familiar. Even though they were aired a couple of years ago, they still have an active website, and I invite people to go there, click on the links, read the material, take the quizzes, and generally browse. There is a lot there that is thought provoking and a bit disturbing. The quizzes will let you check your own attitudes.

Some of you may have seen the programs. The titles were Affluenza and Escape from Affluenza. Even if you have, browse the website anyway. Most informative.

Are we circling the drain?

And here's more.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 02:11 PM

dianavan, do you disagree with the premise that there are some people who, because of health reasons, are less able to fend for themselves than others?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 02:53 PM

Dianavan - there is no need for a personal attack here, particularly one completely out of the blue.

I did not say that I would get preganat in order to go on welfare... I said that if I would be absolutely supported for being pregnant I sure as hell would get pregnant, as would pretty much any woman who cannot support herself by her own efforts alone! (And there are a lot of women who cannot fully support themselves for whatever reason, past poverty and malnutrition don't help there either.) I am QUITE aware that the current state of welfare is no help at all for poor people. I am also working to improve my situation - which you seem completely unaware of despite the many threads there have been about me.

However, this thread is not about me personally, please keep it that way.

Don - I agree that affluenza is a definite problem as well, and one that contributes to the feeling of poverty. It also contributes to actual poverty by creating companies that promote affluenza on the backs of sweatshops, and that export jobs from places that demand a minimum wage to places where people can be exploited for their time.

Affluenza is the reverse face of the coin of poverty, and it is encouraging that many people are reaching towards the appropriate life instead of the garish life these days. Hopefully that "simple life" movement will keep gaining momentum. But again, different people have different needs, and to some what is simple is completely different than what that is to another. People have different talents to support, as well. Some people might just need one guitar, where others may need an acoustic, an electric, and a midi guitar as well.

I think we can all agree on what the basics are though, as this thread has already demonstrated.

Would you say that the pressure on companies from stockholders contributes to the attitude of "profits at all cost" that leads to the promotion of affluenza among the public and the use of exploitative labour tactics by those companies?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 04:13 PM

Millions are dying from AIDS in Africa , but the people are too poor to buy the drugs to save their lives. When the government of South Africa tried to produce a cheap generic drug ( 11 cents a pill) they were sued by the capitalist bastards who hold the drug patents. If these were a million white folks in Toronto or New York would things be different? As long as poverty is not under our nose we can ignore it, but we all deserve to carry the shame.
               Obie


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 04:35 PM

". . . but we all deserve to carry the shame."

Glib. One hears statements like this frequently. But I refuse to accept collective blame ("We're all guilty. . . .), especially when I object to and work against the sort of thing that Obie claims we should all be ashamed of.

Sorry, Obie. Doesn't wash.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 04:44 PM

John,

Another Bobert lexdexyizm... "that is (just) a concern..." is how it was 'sposed to read, however, with that said, if you read the rest of the post you would have figured that out...

Hes, dianavan, and others,

First of all, d, though I found hes's comments somewhat off the mark, I didn't read anything personal into them. I know that she has had some problems but...

As fir women getting pregnant to get on the dole, that argument purdy much went out the window with the "Welfare Reform" legislation signed inot law under Clinton. What it did was limit a woman's partication in both the ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) and the AFDC (Aid of Families (bull) with Dependent Children to 2 years. Then, no matter what, it's back to making minimum wage while trying to keep a roof over you and yours kids heads and at least a little food, but very little. Folks purdu much figured it out real quick and that's why we are seeing so many mothers working at Wal-Marts, McDonalds, etc..

But back to malnutrition for a second. According to Dr. Deborah Frank who treats malnurished kids ay the Grow Clinic in Boston that "Learning is discretionary after you're well-fe, warm and secure..." See, if we are ever going to break down the cycle we are going to first make a committment to our kids. We are doing a lousy job right now. We're talking 1 in 5 kids living in poverty in the wealthiest country in history???

This is unacceptable...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 05:02 PM

Yeah, I figured it was probably the word "only" that you had unconsciously left out of the sentence, Bobert. It clearly had to be something like that... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 05:17 PM

This is fascinating. It seems that in order to continue to have alaming hunger and malnutrition in the United States, they had to redefine the terms "hunger" and "malnutrition". So now, when you read statistics about hunger in the US, our numbers appear much the same as a third world country because, though in the third world countries hunger is actual malnourishment, in the US we are "hunger threatened" and that's the same thing. Also the same thing as starvation in the third world (according to the article) is "feeling discomfort" in the US. So, statistically, we are in a dead heat with the third world for leading the world in hunger.

It also appears that a great deal of our malnourishment problem stems, not from lack of food, but in lack of good food/eating decisions. Seems that many of our malnourished are, ironically, obese.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 05:23 PM

Good food ain't cheap... Junk food *is* cheap...

Lot of obese folks are severly malnourished...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 05:30 PM

What good food is more expensive than junk food?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 06:41 PM

Fresh vegetables are more expensive to buy, keep, and prepare, for the most part, than boxed mac and cheese for instance. I know what it's like to not be able to afford good nutrition.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 06:42 PM

Another example... white bread (filled with a lot of air, carbohydrates, and very little nutrition) is often much cheaper than whole grain bread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 06:48 PM

Yeah, you can buy 5 pounds of potatos fir right around what a pound of brocolli will cost ya'... Problem is the potato ain't got much food value...

