Sunday, 27 September 2015

America, A World Of Wealth And Squalor.

      America, land of the free, the pinnacle of capitalist development, probably the richest country in the world. So we should look to it to see the wonderful benefits of the capitalist system. In capitalist terms, America is successful. In the last six years America's wealth has grown by approximately 60%, during roughly the same time America's homeless children has grown by the same amount, 60%. In that American success story of capitalism, 16 million, 22% of families, live below the federal poverty level. 45% of families live in the low income level, and 16 million kids qualify for food stamps.
       Child poverty is field in which the great American capitalist dream leads the world. 
And from the Washington Post:
America is a 'Leader' in Child Poverty
       The U.S. has one of the highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world. As UNICEF reports, "[Children's] material well-being is highest in the Netherlands and in the four Nordic countries and lowest in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the United States."  Over half of public school students are poor enough to qualify for lunch subsidies, and almost half of black children under the age of six are living in poverty. With 32.2 percent of children living below this line, the U.S. ranks 36th out of the 41 wealthy countries included in the UNICEF report. By contrast, only 5.3 percent of Norwegian kids currently meet this definition of poverty.
      The sad and horrific conditions of the citizens of the wealthiest country in the world goes on, in every aspect of their lives, poverty overwhelms them in the midst of opulence.

Nevertheless, other measures of child well-being tend to confirm what the high childhood poverty rate suggests: According to a UNICEF report on 29 similarly affluent countries, American children rank 25th in safety, 27th in education, and 23rd in housing and environment, among other metrics. These results are less open to charges of political bias; the education ranking, for example, bases its findings mostly on school participation rates and international test scores.
       So this is where capitalist success leads us, low incomes, child poverty, poor education, but richer and richer countries, where that wealth is channelled into fewer and fewer hands. 

Los Angeles just realized it has a ginormous Skid Row problem and is galloping to the rescue with alleged plans to help the homeless. Bizarrely, this happened right after a devastating L.A. Weekly article detailed just how hideous things there are now. I guess the article shamed the city into doing something.
Skid Row in Los Angeles is so dangerous and disease-ridden that Union Rescue Mission workers are afraid to eat lunch at nearby restaurants and its CEO is now confined to a wheelchair due to bacterial infections he got from walking around the area. It’s at least as bad as diseased third world cities.
I lived in L.A. for years so pardon my skepticism, but I’m guessing the plan involves chasing the homeless out of the Skid Row, sterilizing and fumigating the area, then gentrifying it. Sure, housing for homeless might help some of them. However many homeless prefer living on the street and the plans don’t involve looking at roots causes, like what caused them to be homeless and, often, addicted to something. It’ll be out of sight, out of mind. The homeless will go elsewhere.
Andy Bales, the CEO now in a wheelchair, says “conditions on Skid Row are worse than they have ever been in the 11 years I’ve been here and I would venture to say that they are the worst and the most violent and the most lawless they have ever been.” He had a blister that became infected with E. coli, staph,, and strep while walking around, even though wearing a special boot. It quickly became hideously infected.
The shockingly unsanitary conditions found on Skid Row are rarely seen outside the Third World. In 2013, public health officials discovered a strain of tuberculosis believed unique to the area. And while all this makes just walking down the street dangerous, for diabetics and other people with compromised immune systems, it can be deadly.
Monochrome photos from "Making-invisible-visible"


  1. I have a red bicycle very similar to yours. A "GHOST SE 3000". But here the landscape is pretty arid and very warm, and the clouds are welcome (when they come, of course).

    1. I would gladly swap you some clouds for some of your sunshine.