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BS: Why do we need poverty?

Jim Tailor 26 Feb 05 - 02:09 PM
Little Hawk 26 Feb 05 - 02:13 PM
Little Hawk 26 Feb 05 - 02:17 PM
Jim Tailor 26 Feb 05 - 02:35 PM
CarolC 26 Feb 05 - 03:01 PM
dianavan 26 Feb 05 - 03:15 PM
CarolC 26 Feb 05 - 03:27 PM
Jim Tailor 26 Feb 05 - 03:31 PM
CarolC 26 Feb 05 - 03:35 PM
CarolC 26 Feb 05 - 03:37 PM
Jim Tailor 26 Feb 05 - 03:38 PM
Don Firth 26 Feb 05 - 03:40 PM
CarolC 26 Feb 05 - 03:47 PM
Little Hawk 26 Feb 05 - 03:47 PM
CarolC 26 Feb 05 - 03:57 PM
Little Hawk 26 Feb 05 - 04:02 PM
CarolC 26 Feb 05 - 04:10 PM
Little Hawk 26 Feb 05 - 04:17 PM
Jim Tailor 26 Feb 05 - 04:27 PM
Little Hawk 26 Feb 05 - 04:30 PM
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

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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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