When yer poor and gotta a couple kids to feed, them taters will go a lot further... and a lot further toward obesity, as well...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 07:20 PM

Yeah, you're probably right. I don't doubt that that's a problem. Not sure if it's the problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 07:50 PM

Tell ya what, John. Book a flight to the nation's capitol an' I'll pick ya' up at the airport and take ya' on a little tour... Maybe afterwards you'll be a little surer that poverty = malnourishemnt = obesity... And the beat goes on... and on...

BTW, iron is found in most fresh green veggies... Iron deficiencies in the last trimester of pregnancy will produce babies with smaller brains and kids who don't get enough iron in the first 3 years of their lives this will adversely effect the creation and maturation of of neurons. This ain't good because folks need them neurons to be happy and healthy or these folks will be at a distinct disadvantage in life in being able to learn new stuff. (David Shipler, "The Working Poor: Invisable in America")

Yeah, you wanta break the cycle? There's more to pro-life than giving birth... Yeah, we gotta take care of our kids...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 08:24 PM

Well, malnourishment doesn't necessarily equal obesity, but it sure does contribute either to obesity or to an almost-anorexic skinniness. White rice and white bread are the cheapest foods there are... and how far does that go, nutritionally? Not very.

If you are smart, you might be able to thrive on minimum wage by sharing accommodation, being really careful about your food choices, and never seeing a movie. But if you're not capable of minimum wage or if you want to occasionally know what your friends are talking about when they come back from a movie? Too bad... and getting pregnant in such a situation can often be a recipe for disaster.

There is no denying that poverty in third-world countries is worse than it is here. You don't usually see nearly as much deformation from malnutrition here, although some certainly exists. But that actual poverty still exists here at all, and in the shadow of amazing wealth... is a terrible thing.

Perhaps if we eradicated poverty in wealthy countries, we could make a true effort at eradicating it in poor countries, rather than just sending bandaid after bandaid when the problem needs much more than just a bandaid. For one, there would be more people who could afford to help others... and if there was less tolerance of greed on the part of corporations there would be no problem treating medical conditions that contribute to world poverty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 08:46 PM

Good thoughts, hes. Yes, if we could lick it here then that would be a major victory and whatever blueprint we used just might work elsewhere. But there isn't much interest in doing here. Quite the opposite...

As fir poor folks making better choices? I hate to tell ya but, whereas that sounds good, that's part of the problem. These poor folks that have these kids today are only 20 years removed from being the babies whoes mothers also didn't know enough or have the dough to buy good foods. These mothers are very much disadvantaged... Many never finished high school... It is a cycle... Yes, if all poor folks had been blessed with middle class trappins, like good food and a half way decent educatiom , then they would surely make better decisions but....

That's what I mean by cycle...

I mean, your observattions about family planning (or lack there of) are right on. Problem is that you are speaking Greek to the folks who could best use the wisdom and knowledge...

The cycle...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: dianavan
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 11:49 PM

Carol C. - Of course people with poor physical health are less able to fend for themselves. Perhaps if the mother of the person with poor health were given better housing, nutrition and education, the child would have better opportunities. Thats why I say start providing for pregnant women. A happy, healthy mother will usually have happy, healthy children.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 06:52 AM

educate me, Bobert. I've never heard this stuff before.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 09:55 AM

Well, John, what I am talking about I'm sure you haven't heard before and I'm not sure that I can "educate" here in the forum. Now, if I could take you into some of the areas in D.C. that I know, then perhaps.

But I'll take a stab at it anyway.

It come down to cultural difference between poor folks and middle class folks. No, I'm not talking about culture in terms of art or music but of mindsets. Let me put it another way. If you, who seem to be fairly well educated and probably come from either a middle class or even upper class family were to get real sick, loose yer source of income and with it your hospitalization and ended up bankrupt, you would most likely be able to bounce back. Why? Because you have experienced things in your life that provide you with the skills to do so. Sure, you might have lost everything and found yourself impoverished just as poor people are but because of your *mindset* you are not like the folks I am talking about. And they are no like you...

When kids are born into poverty, especially in the inner city, and there is no male in the household and the mother is working long hours for low wages and there is virtually nuthin' to stimulate them this isn't goint to produce a John Hardly mindset. Throw in malnutrition, lousy and dirty housing, violence, poor or no health care and this kid, by the time he is 3 will have developed a mindset that is going to be very difficult to change.

In the middle class families kids develope personality in their first 3 years. In the ghetto way too many kids develope personality disorders, It's not limited to just black kids but in the inner cities there is a higher percentage of black kids who live in poverty. But if you go back into some of the hollers of Appalcia you find some of the same stuff going on: poverty, hunger, violence, poor health, etc and the kids there end up being the ones who will, like the black kids in the inner cities, the ones that will fill up the correctional (ha) facilities...

I would say just from the standpoiint that we are loosing quite a bit of our tax dollars incarcerating folks that ending poverty would be a bargain.

More later...

Gotta go shovel snow...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 09:55 AM

Don,
      My "we all" means all of humanity. Many of us do fight injustice in this world, but we can not escape a terrible fact. Our society is based and driven by greed and even the best of us benefit from the result. If we do so with a clear conscience, perhaps we are only fooling ourselves. There are many barriers to overcomming poverty, including religious belief, corrupt governments, logistics etc. but the biggest is the human will to overcome these. It can not be done by any one person, but only by us all acting in concert. There is no will to do that and therein lies the shame.
             Obie


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 09:58 AM

I don't think that malnutrition is as much a prblem in the third world as starvation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 12:05 PM

Of course people with poor physical health are less able to fend for themselves...

