Tag Archives: United States

(81) Death of the liberal class [Book review]

Suburbia could be said to have been a product of liberal values like redistribution of wealth, upward mobility, technological progress, public education, a merit-based system of economic rewards and rising standards of living.  Will it then die in the unfolding of the world as seen by Chris Hedges?  It’s a grim picture dear readers.  Hedges has given us a long, well written goodbye to liberals and their institutions.  What little is left of liberal values is seen as nothing more than a mask hiding corporate power and abuse.  We are two thirds finished this book and find it so powerful we decided to waste no time recommending it.  You have to be tough to make it through this one, though.  Hedges is describing a world gone to hell.  Politics and government, the arts, war, business, mass media, education, …nothing escapes.  Moral critique at its best, truly Hedges is a super-brained, seminary-schooled, war reporting version of Michael Moore.
All the more shame to CBC pseudo-journalist Kevin O’leary for his attempt to denigrate Hedges in October during an interview about the Occupy movement.  Imagine referring to a well-educated, heavily-published, Pulitzer-winning writer with a powerful sense of morality as someone who sounds like a “left wing nut job.”

(77) Buffalo

Is it too much a statement of the obvious to cross connect the decline of manufacturing in western countries with suburban poverty?  Buffalo, NY, which is now the third poorest city in the United States, would seem to be a case in point.  An economy dominated by financial services seems to act as a vast wealth collector for the super elites.  A manufacturing economy does the same but required inputs of labour which in turn required wages be paid out to the wider community.  It could also be said that there was an integrity, a moral good to be had in making the things one uses.

Suburban plight for poor BuffaloNews.com

(73) Governing suburban poverty

American state and municipal governments have seen their finances pounded since 2007.  That’s a bad development for everyone because those are the levels of government the most number of people are the closest to.  When we read items like the one below from Governing we get a detailed sense of how tough things can be.  Again, the communication difficulties and costs associated with doing business in the suburbs make the delivery of health and social services all the more problematic.  There’s also a cultural dimension that goes underappreciated.  It seems that people with middle class assumptions often adjust poorly to hard times and lack even basic knowledge of where to go to get help when they hit the skids.
Poverty comes to the suburbs: poverty is encroaching on suburban enclaves — even the most affluent of them. Many are ill-equipped to meet the new social-service needs.

(68) Escape from suburbia [DVD]

Escape From Suburbia: Beyond The American Dream dates from 2007 but we reference it here as quite a nice piece of background material.  The topic is peak oil and suburbia.  Escape is the follow up to The End of Suburbia and focuses on possible solutions.  Nothing much has really changed since either movie came out except that all our money was emailed up to some giant orbiting death star and we burned another 400 million barrels of oil.  Neither commodity is coming back any time soon.
The people seen in Escape are undertaking a handful of possible responses to the withdrawal of cheap energy from suburbia.  Some are optimistic, some are pessimistic, some are getting the hell out while they figure they still can.  Some are staying put, some are intellectualizing, others are angry.  The critique of the energy and consumer future begun in End of Suburbia turns toward suburban poverty with the compelling destruction of a large community garden in south central Los Angeles.  Implicit the whole time is that suburban poverty will be coming to a cul-de-sac near you sooner rather than later and that it won’t be pretty.
In 2007 suburban poverty was still somewhat behind the curtain …it ain’t now.
What will it all look like in 2017?

Canadians will enjoy scenes filmed in and around the Greater Toronto Area and words from David Suzuki and Kathryn Holloway.
James Howard Kunstler, a suburban-poverty.com favourite for years now, warns us not to ask him (or anyone for that matter) for solutions and hope but to find them within ourselves.  JHK would make a better social worker than he thinks he would.

(66) Las Vegas

Worrisome reading about Las Vegas, Nevada and poverty.  Probably the ultimate in suburban statements in its day, one has to wonder what kind of future this desert city has.  A near total dependency on motor vehicles, air conditioning and water from far away makes for some hair-raising possible futures.  Does it seem like the economy there is recovering in any way?  Will real estate values go up again?  Is it a matter of just waiting around for the next real estate boom?

Behind Las Vegas glitz and glamour: a dark city marred by poverty Guardian UK