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The growth of the American nouveau poor

Interesting article in Der Spiegel:

This time the recession is also affecting well-educated people who had been earning a good living until now. These people, who see themselves as solidly middle-class, now feel more threatened than ever before in the country's history. Four out of 10 Americans who consider themselves part of this class believe that they will be unable to maintain their social status.

More than a year after the official end of the recession, the overall unemployment rate remains consistently above 9.5 percent. But this is just the official figure. When adjusted to include the people who have already given up looking for work or are barely surviving on the few hundred dollars they earn with a part-time job and are using up their savings, the real unemployment figure jumps to more than 17 percent.

Even more unsettling is the fact that America, which has always been characterized by its unshakable belief in the American Dream, and in the conviction that anyone, even those at the very bottom, can rise to the top, is beginning to lose its famous optimism. According to recent figures, a significant minority of US citizens now believe that their children will be worse off than they are.

Many Americans are beginning to realize that for them, the American Dream has been more of a nightmare of late. They face a bitter reality of fewer and fewer jobs, decades of stagnating wages and dramatic increases in inequality. Only in recent months, as the economy has grown but jobs have not returned, as profits have returned but poverty figures have risen by the week, the country seems to have recognized that it is struggling with a deep-seated, structural crisis that has been building for years.
 
I guess full-blooded capitalism is not the answer after all. Maybe a mix between capitalism and a welfare state (like the Japanese used) can work.
 
I guess full-blooded capitalism is not the answer after all. Maybe a mix between capitalism and a welfare state (like the Japanese used) can work.

When trying to assess whether no-holds-barred devil-take-the-hindmost capitalism works, it's also crucial to ask whom it works for. For the top 1%, and even more, for the top 1/10 of 1%, it's been working out just dandy. For the bottom 80%, it's not been such a bed of roses. But while the US remains an oligarchy (masquerading as a democracy), with the political process as merely the velvet glove for this elite rule, and the mass of people uninvolved, ignorant, distracted, inarticulate, this modus operandi will continue. What we've seen in the recent past is the increasingly overt use of state power to bolster financial interests. By traditional definition, this is not capitalism any more, but fascism.
 
When trying to assess whether no-holds-barred devil-take-the-hindmost capitalism works, it's also crucial to ask whom it works for. For the top 1%, and even more, for the top 1/10 of 1%, it's been working out just dandy. For the bottom 80%, it's not been such a bed of roses. But while the US remains an oligarchy (masquerading as a democracy), with the political process as merely the velvet glove for this elite rule, and the mass of people uninvolved, ignorant, distracted, inarticulate, this modus operandi will continue. What we've seen in the recent past is the increasingly overt use of state power to bolster financial interests. By traditional definition, this is not capitalism any more, but fascism.


I do not think there is fascism at work here; its simple though, all-out capitalism does not work. We all want to make money, myself included, but it would be more satiating if poverty was eradicated in the richest most powerful country in the world. If the richest man has 50 billion dollars, and the poorest man lives on food stamps amongst roaches, then the system needs to be fixed. I do think nobel prices for economics should be reserved for the person that figures out how to make sure everyone can live relatively well, while those that go the extra mile can make more money.

The wide divide simply breeds crime, contempt and eventually leads to things such as xenophobia and eventually rascism.
 
I do think nobel prices for economics should be reserved for the person that figures out how to make sure everyone can live relatively well, while those that go the extra mile can make more money.
The issue is, poverty is relative. The lifestyle of today's poor is actually quite good in comparison to the middle classes of 100, and especially 200, years ago.

It's simply that they do not live like the rich that it is considered "abject poverty."
 
The issue is, poverty is relative. The lifestyle of today's poor is actually quite good in comparison to the middle classes of 100, and especially 200, years ago.

It's simply that they do not live like the rich that it is considered "abject poverty."

Amigo, put a bit of credible content in your posts. Two centuries ago, what there was of the middle class wasn't living in tents, wasn't subsisting on food stamps, wasn't going bankrupt because of medical bills.

Compared to the poor of Zimbabwe and Nigeria, the American poor doubtless live a life of luxury but is that the yardstick the richest country in the world is supposed to use? Countries substantially poorer than the US (in terms of per capita GDP). have substantially better medical care, education, and social services. Oops, sorry: I can already hear the howls of the Boeotians claiming I've uttered more heretical anti-American sentiment.
 
@BigBadWolf

I have an elderly Eastern European grandmother who is currently living in Boston.
Did you know that medicaid pays for what are known as "daycares" for seniors? What do you think comes included in them?

1) Theatre (about 50$) tickets, every week.
2) Food. Everyday. On holidays, they go to an expensive restaurant. One member of such a daycare got bored of "crappy" 10$ a pound caviar.
3) Free access to amenities like a swimming pool.

Oh, woe to these poor poor beings.


EDIT: By the way, I was getting a new prescription for my eyeglasses, and I saw a "poor" african american family getting Gucci glasses with their government coverage. Poor things. (And I'm not stereotyping, I overheard them asking how much they would be covered by their government plan.)
 
By definition, fascism is where state power is used to prop up big capital; where big capital has effectively hijacked the state, and controls its actions.
Well in that case......yep.

---------- Post added at 06:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:27 PM ----------

Muhammad Yunus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Apparently, microfinance has been exploited by banks to make money on the backs of those in poverty.
We touched on this issue in an interview with Sylvain Raynes

Interesting; will look up that link now.

---------- Post added at 06:32 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:29 PM ----------

@BigBadWolf

I have an elderly Eastern European grandmother who is currently living in Boston.
Did you know that medicaid pays for what are known as "daycares" for seniors? What do you think comes included in them?

1) Theatre (about 50$) tickets, every week.
2) Food. Everyday. On holidays, they go to an expensive restaurant. One member of such a daycare got bored of "crappy" 10$ a pound caviar.
3) Free access to amenities like a swimming pool.



Oh, woe to these poor poor beings.


EDIT: By the way, I was getting a new prescription for my eyeglasses, and I saw a "poor" african american family getting Gucci glasses with their government coverage. Poor things. (And I'm not stereotyping, I overheard them asking how much they would be covered by their government plan.)

My friend, kindly leave race and ethnicity out of this.
 
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