...As a woman who raised two children on nothing but my wits, I find that single people who whine about their personal circumstances or ask me for a hand-out are a major drain on my patience.


So you didn't raise your two children on nothing but your wits if you had your health. You raised them with your wits and your good health. The lack of either one or both of these things can severely limit a person's ability to provide for her own self, much less any children. This is something good to keep in mind when telling other people (based on your own experiences) what they ought to be able to accomplish.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 12:50 PM

Okay, Obie, I'll buy that.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 01:06 PM

I was raised by a widow. My education did not come free you presumptuous ass.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Piers
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 01:27 PM

From this months' Socialist Standard.

'King Mswati III of Swaziland has just bought himself another car; not any old car, but a brand new Daimler-Chrysler Maybach 62, powered by a six-litre bioturbo engine, and fitted out with a television, a 21-speaker surround sound system, a heated steering wheel, champagne flutes within reach of the fully reclining seats, a refrigerator, a cordless telephone, a gold bag and a pollen and dust filter. And the cost? Almost £400,000.
And the country over which King Mswati III rules?
Swaziland, entirely surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique, one of the smallest countries in Africa with an area of 6,700 square miles, has a population of fewer than one million, of whom more than 80 percent exist on one US dollar a day, 40 percent of adults have HIV/AIDS, the highest rate in the world.   According to the World Food Programme, about a third of the population require and will probably receive, emergency food assistance this year. According to the WFP (Guardian, 14 December) absolute poverty, unemployment, HIV/AIDS and poor farming practices 'has left large numbers of households with no food stocks, or unable to provide for themselves'.
Swaziland, moreover, has been in a state of emergency since 1973, when the so-called constitutional monarchy imposed by Great Britain became absolute. However, the king is supposedly adored by his subjects, and the country is a tourist haven, mainly for affluent South Africans. So that's all right then! . . .

Since this purchase the king has also bought each of his ten wives a BMW, for a mere $820,000. Sadly, street protests by churlish locals, prevented him spending $45m on a luxury jet.'


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Piers
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 01:43 PM

From The People :
"Ownership of America is now more concentrated than since the days of the Robber Barons of the 19th century," Reich said. "The richest one percent of America owns more than the bottom 90 percent put together." ("The most current Monthly Population Estimate for the United States is 293,382,953, as of June 1, 2004," according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which, if Reich is correct, means that 2.9 million people own more wealth than the other 290 million people put together.)
The conclusion is hard to escape: if "ownership brings security and dignity and independence," as Mr. Bush said, capitalism has brought just the opposite to 99 percent of the American people.
Reich added his own bit of hokum to the mix by claiming that the solution to this disparity is to tax the rich and overhaul the education system. That won't do it, however, anymore than the New Deal reforms of the 1930s did. What will do it is a socialist reconstruction of our society in which all of America's 293 million people will own the economy and determine their own economic destiny.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Piers
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 01:53 PM

Got this here.

'Since we say capitalism is based on the minority ownership of the means for producing wealth the official figures we're interested in are those for "marketable wealth less value of dwellings" (since people's homes are means of production).
The official figures [UK] . . . for 2002 are:
The top 1% owned 35%
The top 2-5% owned 27%
The top 6-10% owned 13%
The top 11-25% owned 13%
The top 26-50% owned 10%
The bottom 50% owned 2%

So, now the top 5% own getting on for twice as much as the rest of us put together.

. . .

Having said this, we socialists are not advocating a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. That's not our programme at all (and doesn't and can't work anyway, given capitalism). What we are saying is that the means of wealth production should be owned in common by the whole community, ie shouldn't belong to anybody, but should simply be there to be used under democratic control to turn out what people need instead of as present to make a profit for the tiny minority who own and control then.'


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 05:04 PM

Well, John, perhaps you'd like to elaborate on just how difficult it was to get educated... Maybe I did presume... But I'm guessing not...

B:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 05:45 PM

My mother raised 3 of her six children alone after my father killed himself (the other three were teenagers - one in college already). My father did not prepare my mother for his decision -- the life insurance he had taken out upon new employment was not in effect when he huffed our '61 Ford Falcon's tailpipe.

My mother worked 40 or more hours a week as a part-time worker because to go full-time (and get the benefits that came with full-time) would have meant that she might not be availible enough to accomodate for the time she might have to take off to care for us kids.

You don't have to diminish the hard work and sacrifice of my mother to make your points. Your view that all who "have" cheated to get "it" is not just naive, it is insulting. And your view that I must "have" in order to hold the views I do is equally ignorant. I am a self-employed potter. I work hard and I don't cheat.   I am not one of the "haves" -- certainly not by your narrow view of the world wherein exactly half the world is cheated and the other half cheats, and you, in all your wisdom, stand above it all determining which is which.

And you presume to dismiss, not just anyone whose family history you deem disqualifies them from holding a valid opinion on a subject -- but you have also reserved the right to be the judge of whether a person is telling the truth about that family history.

And yet you, who I assume are not a black man, consistantly presume, not only to speak for blacks, but claim to actually feel what they feel.

