Sunday, October 18, 2009

Eradicating poverty

I'm sitting here this morning feeling particularly poor. My wallet was stolen on Thursday and within two hours, the thief had emptied my bank account by charging cartons of cigarettes at a cluster of convenience stores and gas stations. According to my bank, I'll get the money back eventually. Meanwhile, I'm broke.

But am I poor? I have a roof over my head even though I'm behind in my rent. There's food in my kitchen-- rice, squash, corn meal, onions and boxes of pasta -- even if it doesn't particularly appeal to me to make a dinner from scratch. And I still have access to the Internet or I wouldn't be writing this!

I live simply and yet I am surely in the category of the world's richest 20%, who consume 76.6% of the world's resources. My cats probably had more to eat this morning than many of the one out of two children in this world who live in poverty.

For the last month I've been working my way through the rather dry but fascinating History of the Modern World by R. R. Palmer. I recently finished the chapter on Europe in 1848-- a year of revolution across the European continent. I hadn't known that capitalism was being critiqued so long ago!

"The early socialists, those before the revolution of 1848, were of many kinds, but all had certain ideas in common.....All thought it improper for owners of wealth to have so much economic power-- to give or deny work to the workers, to set wages and hours in their own interest, to guide all the labors of society in the interest of private profit. All therefore questioned the value of private enterprise, favoring some degree of communal ownership of productive assets-- banks, factories, machines, land and transportation. All disliked competition as a governing principle, and set forth principles of harmony, coordination, organizations or association instead.....Where the owners thought mainly of increasing production, without much concern over distribution, the early socialists thought mainly of a fairer or more equal distribution of income among all useful members of society."

Today, the position of corporations as persons is likely to be strengthened by the U.S. Supreme Court as corporations may be granted full First Amendment rights! See Dangerous Intersection.

I had a great chart I wanted to add to this post, but Blogger is having internal problems today.
Maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow the sun is supposed to shine, and maybe the bank will have returned my money by then. Meanwhile, I think I'll go make some rice.

4 comments:

marginalutility said...

God, the corporation as person legal fiction always terrifies me. & I've nothing more to say other than I really like this post.
-Caty

peacesojourner said...

Hello friend - so sorry to hear that your wallet was stolen - was glad to read that the bank will reimburse, however, the whole thing is upsetting.

The article was interesting - I haven't seen the movie yet - hopefully next week.

Keep up the good work!

Jerold Duquette said...

Michaelann,

Very sorry to here about your misfortune. Somehow, I have lost your email, but I wanted to tell you that our interview is online and can be viewed and/or downloaded from my site @ http://putupyourduqs.blogspot.com/

Thanks again for a very informative interview. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you think I could be helpful with any of your good works.

Jerold D.

Michaelann Bewsee said...

Thanks for your comments, friends.