to remind people that 1 in 3 children born on Tuesday were born into poverty

(280 Posts)
kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 00:16:09

www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2012/jun/15/poverty-map-britain#ward

Check out your local ward. 41% in inner city Leeds where I work.

Let's not forget them.

Caster8 Mon 29-Jul-13 22:18:22

There are roughly 190 countries in the world. I somehow thought you would quote China and India, because they are in the headlines. But that still leaves 188 countries. Yes, most of Europe and USA and some others can be discounted.

www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/which-countries-are-leading-global-economic-growth/14979

A list of just some of the countries around the world experiencing economic growth in 2012

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Jul-13 22:01:45

I would agree, the world is large and much of it undeveloped.

This area is much contested. I am inclined to think that because capitalism relies on economic inequalities & at the root of it is exploitation of labour and the engine that drives it on accumulation (capital absorption problem). Historically we became the most industrialised nation, exploiting cheap labour in the acquisition of resources. Resources that were exported to us and we then manufactured. By the early 20th century our internal market was good for at least a good percentage of what we created. By the 70's investment was already being exported and because of things like containerisation, manufacturing was off-shored but we still consumed. But this consumption was built on the back of access to credit and because of the exploitation of much cheaper labour elsewhere.

We are now in decline (I think we are in a new phase) whereby much of world is still undeveloped but their internal markets are weak with little consumer demand. There is some internal demand within china now and to a much lesser degree india. But this is only from the portion of the populace that is wealthy (capitalists themselves)

Because of the labour theory of value, the workers can never create demand for all of the goods/services they create. Some marxists would say that capitalism self sustains demand within an internal market or even at a global level because capitalists make up the short fall in consumption.

But do they? because right now there is very little demand. So the rich do not make up the difference and do not stimulate the economy on the back of their spending.

In short, capitalism thrives on inequality, creates inequality and then eventually implodes because of.......too much inequality. We will never get to a point where we have actually developed the entire globe. Exploit it and damage the environment but never equal levels of development and living standards.

Caster8 Mon 29-Jul-13 11:27:21

Mini, but wouldnt you say that the world is so large, 7 billion and counting, that of course there are areas of growth? Have to be if you ask me.
There are always areas of the world growing, even now. Perhaps say 50 countries out of 250 or whatever are currently growing.
And those canny investors certainly know whaich areas those are. That is part of their job.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Jul-13 10:13:34

Its called the "Capital Absorption Problem"

It presents in two key ways: individual capitalists can't find areas of low risk to invest and so don't, as described above.

and: in Marxist terms as "Harvey points out, that a ‘healthy’ capitalist economy must expand at a rate of about 3 per cent per annum. This means, of course, that more and more capital surplus must be absorbed. If we are to return to 3 per cent compound growth today, $1.6 trillion in surplus capital would need to be profitably invested. If sustained growth returns, the world economy will need to absorb some $3 trillion in surplus capital by 2030 This, Harvey remarks, is ‘a very tall order’ There simply must come a point where capital accumulation outstrips the capacity of the world economy to absorb the growing capital surplus.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Jul-13 10:03:29

because there is no demand due to high levels of debt.

Say, I had £20,000 I would like to invest. I need to make a return on my investment. I won't take silly risks but calculated ones. However, right now, I know you can't afford spotty gnomes and garden fountains, so I won't invest in manufacturing these things. I will wait until I find something else, something that will be less risky and is more likely to give me the return I want. Meanwhile you have no gnomes, no money and no job!

FasterStronger Mon 29-Jul-13 08:49:02

However money is also a source of wealth, some people acquire and hoard ( corporations and wealthy individuals hoard and fail to invest in productive areas) Now we have a situation where corporations are sitting on approx $300 trillion of surplus capital which is not being invested in areas that create goods, services and jobs in the economy.

why would you do that?

grumpyoldbat Mon 29-Jul-13 00:23:08

Also prepay metres cost more per unit used.

grumpyoldbat Mon 29-Jul-13 00:21:26

Being poor makes budgeting harder than you think.

