Tag Archives: inequality

(1084) Lotto madness


Barely anyone at large in the industrial, consumer, automotive, real estate complex we call home has escaped the call of the lottery ticket.  Deep down, even the most sensible and realistic of us harbours a fantasy of something for nothing here.  We think of all the good things we could do for those we care about or all the crazy shit we could do for ourselves.  Either way, we frequently line up at that most suburban of settings, the gas station, and lay down several hours pay in our minimum wage job for a piece of paper that could change everything. Time to think a little more about the psycho-social effects of the lotteries, yeah?
EIther way, good luck and don’t forget to give us some.
Robin Hoodwinked:how billion dollar powerballs reflect 21st century inequality. State lotteries take from the poor to give to the rich, but we have options and there is a game-changing alternative
US basic income activist Scott Santens on medium.com

image: Mark Turnauckus via Flickr/CC

(1096) CEO victory day [CCPA report]


Today is the day when Canada’s chief corporate executives blow past the rest of us in earnings for the year.  They must be a very talented, special gang making between 3 and 183 million dollars a year. Wow.
Top CEOs earn more by today than average Canadian does all year: report
ctvnews.ca (video 3:38)
Throwing money at the problem: ten years of executive compensation
policyalternatives.ca
Canada’s top 100 paid CEOs: Canada’s top paid CEOs now take home 193 times what an average Canadian worker does. That’s not the only wage gap visible in this ranking
canadianbusiness.com
image: Flickr/CC

(998) Toronto’s wealth gap [Study]

martinreportOh dear.  Mexico City, Dallas and Seattle have more inequality than Toronto.  We are a little higher on the inequality list than most of us may think.  We got right into the North American ill top four thanks to eight billionaires, a brace of other rich folk and Canada’s slackness on inheritance taxes.  Crazy returns on real estate probably also helped the one percenters.  We’re nineteenth globally.

The geography of the global super-rich 47-page .pdf file
Martin Prosperity Institute/University of Toronto

Toronto’s 1 per cent are about 100,000 times wealthier than us. Divide between Toronto’s rich and the rest of us among the biggest in the world
metronews.ca

 

(953) Evicted [Book review]

evicted
Evicted. Poverty and Profit in the American City

Matthew Desmond
Crown Publishers, NY
432 pages
CAN $37.00 hardcover
What a knockout.  The more we think about this book the more we have to admire it.  Matthew Desmond took on his subject in a way that very few authors can: by going and living it bodily for an extended period of time.
Ethnography is a discipline within anthropology and sociology that involves direct observation of social interaction from within, or very close to, that interaction.  Milwaukee’s slum apartments and a large, dumpy (yet lucrative) trailer park are the settings at hand.  They are representative ones, unfortunately, in an America still longing for recovery.
Evicted reads often like a novel.  Desmond’s presentation of a brace of poor people, and those who make a living off of them, with historical background and socioeconomic data is nearly seamless.  Without this phenomenon Evicted would have been pretty tough going.  There’s a lot of serious bullshit and misery in America these days.
Indeed, the constant churn of misfortune in this book is awful.  Bouncing from one crap apartment in some bad neighbourhood to the next, the individuals Desmond lived beside are constantly stretched, fighting to stay ahead of total disaster.  Eviction is something of a new force acting on the lives of America’s poor, falling particularly hard on top of African American lives.  Desmond describes eviction as a handmaiden to mass incarceration.  The worst part of it all is just how lucrative the poor are for landlords, property owners, moving-and-storage companies.
Eviction’s depressing panorama is contemporary America for a lot of people.  Desmond tells us that nearly one third of Milwaukee’s evicted population are black females even though they are only nine percent of the general population (page 98).  Stuff like this is crazy.  It makes for quite depressing reading.
To be truthful, we nearly gave up a couple of times on all the rough apartments and dodgy building owners that are encountered here. What do you think having your personal effects piled on the curb feels like because you fell behind on the rent?  Evicted is important, though.  Much of its reality remains unstudied, undocumented and ignored by society at large.  This is not good, Americans deserve better.
As optimistic Canadians we would have liked it if half of Evicted had been like the twenty-page epilogue: stronger on solutions and positive statements rather than the narrative of bad luck and systemic grief.  We could urge the proactive adoption of specific policies to protect Canada’s post-industrial communities.
Desmond believes an expanded housing voucher program would liberate people like those he wrote about.  If such a program were large enough and well-funded it would probably function almost like a universal basic income, helping to reinforce a socio-economic level that nobody need fall below.
Hard reading on an important topic for anyone interested in contemporary American life.  Almost made easy by the author’s level of commitment and writing skills.   Buy this book.
evictedbook.com for the book trailer, photos, links and other features
Will this new book change the national debate on poverty?
thenation.com