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How America Criminalised Poverty

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/aug/10/america-poverty-criminalised

Food is another expenditure that has proved vulnerable to hard times, with the rural poor turning increasingly to "food auctions", which offer items that may be past their sell-by dates. And for those who like their meat fresh, there's the option of urban hunting. In Racine, Wisconsin, a 51-year-old laid-off mechanic told me he was supplementing his diet by "shooting squirrels and rabbits and eating them stewed, baked and grilled". In Detroit, where the wildlife population has mounted as the human population ebbs, a retired truck driver was doing a brisk business in raccoon carcasses, which he recommends marinating with vinegar and spices.

The most common coping strategy, though, is simply to increase the number of paying people per square foot of dwelling space – by doubling up or renting to couch-surfers.

It's hard to get firm numbers on overcrowding, because no one likes to acknowledge it to census-takers, journalists, or anyone else who might be remotely connected to the authorities.

In Los Angeles, housing expert Peter Dreier says that "people who've lost their jobs, or at least their second jobs, cope by doubling or tripling up in overcrowded apartments, or by paying 50 or 60 or even 70% of their incomes in rent". According to a community organiser in Alexandria, Virginia, the standard apartment in a complex occupied largely by day labourers has two bedrooms, each containing an entire family of up to five people, plus an additional person laying claim to the couch.

A very depressing picture.

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I guess one way to eliminate poverty is to make it illegal to be poor- then sweep the debris of that policy off the streets.

Actually it reads like a tory wet dream- the only question being what degree of demonisation would suffice to facilitate the policy changes required to get there.

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Not sure about the title 'criminalised poverty' but a lot of things we might think are normal here are frowned upon in the US.

Ie HOA ordanances stating you cant grow food to eat in your own gardens.

Seems strange in the land of the free on your own property, but i guess having a nice lush green grass lawn is more important.

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Actually it reads like a tory wet dream- the only question being what degree of demonisation would suffice to facilitate the policy changes required to get there.

The first step in such a propaganda campaign would be to get people used to calling them 'rats', 'scum', that sort of thing. You must begin with dehumanisation.

Edited by _w_

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I guess one way to eliminate poverty is to make it illegal to be poor- then sweep the debris of that policy off the streets.

Actually it reads like a tory wet dream- the only question being what degree of demonisation would suffice to facilitate the policy changes required to get there.

Sounds like a plan.

Would have to be careful of fiscal poverty drag mind you.

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The first step in such a propaganda campaign would be to get people used to calling them 'rats', 'scum', that sort of thing. You must begin with dehumanisation.

Next is the exact equation of money to achievement, or wealth to worth. It's your fault you're poor.

So you have people who aren't like us and aren't capable of being like us, or 'contributing' to our society.

What's after that?

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The first step in such a propaganda campaign would be to get people used to calling them 'rats', 'scum', that sort of thing. You must begin with dehumanisation.

I think we are well down the road on that front- so long as the target is white and poor it's perfectly acceptable to use whatever derogatory term you like.

The 'Chavs' are subhuman vermin, apparently- which makes it all the more surprising when those that employ such rhetoric express shock when these creatures fail to conform to their own middle class ideas of moral behaviour- exactly what expectations do these people have of the group they themselves openly call subhuman?

It's surreal and laughable to label this group as less than human while simultaneously expecting them to exhibit a 'work ethic' and 'social responsibility'- especially when the entire parade of the great and good are shown to be a corrupt and socially illiterate collection of cheats, liars, fraudsters and thieves.

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Not sure about the title 'criminalised poverty' but a lot of things we might think are normal here are frowned upon in the US.

Ie HOA ordanances stating you cant grow food to eat in your own gardens.

Seems strange in the land of the free on your own property, but i guess having a nice lush green grass lawn is more important.

That is incredible! How much of the USA does this cover?

US lawns use more fertilizer than their agriculture and more petrol is spilt filling mowers than the exon valdize.

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Ie HOA ordanances stating you cant grow food to eat in your own gardens.

