Great investigation of how the world has shifted around us, pinching many in a vice grip of poverty and income inequality. This piece is about Millennials, but I see many of my Gen-X peers here too.
What is different about us as individuals compared to previous generations is minor. What is different about the world around us is profound.
via Millennials Are Screwed – The Huffington Post
An outstanding post from my friend John today. Commended reading.
Those people for whom the system doesn’t work, be they those who are born without the prerequisite cognitive abilities needed to prosper or be they those who, because of life circumstances that they had absolutely zero control over, had serious obstacles placed in their life’s path, are why I’m troubled by the full-bore commitment to capitalism within certain segments of the Republican party. I don’t see how they have rightfully interacted with the fact that there are people living in our country for whom upward mobility is not attainable without help.
Even if I were to concede that it’s possible for a person to pull himself or herself up by the bootstraps, what about those individuals who don’t have any bootstraps with which to pull themselves up by? Look, my capitalist Republican friends, I agree with you that the best way to build wealth and security is through the free market. I agree that the future counterparts of my home improvement store co-workers will have a higher standard of living if free market principles are allowed to run their course. But what about today? What about those for whom the system doesn’t work? What about the children going to bed hungry tonight? How does capitalism feed and comfort them? How does capitalism acknowledge that we’re not created equal, and that some of us need help? How does capitalism help people for whom the bottom rung of the ladder of success is out of their reach to grasp that rung?
via My Problem With Capitalism | adayinhiscourt.
I’ve never thought about it this way, but an article by David Brooks in the New York Times yesterday titled “The Republic of Fear” jolted me into an idea I’ve never considered before.
We tend to think of economic solutions to poverty, whether in America or the developing world. Education, political stability, and cultural factors may make it onto the radar, but we assume the real solutions to the problem will lie in economic policy or habits.
Brooks makes an excellent case that actually, our American minds are so deeply colored by the safety and stability of our political and legal processes, we don’t see these factors when working in the developing world:
We in the affluent world live on one side of a great global threshold. Our fundamental security was established by our ancestors. We tend to assume that the primary problems of politics are economic and that the injustices of the world can be addressed with economic levers. When empires like the Soviet Union collapse, we send in economists with privatization plans instead of cops to help create rule of law. When thuggish autocracies invade their neighbors we impose economic sanctions.
But people without our inherited institutions live on the other side of the threshold and have a different reality. They live within a contagion of chaos. They live where the primary realities include violence, theft and radical uncertainty. Their world is governed less by long-term economic incentives and more by raw fear. In a world without functioning institutions, predatory behavior and the passions of domination and submission blot out economic logic.
The primary problem of politics is not creating growth. It’s creating order. Until that is largely achieved, life can be nasty, brutish and short.
via The Republic of Fear – NYTimes.com.
I highly recommend the entire piece, and I’d love to know who’s writing articles/books/blogs from this perspective.
Fantastic piece published on The Atlantic’s education page yesterday. Well worth your time to read.
Why Ivy League Schools Are So Bad at Economic Diversity – Robin J. Hayes – The Atlantic
By society and the job market, I continue to be seen as a “high-achiever” in essence because I was never set up to fail.
No other kid from my block in East Flatbush was so lucky. At their truly public schools (not charters, not magnets, but common schools available to every family in the neighborhood), they routinely faced atrocious conditions including gun violence, overcrowding, and a curriculum that emphasized obedience over innovation. As outsiders to the college-prep “feeder system,” which includes a small number of competitive high schools including Philips Academy and Trinity, the students who persevere despite these formidable demands and manage to graduate, are rarely seen as “high-achieving” by schools like Yale.
via Why Ivy League Schools Are So Bad at Economic Diversity – Robin J. Hayes – The Atlantic.
A striking article about youth who ride the freight trains, with even more stunning photography.
The New Generation of American Train Hopers