Thursday, September 20, 2012

Poverty and Exploitation.

"They are at our mercy right now. They have to have a place to stay."

The logic of capitalism, explained by a capitalist: if you have money, you'll make millions, because "they are at our mercy right now".
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Thomas B. Edsall, professor of journalism at Columbia University, commenting on the work of Matthew Desmond, associate professor of sociology at Harvard, refers a conversation between Desmond and a Milwaukee slumlord (going by the pseudonym of Sherrena Tarver):
"At the height of the housing collapse, Tarver saw an opportunity. 'This moment right now,' she told Desmond, 'it's going to create a lot of millionaires'. 'You know, if you have money right now, you can profit from other people's failures. (...) I'm catching the properties. I'm catching 'em'." (See here, h/t Occasional Links & Commentary)
Edsall also quotes Desmond as asking:
"How different our theories would be - and with them our policy prescriptions - if we began viewing poverty as the result of a kind of robbery".

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I suppose it takes a sociologist and a journalist to do economics competently and to show us how utterly banal and childish mainstream economic theories are.

Economists should read the NYT piece.

Update:
21-09-2012. Peter Martin reporting on a related topic in Australia:
"From today..
"Newstart up $2.90 per fortnight to $492.60
"Pensions up $17.10 per fortnight to $772.60
"Department of Families Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, maximum single rates."
(See here)

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