Seems strange in the land of the free on your own property,

are you serious? They can't grow a few spuds in their garden? I knew there was a issue with small holding with registration of livestock made impossible but this is ridiculous. Amazing how blind the world is to how terrible a place the USA would be to live.

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That is incredible! How much of the USA does this cover?

US lawns use more fertilizer than their agriculture and more petrol is spilt filling mowers than the exon valdize.

.

BTW great points made in a non lawn way, Dehumanisation condoned or instigated by governments/leaders (political or spiritual) is very dangerous leads to horror like the Holocaust , Rwanda Srebenija.

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Two of the things contributing to this in the US are:

1. The myth of the self-made man.

2. Religion.

The self-made man myth in the US basically says anyone can make it if they work hard and are smart enough. The typical self-made man over there really cannot understand why others cannot follow in his footsteps. Typically, they are highly individualistic too: believing much regulation, even that around consumer protection, is simply red tape, that you make your own safety net and even life's misfortunes - like disease - are your own fault. This sense of self-responsibility is admirable in many ways - but clearly is unequally applied. The ruling financial oligarchy, for example, are bailed out with monotonous regularity and have access to money making opportunities most of the US population can only dream about. But, interestingly, even some of the poorest Americans believe the same.

Religion, particularly Christianity, in the US seems to have morphed to accommodate this. What probably was an important source of comfort and hope in hard times has now become another weapon to beat the poor with. It goes basically like this. God is responsible for everything - so if God isn't making you rich you need to do two things: stop sinning and get praying for wealth (and perhaps pay more tithes). Pray hard enough, be good enough and you will get rich.

This means that even if you are moderately successful - you have no reproducible means of increasing your success or helping others. God did it. The more enlightened might say God gave me these gifts and showed me how to use them. But generally, they can't dissect the wealth creation process in a meaningful way. That great deal they did. God did it. Basically, it's magic. Everything good that happens is the result of God, everything bad is their own fault.

Now I'm an atheist and perhaps a tad biased but I am a darn sight better off financially than the vast majority of evangelical Christians I know. I've got Christian evangelist friends I've known for nearly ten years - and I see no change in their situation (except perhaps for the worst in some cases). Clearly, there's something wrong with this picture.

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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Two of the things contributing to this in the US are:

1. The myth of the self-made man.

2. Religion.

The self-made man myth in the US basically says anyone can make it if they work hard and are smart enough. The typical self-made man over there really cannot understand why others cannot follow in his footsteps. Typically, they are highly individualistic too: believing much regulation, even that around consumer protection, is simply red tape, that you make your own safety net and even life's misfortunes - like disease - are your own fault. This sense of self-responsibility is admirable in many ways - but clearly is unequally applied. The ruling financial oligarchy, for example, are bailed out with monotonous regularity and have access to money making opportunities most of the US population can only dream about. But, interestingly, even some of the poorest Americans believe the same.

Religion, particularly Christianity, in the US seems to have morphed to accommodate this. What probably was an important source of comfort and hope in hard times has now become another weapon to beat the poor with. It goes basically like this. God is responsible for everything - so if God isn't making you rich you need to do two things: stop sinning and get praying for wealth (and perhaps pay more tithes). Pray hard enough, be good enough and you will get rich.

This means that even if you are moderately successful - you have no reproducible means of increasing your success or helping others. God did it. The more enlightened might say God gave me these gifts and showed me how to use them. But generally, they can't dissect the wealth creation process in a meaningful way. That great deal they did. God did it. Basically, it's magic. Everything good that happens is the result of God, everything bad is their own fault.

Now I'm an atheist and perhaps a tad biased but I am a darn sight better off financially than the vast majority of evangelical Christians I know. I've got Christian evangelist friends I've known for nearly ten years - and I see no change in their situation (except perhaps for the worst in some cases). Clearly, there's something wrong with this picture.

In your opinion would there ever come a point where this attitude might flip- for example if the current 'big government' meme were to morph into a more generalised anti corporate anti super rich mindset. What would these people do if they came to believe that the system were in fact a rigged game in which they are destined to fail? What would their god give them permission to do then?

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  • 276 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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