You can't freeze leftovers without a freezer. Can't cook properly without a cooker. Can't travel to the cheapest supermarket without transport (if not in walking distance). Can't take advantage of bulk buy offers without the cash to buy it or place to store it. Can't replace drafty heat leaking windows when you rent.

MiniTheMinx Sun 28-Jul-13 20:45:39

hadababygirl, ooh should I give up work now, are you suggesting we all get given money? woohooo wink

No I think people should earn their living unless they really can't. Those that can't are often doing some of the most worthwhile and unrewarded work in society, such as mothers and carers.

expatinscotland Sun 28-Jul-13 20:37:45

My maker? Eh?

JakeBullet Sun 28-Jul-13 20:35:42

Nope, we won't all ever earn the same money. Poverty (or the relative poverty we see in the UK) will still be with us. Ad even though it is relative poverty rather than the absolute poverty we see in the third world it is relevant. The poorest in society still have poorer outcomes in nearly all areas of life. It is how this is tackled whichnismopwn to debate.

hadababygirl Sun 28-Jul-13 20:09:53

Do some of you then think we should all be given exactly the same amount of money on a monthly basis?

And if we did, we still wouldn't get rid of poverty.

JakeBullet Sun 28-Jul-13 19:57:25

I agree with you there handcream, it is staggering what people consider as "essential".

For me "essential" is the rent, council tax, water, gas, electricity etc plus food. Then I add phone etc..most people NEED a phone but not an iphone etc. Broadband for homework, job applications etc and that's it.

Not essential are Sky, iphones, the latest TV etc.

handcream Sun 28-Jul-13 19:03:55

I think some are assuming that when people are given money (benefits, from working etc) they know how to budget. A friend of mine had a short term role at the local council helping people who were on benefits and low wages and getting into debt with pay day type loans.

She was staggered at some people who really didnt have clue for example, I have £500 - out of that I need to pay xx and xx and anything else is for the non essentials.

IPhones, blackberries on contracts cigs and Sky were often something that she flagged to people as 'non essentials'. A couple of people she was assisting complained about her pointing out these as they felt they were 'essential'. She was told by her management not to mention again that these particular items were non essential as it hurt the people's self esteem.

What is the point of looking at what someone is spending, pointing out what they can save on and then being critizied for it!

MiniTheMinx Sun 28-Jul-13 12:24:07

If you were asked by "your maker" to justify a luxury holiday whilst people went hungry, could you?

Me no, I would struggle.

no matter how poor you think you are, you are in the top 1% of wealthy people world wide. So unless you want to reduce the entire world to living in mud huts and scrabbling in dirt you are not going to level out 'poverty'

This really is a non-argument.

Money is a commodity in its own right but also the means of exchange, we exchange it in order to acquire the basics of life (because all basics are now commodities under this system) IT ISN'T the amount of money in the system but the rate at which it is exchanged against other commodities. Just think how many times one £20 note changes hands and how many bills it pays and commodities it purchases.

However money is also a source of wealth, some people acquire and hoard ( corporations and wealthy individuals hoard and fail to invest in productive areas) Now we have a situation where corporations are sitting on approx $300 trillion of surplus capital which is not being invested in areas that create goods, services and jobs in the economy.

This means that those who rely on wages (or would be waged but instead rely on benefits) never having enough money to exchange to meet living requirements. That money is "locked" not in the exchange system as means of exchange but has been hoarded. And what is more, that money is made through the profits of their own labour and consumption, it is effectively all of our money. Increasingly we see a situation where greater surpluses are accumulation at the top, people are having to take on debt, which in turn increases the accumulation at the top. This is not a healthy situation for the survival of capitalism because too much inequality causes systemic failure and growing poverty, we all lose out, even those that feel quite secure at the moment are not as secure as they might otherwise be.

Levelling the playing field doesn't mean we all live in abject third world poverty, it is not a zero sum game.

grumpyoldbat Sun 28-Jul-13 10:51:28

How is it worse than telling someone suffering that the deserve it, telling them they are scum? It's certainly not as cruel.

kim147 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:42:19

Just a question - and so true. We do only think about ourselves but when you look at the world, we are so so lucky.