Yer a trip.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 10:00 PM

John,

First of all, I am truly saddened to read about your father taking his own life. Suicide is such a cruel thing to do to loved ones...

Now, as for judegements. Reread what you ahve just written. It has more personal judgements of me by you than I think you can find I've made against my fellow catters in the some 5000 or so posts I have made here...

But that's not at issue here. What is is poverty, it's roots and it's fixes. From what I read about your situation I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that you haven't really seen it up close. No, I am not black, but I can honestly say that I have worked in and lived with poor balck people so I have had a glimpse into a culture that few white folks know about. Movies don't come close to portraying just what it is like to live in a hostile housing project. I know a lot about housing projects 'cause I was a social worker for many years in Richomnd, Va. And I know a lot about the joint 'cause I spent 2 years as the jail house teacher in thre Richmond City Jail. And I know a lot about how kids go left when they grow up in bad situation s because I worked several years at Rubicom, Richmonds inpatient drug rehab program, half the time living right there in the middle of the ghetto with, ahhhhh, a house full of black folks who was trying to keep clean and stay out of jail... 3/4's of them failed...

Those esperiences consumed the first 20 years of my working life. Even today, I enjoy the company of black people and drive into D.C. to a semi-bad neighborhood every Saturday to play blues in an old barber shop in NE...

No, I'm not black... and I don't speak for the black community... but I have witnessed in my life a whole lot o' stuff that probably 99% of white America doesn't have a clue about.

This thread is about poverty and I know lots about poverty. Probably more than I really need or want to know... Yeah, I get real riled up when folks go blowing their horn about personal responsibility as if that's gonna fix a danged thing...

"You cannot solve a problem with the same consciousness that created it (Einstien)"

White guys are responsible for this problem and continue to be responsible. I'm not pointing you out specificly. But I am pointing out the Bush adminstration as being the worst since LBJ's Great Society in even making a modest face-saving attempt to continue to fight the good fight...

REagan was bad but these guys are 10 times worse.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Jeep man
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 11:44 PM

The late comedian,Brother Dave Gardner, made an interesting statement in one of his records.

Lets put a tax on being poor. That', made the get up and make something out of their self.   Jeep


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 08:08 AM

Funny to whom?

See, it's jokes like that that stick in the heads of folks who are not part of the solution but very much part of the problem... Yeah, strip a few layers off this seemingly little joke and there at the core is the misconception that poor people choose to be poor...

Might of fact, I remember listening to Brother Dave Gardner as a kid and thought he was a hoot but after I had my conscousness jack up I thought back on a lot of the stuff he said that was nothing but bogotry and racist deisguised as comedy... I might add there are a few black comics I've heard that haven't furthered the cause much with their own "Brother Dave" comedy but at least it ain't a white guy making fun of blacks.

Now, before someone gets on their high horse and accuses this ol' hillbilly of choosing to portary poverty as an exclusively black experience I will go on record of saying that poverty effects all races. There are more white people living in poverty than blacks thou the percentage is much higher in the black community. Might of fact, my own state of Wes Ginny has the highest percentage of folks living in poverty: 16.6%. Lots of these folks live in the coal areas and lots of them are elderly...

But seriously, when we look at the costs of poverty from crime. incarceration, bad health, loss of production it is billion and billions of dollars... I'm not sure if anyone has ever really put a price on it or you one could. But I wouldn't be a bit surprised if if it's now costing us more in dollars than it would take to really take it on and elliminate it...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: mg
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 12:43 PM

Of course personal responsibility would make a huge difference, and there is a viscious cycle between personal irresponsibility and poverty..each leads to the other. Lots of poverty can not be helped, due to personal circumstances, lack of opportunity etc. But it is magnified, I would estimate 10-fold in terms of the discomfort and pain that people endure, by other people's behavior. If you live in a housing project where everyone behaves themselves, does not use drugs, you still have the leaky roofs, possible vermin, possible hunger, heating problems, etc. But you don't have the terror, the gunshots, the sexual assaults, etc. etc. You don't have police and firemen afraid to come there. You don't have the taxi drivers afraid to pick up people there. You don't have small businesses, such as laundromats, florists, etc. afraid to establish there and provide some anemities and employment.

And of course, if you have kids born into that, it is hard to break the cycle, but it can be done. And there are plenty of people who do not have that poverty upbringing as an excuse. A friend of mine works as a housecleaner and her dufus adult son got into meth. He is ruining her life, the rest of the family's, the community just got a meth user as if we needed more...property values go down, police are stretched to their limits here..elderly are not safe in their houses..we have to talk about personal behavior and we have to not slam down anyone who refers to it. You do not have all the answers. You have some. I have some. Everyone has some, but to fix poverty you can not wait until every financial problem is cleared. You have to have people off drugs, being responsible in their reproduction, etc. etc. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 06:24 PM

Good points, mary...

Just a couple of observations. First, there are very few, if any, housing projects where violence isn't common place. So ya got the lousy housing, the lack of food, the lack of health care and ya got lots of violence. Most kids get desenitized to it very early and become 12 year olds who don't care if they die or not and are ready to show off just how bad they are... This, unfortunaely, is the norm, rather than the exception...

Now, as for drug treatment.... Yes, we not only need to spend the monery to keep facilites open but we need a re-examination of out drug policies.

