Thursday 20 September 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".

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".


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.

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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