Winter In America Gets Colder : Why We Choose Poverty


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    Lewis Wickes Hine “Tough Los Angeles newsboys” May 1915 “Nine-year-old newsie and his 7-year-old brother ‘Red'” Broadly speaking, if we look at what h
    [See the full post at: Winter In America Gets Colder : Why We Choose Poverty]

    Ken Barrows

    The first question: Why does the USA measure its wealth by Gross Domestic Product? After all, in theory, one person could capture all the gains in a specific year. What about depreciation? Shouldn’t we measure our success by Net Domestic Product. Got to replace the infrastructure, you know.

    The USA is not willing to have a discussion about what success means, so nothing will change. Oh well.



    Until recently, Peter was not living in our neighbourhood.

    The riff-raffs are everywhere.


    The glorious 70’s. I remember them well. Working 60 hour weeks, the spouse working 50, and still prices rose faster than we could keep up.

    Wages lagged inflation all the way through the stag-flationary 70’s, but we were all poor together, so I guess the standard was set pretty low.

    Add to insult, my tax bill was 45% of an income that was gone before I received it.

    But, there are lies, damn lies and there are statistics. And if a statistic is massaged enough, often enough, it becomes accepted as truth. So, “statistically,” I guess we were in tall clover.

    Now, experience tells me “poverty” just ain’t what it used to be.


    Ilargi et al,

    As facts/events change over time, and it’s been a while since a general overview of your, and Stonleighs outlook, might there be an update sometime here on any changes of mind you may have on the general scheme of things? Understandably, as time allows.



    Perhaps of interest. “Help GDP. Burn your house;”


    Our American conservatives know instinctively but usually not consciously that poverty and even slavery are a precondition of freedom. If American had never had slavery it would never have been free. All those pictures of child laborers in the South AE is so fond of represent the widespread poverty of the region which in fact is an ideal held by the powerful conservative minority represented by the states of the Confederacy who dictate our politics today.

    I know it all seems non nonsensical. The first thing to understand is the modern conservatives in the US, England and to some extent other Western countries want firstly a proper social order. An order where people know their place. Prosperity is actually anathema to that proper order for it makes people think they can rise, take risks, go it alone. All things destructive of a well ordered conservative society. All the nostalgia for the old South brushes right up against all this but never admits it. De Tocqueville specifically addressed the Conservative idea he shared that a better and happier society was one where people knew and accepted their class, their place.

    The growth thing is really a liberal idea more than a conservative one. Decry as one might about the desire for more poverty and all the baggage which goes along with that the sad fact is that Conservatives are more in tune with what is happening and will continue to than liberals who think austerity is an option.

    John d

    Distribution of wealth, under capitalism, results in production of many unproductive goods and services, and while it might be looked on by some as a type of accounting system,to track work done by individuals, it no longer, if ever, has been a fair and equitable one.

    Skewed and screwed, I think we should be able to come up with something better than that.

    Looks like the current Woodstock is here:

    Buses reported to be on their way, wish I was closer and younger. lol


    Hi Folks,

    There are [strike]millions of Americans[/strike] billions globally who’ve been unemployed so long they no longer even count as unemployed. There are [strike]millions[/strike] billions more working jobs that don’t pay the bills. This can and will not simply be undone by a growing economy. Many are scarred for life, and that certainly goes for the huge numbers of children growing up in poverty and now seeing their food stamps cut to boot. Leaving aside whether we see rising inequality as a good or a bad thing, we need to realize that it is a choice we make for ourselves and others: there is no need for [strike]25% of our children to be too poor to function well[/strike] 1.5 million children to die every year from hunger, there is enough wealth in our societies to provide for them. We would just need to redistribute that wealth, and to limit inequality to the levels we had when our economies were doing better than they ever have, before or since. Would that really be such a bad thing? Are we truly better off creating this fake Darwinian jungle we have today? Just asking.