Our drug policies are pushing folks, who need help, into over populated incarceration facilities where if they didn't have a criminal mind going in will certainly come out with one... This is where drug treatment comes into play. If you can get to the druggie before he or she gets too intrenched in the criminal justice system you stand a better chance of having success. And, yeah, success is tough because, inspite of treatment, the recivitist rates are still way too high (no pun intended). But we aren't spending the money that we once did on treatment. No where near. Meanwhile, the need has increased rather than decreased...

And let me just say something about the recivitist rates. We're going to have high rates until we really look at and deal with the effects of poverty.

Now, I'm sure there are some folks getting real bored with this ol' hillbillies rants aboutm poverty (and other issues) but this issue doesn't *HAVE* to be viewed as some :bleeding heart" issue. Poverty is expensive and in these times we can no longer afford it. It may be cheaper to deal with it than to deal with the effects of it...

I think if we were to put a dollar amount on what it costs us it would be an amazing amount of money... So to my friends here that think fighting poverty is a "liberal" cause, I'd invite you to think that conquering it might just put a few more dollars in your pockets...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: dianavan
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 09:12 PM

I would like to apologize for my off-the-cuff, red-neck statement, "As a woman who raised two children on nothing but my wits, I find that single people who whine about their personal circumstances or ask me for a hand-out are a major drain on my patience. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and find something useful to do."

I do see poverty as A problem that has to be tackled by govt. and motivated by the will of the people. Once again, we are blaming the victim. I am one of those people.

On the other hand, I still believe that happy mothers make happy babies and we should begin by providing housing, nutrition and education TO pregnant women. To provide for the children and ignore the needs of the mother is no solution at all. Given the basics, mothers can begin to nurture her children and provide opportunities for her children.

People with physical and mental challenges should also be given govt. support. To ignore their needs is a crime.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: mg
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 11:00 PM

True...but the best gift a mother can give her children is choosing a father for them who will stick by them at least, and hopefully her as well...who will race into burning buildings to save them if necessary..who will work his fingers to the bones for them...and such men are out there..perhaps not one for every woman who would like one, and some women will have to, or hopefully choose to, not have babies if they do not have such a man. They can instead be foster mothers, adopt older children, or find other ways to help children. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 11:37 PM

Mary, mary, mary....

Let me tell you about fathers.... The "Welfare System" has done everything in its power to make sure "dad" was is *not* in the household....

When I first started working for the Department of Social Service's in Ricmond, Va. we were trained, when we made home visits, to look for evidence of a *male* living in the home (nasty apartment in a housing project) and if evidence was found then the poor woman and her three or four kids would looze what little they recieved from ADC (Aid to Depenfdent Children)...

Ahhhh, wonder how one goes about figuring how to escape from falling to the absolute bottom rung???

(That question is sent in the direction of DougR, bb, John Hardly and of course da' man, MG, his knothead-self...)

Ahhhhh, exactly why is it again... that we need poverty???

Ahhhhh, Part B... Why is it that, if we really think that having the highest poverty rate of all the developed nations in the world is something to brag about????

Welcome to the Reagon/Bush/Clinton/Bush America....

Boss Hog has all of you folks by the proverbial 'nads an', no matter what, you all gonna be dancing to the boss's tune....

...and wonderin' how *you* ended up in one o' Boss Hog's "housin' projects"????....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: mg
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 11:58 PM

I agree...we drove the fathers out of the family through stupid, idiotic rules concerning public housing, welfare, etc. It is one of the most horrific things America has ever done. Now, live in boyfriends are another matter...and there is this whole cycle involving abuse of the daughter in many of those situations, and inpregnating the daughter, and that being the daughter's first experience with ..I can't call them men but whatever a good name for them is. We, women, have to admit that we do not know how to raise boys by ourselves. Period, do not. Now, some will be fine. But many many will not be. Oh, but I have love enough for two parents. Oh, I am their mother and their father. Oh, I am a movie star/free spirit/successful businesswoman used to my own way. Bullshit. I think that bringing, deliberately, not accidently, a child into this world without a father is certainly neglect, certainly arrogant behavior, certainly irresponsible. Don't ask me for my opinion on this because I am likely to give it. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 07:46 AM

I'm not sure what you're asking, Bobert, but the implication doesn't make much sense. You shouldn't be able to have it both ways. If conservative thinkers are the ones who opposed welfare in the first place, it is not likely that they are the architects of the program as implemented.

If there were some short-sighted rules built into the implementation of the welfare program (like making sure there is no man present), why would you conclude that that is a "conservative" idea? That doesn't make any sense.

Why don't you tell me why the architects of the program decided it would be for women and their children only.

If I were to guess, I would say it was an initial attempt to stop the practice of men maintaining a stable of "welfare bitches", wherein a man enslaves a number of women in order to get their government check to use on his drug habit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 08:22 AM

No, John, I believe that the politics of compromise probably entered into the original program. There was a sister program entitles AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) but it was very strict on man-in-house as well unless the man was disabled... The main problem with both ADC and AFDC was that it didn't actually provide enough funds to lift people out of poverty. In doing that it was a self perpetuating system of minimal assistance. And becuase these folks still lived in poverty under ADC there kids continued to suffer and so it really never solved anything at all.

The picture you painted of "Men aintaining a stable of 'welfare bitches'" was and still is way off the mark. If you are going to judge a program by the very small percentage of folks who might abuse it then you can take just about every program or law and throw it out the window. Should we shut down the Pentagon because of the prisoner abuse scandals in Iraq?

