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Old 02-04-2024, 11:19 AM   #46
grumpyskeptic
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The choice is equal poverty or unequal prosperity.
 
Old 02-04-2024, 05:54 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
The choice is equal poverty or unequal prosperity.
While that has been essentially true there are also levels and degrees. For example it is one thing to be poverty stricken in say Medieval Europe or Ancient Rome especially considering the breadth of the gap between Poor and Rich in far more than just wealth, and the difference to 2024 in so-called First World countries. This is affected to a rather large degree by Politics and over all Economics as well as Social norms.

For example there was a US Television show sometime around the 1980s iirc Called "20th Century" in which, sort of Ken Burns style, they featured photos of the times, the environment and people and interviewed still living people about their experiences. One episode centered around the Crash of '29. They interviewed one old lady who was born and raised on an Upstate New York farm to a struggling family. She had attended a one room schoolhouse which she left after grade 7. She saw a newspaper article with an ad from the New York Telephone Exchange seeking young women to be telephone operators. She applied and got an interview and was subsequently hired along with one of her girlfriends from school. So at 17 she left the farm and moved into an apartment in New York City.

Her income was such that 100% of all her monthly "cost of living" bills, rent, food, electricity, water, etc. were covered by her 8th working day of the month... judst a wee bit more than the first week. Let that sink in for a moment. She had not even a High School Diploma, was 17 years old, came from a dirt poor family, and in one month she had 3 weeks of disposable income each and every month. The actual thrust of the episode was about how many people in similar conditions were in a position to invest. Some were frugal and depended on savings accounts. Some a bit more informed and adventurous invested in Blue Chip stocks but quite a few bought higher risk, higher return stocks On Margin. This is one of the primary causes of the Crash because unscrupulous corporations and investment firms created "paper corporations" somewhat similar to early Pyramid Schemes and of course it all came crashing down.

Margin buying was outlawed (but a version has since returned) but for about a decade poverty wasn't a death sentence and was rapidly declining... that is until the elite smelled a windfall "gold rush" and preyed on "New Money".

There are many points of interest and discussion possible considering this era, but the point here today is poverty is about more than wealth and is somewhat relative. I don't know the exact numbers, but I'm pretty sure there was a vastly larger percentage of people living in tar paper shacks with little to eat in the US at the turn of the 20th Century than at the turn of the 21st. We could argue that we might be headed back to that nastier form of poverty given the advent of radical right and elitist politics all over the world but I suppose we shall see.
 
Old 02-05-2024, 12:20 AM   #48
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When I was growing up in north-west London in the 1950's, we considered ourselves poor. My father worked 7 days a week, bringing home work on Friday evenings to do over the weekends. My mother also did paid homework. She made all my clothes and her own too. We lived in a tiny flat above a garage and had no bathroom. But we were never in debt and there was always food on the table and a shilling for the gas meter.

How was it that we could manage and so many people nowadays can't? I can think of one big difference: we were legally protected tenants, as many people were in those days, so our rent was affordable and the landlady couldn't evict us as long as we paid it. But was that by itself enough to make the difference between our kind of manageable poverty and the desperate over-indebtedness that you hear so much about now? Or was life really cheaper then altogether?
 
Old 02-05-2024, 04:45 AM   #49
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Life and prices were just different then when old farts like me were younger.

Property was cheaper; Education was cheaper; Labour was cheaper; But manufactured goods were very much pricier.

For instance, as late as 1977 here I did a (Government) radio & tv repair course, and got a job fixing tvs. Tradesmen's wages were about £30-£45 GBP weekly, then, and new tvs*≅£400 GBP for average size tvs. Part of my job was stocking up on TV parts in the 2/3 tv wholesalers. New houses in outlying areas were £7,000-£8000. One individual working could feed a family and pay a mortgage. Apartments or flats were £10-£15 PPS per week $45-£65 per month).

Now, tradesmen's wages are <€450 weekly, tvs are ≅€120-€150, nobody fixes them, apartments are <€500,000. There are queues. Weekly wage jobs are nearly all gone. Also, all the places stocking spare parts for anything are gone. Property prices have become ridiculous in Dublin, and 'dormitory towns' within reach of it likewise. Our house (£8,000 new in 1975) would sell for ≅ €525,000 today. Right now, €1 = £0.85. It varies.

I don't feel sorry for the poor in times past - their struggle is over. I feel sorry for the poor and disadvantaged today.

Last edited by business_kid; 02-05-2024 at 04:47 AM.
 
Old 02-05-2024, 06:18 AM   #50
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In the past food was a lot more expensive in real terms. In the 1940s for example 1/3 of income was spent on food, and around the same time people would often live in just one room rather than being able to afford a self-contained flat.

People living in single rooms with a shared bathroom is illustrated in old films including for example The Killers 1946 and Two O'Clock Courage 1945 and many others.

Nor did people have all the electronic and electrical gadgets we now take for granted, nor so much education, or foreign holidays, or so many cars.

In other words people were a lot poorer. My guess is that you have a higher standard of living on benefits in 2024 than you would have had in the 1940s with a full-time job.

Last edited by grumpyskeptic; 02-06-2024 at 05:37 AM.
 