    And then of course there’s that last remaining question: “How long do you think such a society can last?”

    …just added a few tweaks… I think your picture at the start says it all really – nothing has changed. But just to add Total percentage of U.S. households that are at risk of hunger = 11% Percent of world population considered to be starving = 33% So they’ve still got some catching up to do…

    As for how long it will last? How long has any despotic regime/Empire lasted? Despite falling energy reserves and increasing costs of extraction, there is still way more than enough energy to keep the elite and their military boot boys in control for decades, if not centuries. Just look how long the Edo period of Japan lasted (1603–1867) with its own brutal social structure with its caste system of Samurai, Peasants, Artisans and Merchants, with an ‘outcaste’ class of baraku, yet very sustainable ‘society’ as discussed by Azby Brown:


    To be honest it is becoming clear that we are seeing the beginnings of a global feudal system, which like all ‘feudal systems, has an all powerful elite commanding a loyal guard of enforcement. And as for ‘society’ making a choice – its doubtful if there ever was one given the deluded power crazed nature of most humans, after all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.


    Golden Oxen

    Over the next 30 years, 1975-2005, the standard of living still seemed to rise, but if we look behind the numbers and between the lines, we see that much of the wealth increase over that period is illusional, because it was increasingly based on credit, i.e. it was borrowed from the future,

    Not surprisingly this was the period shortly after the US dollar, the world’s reserve currency, severed it’s last link to Gold.

    Doubt very much if it is a mere coincidence.


    Michael Hudson talks history on this Extraenvironmentalist podcast. Feudalism comes up quite a bit.


    Hi Sensato,

    Yeah, two interesting idea sets about what’s going on and how it will play out. Combine them both and its pretty much what TAE are about. No 56 & No 39 are pretty good too – in fact most of them are really great. However, reality as always will fall between all opinions… :dry:


    John d

    Briefly on Feudalism, that was a system that involved the king, his nobles and how land and political authority was delegated. The system which the ‘peasant’ lived under could be termed Manorism and for the most part was not part of the Feudal system other than obligations to the lord of the manor who was part of the Feudal system. A third party, or system was the Church which also had land and it’s peasants to service it. It as well had the tithe or a tenth of the productive wealth. Mix those well and you have what might be called ‘Medievalism’.

    In a way and under the constraints of available energy the peasant was to a degree better off than what we will be looking forward to. Corporations and financial corporations in particular, are taxing us modern peasants through the mechanism of financially designed austerity, a transfer of public goods to private hands and keeping them in those hands. Nothing back to you Jocko, my peasant pal, not even a Te Deum to break the tedium.

    Viscount St. Albans

    An update from the exchange markets:

    Washington DC. The President confirmed his commitment to a strong handshake. There have been concerns that the handshake could weaken if the Central Bank continued its policy of empty gestures.

    In other news, the French Kiss tumbled as word spread of a Mono-outbreak. Traders shunned the sloppy garlic-flavored spittle for the security and stability of a steely eyed Norwegian stare.

    This weekend, all eyes are focused on Silvio Berlusconi’s Sardinian pleasure palace. For weeks, interest in Mediterranean styled slap-and-tickle has grown, and traders want a piece of the action before the party’s over.

    The Russian bear hug squeezed out gains.

    And finally, from Basel, International regulators continued to flex their muscle, prying open the once cloistered doors of the exclusive Swiss Exchange. Police were seen leaving the premises with boxes of whips, chains, and leather gimp suits. Swiss Bankers maintain that secrecy is paramount, and, for the sake of global financial stability, the identities of market participants can not be shared.

    That’s it for the weekly exchange update. As always, a reminder to the audience: The exchange markets are for consenting adults. When the action heats up, you can quickly lose your shirt.


    And those hard ways of living resources has been more complicated in today’s modern world because the evolution of digital technology, where almost every prints are even invade by technology.

    “works at Digitekprinting”
    -check us at

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