But back to having it both ways. No, I don't think I've ever said anything like that. What I have observred is that ideologies these days sure can get blurred by partisanship. I mean look at all these so called conservatives who seem not to be very concerned my the massive debt that Bush is racking up. So, I'm thinking that if folks on yer side of equarion can accept this debt, hey, maybe you could change you idealogies on ending poverty if it were shown to be in the long run less expensive than maintaining poverty... Which I believe, just from a pure dollars and sense, it probably is...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 08:41 AM

public assistance can never raise a famiy out of poverty. By definition, anyone who qualifies for public assistance is among the poor.

But that's not what public assistance is for. Public assistance is the safety net that minimizes any suffering from being poor.

Certainly any program of public assistance would be wise to be implememnted in a manner that would be an incentive to, not a deterent from, financial independence.

But, complain as you may about the way that liberals such as you set up the public assistance programs....:^)...one reason why many private assistance programs still have a better success rate with raising the poor out of their poverty is that private programs can interject reward for behavior into their programs. You'd have to be pretty blind to not accept that the majority of true poverty is directly a result of lifestyle and behavior.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 11:33 AM

Who needs poverty? I've just received an email that says I've won the lottery! I'm rich, I tell you, beyond my wildest dreams, I'm stinking rich!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 03:03 PM

"But that's not what public assistance is for. Public assistance is the safety net that minimizes any suffering from being poor."

That is very true. Public assistance is supposed to be temporary. It is supposed to be used to make sure rent and food are taken care of for a couple of months while between jobs, for those who cannot get employment insurance.

There ARE no programs to support the poor to a standard of living where they become capable of becoming not poor. There are no government programs that enable the poor to grasp even the bottom rung of the ladder of success... at least, not that I know of in Canada or the US.

This is why the housing issue is so important, because even governmental support will not pay for true housing costs. Financial planners everywhere recommend that total housing costs be 30-40% of your total income so that you can pay all your other bills... government assistance *requires* housing costs to be 70% of your total income... and completely ignores the fact that at true housing rates, if you're on assistance you often pay 90-100% of your total income towards housing.

Bobert, there are figures proving that it is more expensive to keep people poor than to pay for their true monthly needs through housing assistance and government assistance. Shelters cost a LOT of money, which is surprising considering that shelters crowd people together into less rooms. It is counter-intuitive to realize that crowding people costs more than setting people up in their own apartments. However, the overcrowding of shelters also creates a greater health care cost, and by the time people end up in shelters they are usually in need of more care than if their needs had been taken care of previously.

There are not that many halfway houses, considering the need, and considering that halfway houses are in fact cheaper than shelters to run. There is also a definite need for more apartment complexes that offer half subsidized apartments and half market rate. There is no profit in that though, only a societal gain, so builders are much less likely to build complexes with that aim in mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 03:44 PM

Argh. Just found out that a bylaw in Toronto prevents more than 2 adults from living in a 2bdr apartment. Way to prevent people from being able to split the cost of housing in order to be able to pay their rent, guys!

Jesus Christ. Who came up with THAT idea??


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: mg
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 03:46 PM

That is nuts. Four might be reasonable..you don't want 12 or 20 of course if you are the landlord...mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 06:17 PM

Well gol danged, John... We agree on one thing. Public assistence was never intended to likft anyone out of poverty...

But it should or it is self-defeating... It;s like a doctor who knows that you need 100 MG's of a particular medicine in order to be cutred and perscribe's 50 MG's?...

Let me ask you if you were to be shown that erradicating poverty is cost effective, would you support it?

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 06:49 PM

Let me ask you if you were to be shown that erradicating poverty is cost effective, would you support it?

Bobert, it isn't about whether or not it's "cost effective" or not. Our differences stem from what we each think is a better approach for dealing with poverty, or, more accurately, caring for the poor.

You seem to come down on the side of believing that the poor have no hand in their predicament.

I don't agree.

And you seem to believe that those who "have" actually want poverty to exist.

I don't agree

And you seem to believe that if you had the reins for while, you could "cure" poverty.

I don't agree. And I don't think there will ever not be poor. That doesn't mean that I don't accept the responsibility for caring for the poor -- and the desire to find the best way for them to become productive and self-sufficient, or be reasonably certain that the poverty is their choice of lifestyle.

But I do kinda resent your characterization of me as less than caring. And your characterization of me as non-caring is not because of what I do believe -- but, rather, because I don't believe what you believe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 06:58 PM

Public assistance as you say is not going to lift people out of poverty, although it could give them food and shelter while people lift themselves out, helped by rising tides if there are such at that time. Education, by which I mostly mean occupational education of the sort found at trade schools and community colleges, will, and has, and does. It can be also found in good high schools. .mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 07:09 PM

John, John, John...

Okay, I mighta get a tad worked up when arguing a position but I try my best not to let it become personal... Not that I achieve this goal 100% but I try... I don't think of you as a non-caring person at all. Heck, for a knothead (jus' funnin') ay least you are willing to keep a discussion going unlike a few folks here who continue repeating their bumper sticker length positions...

And for the 3rd time in one day we agree that there will most likely always be some folks who are impoverished... But not some 40,000,000 in the richest country in the world! That is unacceptable. There can't be that many folks who would chooze to be cold, sick and/or hungry...

