Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Six Ways the Rich Are Waging a Class War Against the Poor

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Sept 26, 2011

The article is wordy and a a bit too specific, in a misleading way. But it ultimately gets at six of the ways the rich are waging a class war against the poor. Here's my clearer, more pointed (and more international) list:

1. Attacking the Vote

It's not just about depicting voter registration as "unAmerican". The vote is being undermined world-wide, not only through disenfranchisement, but also through money politics, divestment of public goods and responsibility into private hands, and the corruption of politics generally.

2. Unemployment (without benefits)

The people no longer needed to produce consumer goods are depicted as lazy and slackers, and their unemployment is blames on their lack of a desire to work. This despite the fact that they are those who have historically contributed to society, and should have earned a share of its wealth.

3. Denial of Status

Because the poor have managed to amass some quantity of essentially worthless goods, their poverty is denied recognition. This is the 'everybody has colour TV so nobody is poor' argument.

4. Paternalism

The poor are blamed for their own poverty, and therefore measures - such as food stamps - must be undertaken so they do not deepen their poverty. These measures effectively disempower the poor and prevent their use of what meagre means they have in anything other than an approved manner.

5. Distraction from Cause

To hear the rich, the causes of poverty are legion: everything from single-parent homes to poor education outcomes to inferior cultural values. Consequently, anti-poverty initiatives are directed away from the actual causes of poverty. These, in turn, rather than becoming measures to reduce poverty, become mechanisms of transferring public wealth back to the rich.

6. Taxation

The bulk of the burden of taxation falls upon those who earn the least in society, this particularly when consumption taxes are taken into account. Wealthy entities, such as the rich and large corporations, function essentially tax-free; even those who pay taxes are eligible for support and subsidy programs unimaginable to the poor.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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