Friday, February 23, 2007

Inequality

How does America look to people living in desperately poor countries? Do they spend their time longing to be like Paris Hilton or Brad Pitt, or do they just like the idea of being able to afford nice food and a TV?

Another way of putting it is; how concerned are Somalians about American inequality? Not much would be my guess, why the hell should they be? This might be a pointless exercise, but imagine traveling back in time to have a word with an average member of the proletariat. Tell him that after 150 years of capitalism the average worker (who will still be classified as poor) will work fewer hours than bourgeois scum (many will choose not to work) yet still live in 3 bedroom houses (not overcrowded) and be able to afford plenty of good food and nice clothes. Then explain all the cool gadgets that he will own, the medical care he will receive and holidays he could enjoy.

Then explain that rich people will still have LOTS more wealth. This extra wealth is normally spent on better health care, gadgets and holidays. It will probably not be possible to explain the differences in quality but I have my doubts that leather seats and wide screens will really outrage our coal shoveller. I think he would be astounded that these people will still be referred to as poor (assuming you can convince him that it’s true).

The idea that a poor worker from 1850 would damn 2007 America because of inequality is bizarre.

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