Lotta folks would at least attempt to pull themselves out of poverty if there were just some boot-straps...


But, again, John, I don't consider you to be non-caring. Only you and the Big Guy knows what is in you heart...

All I can do is throw stuff out there for folks to think about. Folks like me have no other forum. The other side has the microphone and most of the media in its pocket so we do what we can do.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: goodbar
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 09:38 PM

because it's fair. god bless america.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 10:18 PM

Some people inherit poverty and poor choices. That makes it much harder to lift themselves out of poverty, since they weren't the ones who made the poor choices that got them there in the first place.

Surely education about choices plus an actual opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty would help. I knew a lot of people who made poor choices because they didn't think they had a choice. (I mean, just look at "Trailer Park Boys"... I actually KNOW people who think like that... do something illegal in order to have enough money to go clean... Yikes. Ok, some of those people may just be dumb... but why is that, also? We're back to poor prenatal and childhood nutrition, again.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 10:27 PM

That's what I was sayin' back awhile ago about culture (i.e. steate of mind)....

Ya' can't expect folks who don't have the *real* education, you know, like the stuff that makes you understand what it takes it to make it ('er half make it) tp be able to make decisions as oif they understood what was going down...

Like askin' a snake to fly...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: dianavan
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 10:40 PM

When I graduated from university, I owed the govt. $50,000.00 in student loans. Had I been on welfare with my two children for the same period of time, the govt. would have given me over $50,000.00.

You figure it out. If you ask me, I was punished for pulling my life together and was, in fact, legislated into poverty.

There is no govt. incentive to 'better your lot in life'. Thats the biggest problem of all.

BTW - I totally disagree with those of you who say that poverty is a result of poor choices, lifestyle or behaviour. Not all people who live in poverty fit those categories. In fact, most of the women I know would do anything to escape the cycle but, like I said, it is almost impossible to better your life. If you attempt to do that, you are punished and put in your place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: mg
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 12:39 AM

There was this big huge study a few years back that was quoted all over the place. The cycle can be broken and it is very important to believe it can be broken and to tell the young people especially that it can be broken. People had to do two things, and they were pretty much OK at a fairly young age.
1) They had to not have children out of wedlock.
2) They had to stay off drugs and I presume excessive alcohol.
3. Three things..they had to finish high school.

That was it. Now, I would sure as heck try to channel them (OH DEAR I USED THE CH WORD, AN EDUCATOR'S BIG NO NO)into vocational and occupational learning in high school, with the expectation that they would go on for further technical training or college after high school. This would be for every student. The ones with the Harvard trust funds set up at birth and everyone. Everyone.

Young women have been sold a bill of goods that they can have babies when they want, with whom they want etc. It is a real good path to poverty, or a way to remain in it if you were born into it. Without getting into religion, morality, culture, mores etc., pure economics should drive this behavior. It guarantees two parents for the baby, assuming each chose reasonably well.   It assures some sort of delay in the reproductive process. It insures a whole other set of aunts, uncles, grandparents etc.

If you don't like poverty, take your pick. Start with children born out of wedlock, particularly to very young teens (and that has to be prevented one way, and that is by chaperoning them and not allowing them opportunities) or drug use. They sort of go together it seems, but not always. If you like poverty, keep saying that everyone has all these rights. That is where those particular rights lead. And keep saying the cycle can't be broken. Of course it can be broken. how did your grandparents break it? How did the immigrants from Vietnam, Etheopia, Guatamala break it? By being married, having a family structure where the elders took care of the youngsters while parents worked backbreaking jobs, by having teens contribute to the family earnings, by overcrowding in housing but eventually buying houses, by cooking at home, etc. etc. By encouraging their children to do well in school. By eating beans instead of prepackaged meals. By boiling diapers on the stove instead of buying disposable diapers. By fixing old cars up....a million ways. Find such a family and do what they do. And don't bother saying I don't want to help them or I blame the victim. I am quite happy to pay whatever taxes it takes me to solve these problems. mg

mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 01:23 AM

Well, just about every opinion offered here in this discussion has been valid...from a certain angle or point of view.

Ain't that just typical?

The thing is, people are usually emotionally wedded to their own particular angle only...and they see reality through that prism.

Wouldn't it be funny if you were ALL right? ...but just not exclusively or completely right?

"You're right from your side, I'm right from mine, we're just one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind..." - Bob Dylan


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 08:04 PM

Yeah, LH, and I'd give evryone here in the discussion better grades that the folks in Washington... Them folks don't seem to possess the ability to carry on a discussion on anything of real import...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 08:42 PM

Well, young teens having unprotected sex can be stopped another way. If there are interesting things to do then people are less likely to ONLY party and have sex. There wasn't much else to do around where I went to high school... I avoided doing that stuff only because I knew I was poor already and knew I wouldn't have a chance at anything if I got pregnant before I was ok. I also had things to do that weren't sex or drinking that I was really interested in doing, and was sick all the time so never went to parties after school anyway. *shrug*

Young teens might need some chaperoning, but older teens need to self-chaperone, and that's the hard part.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 09:05 PM

mary, mary, mary...