I'm not sure if we can justify it, to be honest. We are lucky in the West.

HollyBerryBush Sun 28-Jul-13 10:39:37

If you were asked by "your maker" to justify a luxury holiday whilst people went hungry, could you?

Incredibly melodramatic and so emotionally blackmailing. As pointed out way up the thread, in the western world no matter how poor you think you are, you are in the top 1% of wealthy people world wide. So unless you want to reduce the entire world to living in mud huts and scrabbling in dirt you are not going to level out 'poverty'. Or perhaps you are only thinking of localised people?

grumpyoldbat Sun 28-Jul-13 10:39:20

The cheapest and easiest thing people could do to make poor people feel better is say hello, stop ridiculing them and kicking them while they are down. The boost that would give to mood and self esteem makes the slog of a low paid job and/or job hunting that little bit more tolerable. IME

Fillyjonk75 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:36:44

I know people have free choice about how to spend their money in life. But is there something wrong in a society where people can spend £1000s on luxury goods and holidays whilst their neighbours who may live only a few miles away struggle to feed and clothe themselves and their children

Or a few more miles away, people whose crop has failed and are in the middle of a civil war and struggle to eat at all.

Fillyjonk75 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:32:55

The more heartening thing is that there is starting to be more co-operation across nations and continents with regards to tax. At some point there will be nowhere to hide what you should be paying in tax. Also wages are going up in developing countries at a pace, so companies will have to compete on something other than cheap (child) labour.

kim147 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:32:22

I think some people don't realise how lucky they are - or maybe they do but think only of themselves.

I know people have free choice about how to spend their money in life. But is there something wrong in a society where people can spend £1000s on luxury goods and holidays whilst their neighbours who may live only a few miles away struggle to feed and clothe themselves and their children.

Can that be justified as a society? If you were asked by "your maker" to justify a luxury holiday whilst people went hungry, could you?

<But of course, we all do it. Look out for ourselves first and who can blame us>

Caster8 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:20:56

To my mind, both ends of the financial spectrum need some sorting out, especially the top end.

And I think that, until the top end is dealt with, will people have too much stomach to fiddle about with the bottom end.

I know some people say, well if the large corporations pay the amounts in tax that they should, that they will go elsewhere and take their jobs with them. I suspect that is true up to a point. But at lwast things would be fairer. Though that is wasy for me to say, when I dont directly know anyone who works for them. Well 1 person, thinking about it.

Fillyjonk75 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:13:38

The key for me is the spread of income. The gap between rich and poor
has widened as successive governments have allowed the private sector to dominate everything and make vast amount of money off the backs of those on low to medium incomes. While people are still not paid properly, even in this country, let alone in the second and third world. There is very little 'trickle down' effect. Especially in times of recession and economic stagnation.

Poorer people are maintaining, or in fact, improving the lifestyles of the plutocrats who have seen their standard or living get better in the last five years, while most peoples' has got worse - some to dramatic effect.

MiniTheMinx Sun 28-Jul-13 10:00:25

Lazyjaney, I wouldn't argue otherwise because the logic in your argument is sound. I would point out that although the way in which poverty is measured seems to validate the argument that we have huge levels of poverty and must act, what is more likely (when you conclude how the elite act to misinform us) is that measured in such a way it seems the number of people slipping into poverty hasn't/doesn't increase. Plus it undermines the argument about what poverty actually is. So in short, the way they have chosen to measure poverty allows those on the right to deny its existence. That is quite purposeful IMO.

If they chose a different way of measuring poverty, it might be found that the data would not be open to misinterpretation.

I'm not certain that people on 30,000 pa with a family, are actually doing anything other than scraping by because of the erosion of wages through stagnation and inflation. In just a few years I'm sure we will witness huge levels of debt related in energy costs. It isn't possible for every non-negotiable payment to rise at the rate at which it is. It literally becomes a question of the council and the gas company picking over the coppers in your purse in a fight to be paid first/or at all. And if all money is earmarked for absolute essentials how does that bode for the economy and for our job security?

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