Old 02-05-2024, 10:44 AM   #51
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Yeah, food was expensive. And people would regularly sleep 2 or three to a room, because the Catholic Church dominated every aspect of life here and enforced virginity on the fairer sex, and preached on the evils of impure thoughts while abusing children themselves.
 
Old 02-05-2024, 11:39 AM   #52
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What does it matter that food was more expensive at a time when many of the lowliest workers could afford to own a home?... think zero rent payments forever. That alone makes food a vastly higher percentage of monthly expense just by the numbers. Additionally, much of modern cheap food is essentially poisonous, and the prices are rapidly escalating.
 
Old 02-05-2024, 01:08 PM   #53
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If you were prepared to do the work yourself, basics were cheap, at least here. And owning a house wasn't free. There were annual rates(a tax) charged here for upkeep of the Local City/County Authorities charged at a percentage of some meaningless valuation. For businesses it's something like €30 for each €1 of the valuation. Rates have been abolished for private houses because somebody got into office with a 'loss-leader' of a promise
 
Old 02-06-2024, 05:49 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
The choice is equal poverty or unequal prosperity.
If there is little difference between the wealthiest and the poorest, then there is little incentive to create new wealth.

If working really hard and using all your brains and effort only makes you feel 10% wealthier, why bother.

But if the difference between the wealthiest and the poorest is great enough that working really hard and using all your brains and effort, and creating new or better products or services that people welcome, makes you a thousand times wealthier, then go for it.

Last edited by grumpyskeptic; 02-09-2024 at 07:00 AM.
 
Old 02-06-2024, 06:03 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpyskeptic View Post
But if the difference between the wealthiest and the poorest is great enough that working really hard and using all your brains and effort, and creating new products or services that people welcome, makes you a thousand times wealthier, then go for it.
But then again, the larger the difference between rich and poor, the less chance an initially poor man has to bridge that gap. And sooner or later the poor will realise that, even if they are deliberately kept uneducated. America only worked as a society as long as most people believed the American Dream, that they too could become millionnaires. Now they know better.
 
Old 02-06-2024, 07:10 AM   #56
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I think some of you may view the past with rose tinted glasses.

My father grew up in Ireland in the 40s and 50s. Lived through extreme poverty and malnutrition, lost family members (including his mother) to TB and migrated to the UK in the early 60s along with may Irish people at that time. In the UK in the 60s, they had more disposable income, food was cheaper, as was clothing and most other things and lower taxation - and more importantly rents. The Tories have been working hard to drag us back to pre WW2 stadards - if not Dickensian times. The inflated property market is played by prospectors for their own enrichment - instead of serving as affordable housing for people.

The difference now is that a large proportion of income is gone in mortgage/rent, taxes, NI, utility bills and food. We are being milked dry of our hard earned money to support a life of sumptuous luxury for a minority of fat cat parasites.

Last edited by _blackhole_; 02-06-2024 at 07:11 AM.
 
Old 02-09-2024, 07:58 AM   #57
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What concerns me with the likely outcome of Labour winning the next election, is that like other socialists they will think that all that is required is to get everyone giving lip-service to the party, and to keep up appearances, and that once those are obtained then everything in the UK will spontaneously start going all by itself, rather like a cargo-cult https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult#Examples or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology

Last edited by grumpyskeptic; 02-09-2024 at 09:59 AM.
 
Old 02-09-2024, 10:47 AM   #58
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After WW2, it was rough everywhere, but don't you guys take turn this into a General Election Argument!
 
Old 02-10-2024, 05:49 AM   #59
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Now, tradesmen's wages are <€450 weekly, tvs are ≅€120-€150, nobody fixes them, apartments are <€500,000.
People have more disposable income now than in the past, and they spend this surplus buying better accommodation.

In the past houses and flats were a lot more crowded. People even used to share a room, and further back whole families would live in one room. Now it is usual for a single person to have a whole house or whole apartment to themselves.

Remember also that the standards of modern houses are much greater than an unmodernised old house. Modern houses have electricity, bathrooms, central heating, double-glazing, and so on. So they cost more to make, although greater contributions to the increased cost are the higher costs of labour and land.

You could reduce house-prices substantially if you reduced the wages of brick-layers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and builders in general so that they had the same standard of living they had 100 years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_People_of_the_Abyss

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London...he_London_Poor

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_the_Other_Half_Lives

It was capitalism, rather than socialism, that removed the descendants of the people above from poverty. Rather than sleeping several to a room, being stunted and malnourished, and wearing near-rags, now they have their own apartments filled with stuff and are probably overweight or obese.

Last edited by grumpyskeptic; 02-11-2024 at 01:27 AM.
 
Old 02-10-2024, 11:26 AM   #60
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Yes yes, it's the capitalism merry-go-round.

Actual needs for survival are few. So for anyone to get rich in a capitalist society, people have to be brainwashed to see their desires as needs. You can see how ridiculously this has got out of control these days.

So the merry-go-round of capitalism has been spinning faster and faster, sucking in and consuming the earth's resources, and excreting/dumping the resulting indigestible remains as waste. People think this will go on forever, but it can't and won't.

We could always survive with a tiny %age of folks living well - royalties, aristocracies, as long as the rest were very poor. But when everyone tries it .......
 
  


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