Let me remind you that you are speaking from your own culture (mindset, if you will) and where it's easy for you so see the better choices, you may need to keep in mind that most poor women have a completely differnt culture (mindset)... If the object is bring some wisdom to the table then its gonna be like making love to a gorilla. Sure, it can be done, but it's gonna be on the gorillas terms... It's like that with folks who do no possess the life's experinces that you or I might have and, one thing is fir certain, these folks sho nuff don't like to be preached to... Does this make them right? Well, not really. But if we are to make progress with folks from a differnt culture than, like the gorilla, we're gonna have to get on the down elevator 'cause these folks don't do up elevators.

Think of it as a folk musican and a classicly trained soprano. How can they sing together? Can the folkie just will him or herself to the classiclly trained level? Well, no. It's got to got the other way.

Bottom line, all the preaching in world ain't gonna do nuthin' until first of all the US decides it wants to do something and second, is willing to go to the source of the problem rather than insist it comes to us...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 09:18 PM

All of this talk about welfare and poverty seriously ignores the problems of the working poor who, in the US at least, can't afford any health care or dental care, and who often work more than one job in order to just barely survive, which then puts their children at high risk for delinquency and drug use due to lack of parental supervision. And this can happen just as easily in two parent households as in one parent households.

I don't have figures on this right now, but my guess is that the majority of poor people in the US are working poor.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 09:45 PM

Since the so-called "Welfare Reform" legislation during Clinton's term, Carol, you are absolutely correct and it does frepresent the lion's share of folks who are poor in America. It's lots of women, fir the most part, who get up at 4:00 in the morning, catch a bus to one job and another bus to a second job... Meanwhile, relatives try to look after the kids while this por woman recieves little or no help from the government...

Meanwhile, back at the Department of Defense, seems somehow $5B got lost... Ahhhh, who cares...

Meanwhile, bacl to our mom who gets on the bus at 4:00 in the morning, according to Boss Hog, $5.15 a hour is plenty...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: mg
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 10:26 PM

if you go back a few generations, most cultures had a culture that was pretty much what I was describing. Don't keep beating that hopeless drum. Things can change, and they can change quickly, for the better or for the worse. Don't assume that because people are caught up in a cycle of poverty, especially mixed with drugs and/or alcohol, that that is what they want or what they hope for for their children. Believing that people can't change their circumstances and their behavior is helping to condemn them. I truly think that at the same time that people insist that others have an economic stake in keeping people poor, so they can work as wage slaves etc., that other people have a psychological stake in keeping people poor. I truly believe this. The poor, not the working poor, for whom I would support all sorts of health benefits, housing supplements, etc., but the poor tied in with abuse, drugs, etc..(and I would support them as well, but impose a bunch of conditions, drug tests, inspections etc)..serve a purpose for people, and I think it is to act as surrogates for what they themselves would like to do but don't dare. Think about this. People want other people to be poor for some reason. Why???????? mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 12:29 AM

There are many reasons, I expect. Depends on your psychology, and your position in life.

As someone once said, "everybody wants somebody that they can look down on"! (was it John Prine?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 07:38 AM

And everybody wants somebody to clean their toilets...and clean them for as little as possible. Anyone read The Grapes of Wrath?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 07:57 AM

Well, gol danged... Drug testing and other consitions for those recievung assistence from the governemnt? Great idea. Lets start with Dick Cheney... No, make it Goergie Porge hisself after his next pretzel (wink, wink) incident...

B:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 10:24 AM

I'm in favour of a society where everyone cleans the toilets...but on a rotating basis. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 10:38 AM

So am i...but i would be. I always end up cleaning the toilet...sigh....don't even get paid...:0)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 04:15 PM

but rotate carefully. I hate it when it sloshes over the rim.

I can't imagine wealthy who actually want there to be poor people. At worst I imagine many neither care nor think about it, but "want?" wow. I hardly know what to say. That's beyond cynical.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: GUEST,Heidebundt Pikelmaas, Arms Dealer
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 04:29 PM

You are naive, John. Without poor people, where do you think I would get workers who are willing to put up with slave-wages and atrocious working conditions? How do you think I would be able to stimulate violence, civil wars, and insurrection in impoverished countries, if there were not many people suffering from a lack of food, habitation, medicine, and the other things that give people peace of mind? How could the ragtag armies that purchase my weapons convince 14-year-olds to abandon their toys and pick up an AK-47, were they not living in despair and squalor? How could I even be seen AS fantastically rich...if others were not wretchedly poor?

And I am rich, John. Very rich. No thanks to you. Many rich people are like you, John. They're naive. Some are even social idealists, who wish to improve the lot of humanity. I regard such bleeding hearts as rather pathetic specimens, since they fail to realize that eliminating poverty would be going against the basic needs of a competitive economy and would be disloyal to their own class in the end.

I've never suffered from that kind of fairy-tale thinking. If you want a teeter totter to move, you've got to increase the weight at one end. It's as simple as that. Poverty feeds wealth, and wealth confers exclusivity and authority upon those who most naturally merit it...people like me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 08:08 PM

Rich imagination, that's fir sure...

Well written...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: hesperis
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 12:36 PM

I think it'd be fairly easy to persuade a 14-year-old to pick up a gun instead of a toy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why do we need poverty?
From: John Hardly
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 05:37 PM

Yeah, most 14-year olds have outgrown toys, unless you consider Nintendo/Gameboy as toys.

The young men of Columbine and Paducah weren't living in squalor. They were more like the kid who wrote the fantasy of more mass murder in high school that Clinton Hammond sees as harmless in another active thread here.


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