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LINK What if the problem of poverty is that it’s profitable to other people? | Books | The Guardian

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It is incredibly expensive to be poor, which makes it damn near impossible to dig out, so keeping the poor poor is big business...

Minta79 Level 7 Feb 28, 2019

Of course poverty is very profitable, just look at big pharma or the for profit jails.

Jolanta Level 8 Feb 26, 2019

As long as there a profit to be made off of anything, it will continue to exist.

KKGator Level 9 Feb 26, 2019

I look at my parents and think: you should have been better about X, Y and Z.

I seriously hope my kids look at my generation and say: you were shit about poverty and the environment


Not sure if everyone has actually read the article. The article deals specifically with the housing problem faced by the poor, and how much money is to be made from the so-called "low-rent" housing, and the role that the eviction laws play on this issue. Presumably, these rich landlords worked long and hard for their wealth, too. There was nothing "illegal" about this profitmaking. But as a social issue, we need to address whether this is the model we want as a community.


What if the only cause of poverty is wealth and the only cause of wealth is poverty?


Poverty is profitable. Poverty for the masses is how the wealthy stay rich.

DenoPenno Level 8 Feb 27, 2019

That's why so many fought to keep slavery legal.


Of course poverty is profitable. And keeps power in the hands of the greedy.


Having been poor, I never thought those reasons were valid. I was lucky enough to be able to escape poverty as an adult, via education. However, I can see poverty in my not too distant future. And still none of those reasons apply.


After a terrible no fault car accident on the way to work i became disabled and impoverished. Trying to raise a child alone with out family and being on a very low fixed income makes it impossible to get out of the situation. The way people ( doctors, insurance staff, rental managers, towns people, assistance programs, and more) treat someone impoverished is humiliating and leaves little if any room for hope. I live with constant fears of all sorts. It never goes away. It is no way to live.

PinkFreud Level 3 Mar 15, 2019

Of course it is.

Poverty is a slightly reduced form of slavery - the most profitable business model in history.
I'm sure there were bigots behind the slavery movement, but the main reason our ancestors bought, sold and exploited people like cattle, was profit

MLinoge Level 7 Mar 1, 2019

I read this book a few years ago, it was enlightening.


Of course it is.

motrubl4u Level 7 Feb 26, 2019

those that profit from the misery of the poor are despicable, greedy bastards.
a friend of mine had a small building which he kept in good condition & kept the rents on the low side. but over a period of a few years he was having to evict more of his tenants despite the low rents. he just gave up & sold.
what's making it more difficult for people in trailer parks are corporations which buy them, clean them up a little & then increase the rents drastically. greedy landlords are the main reason poor people can never get ahead.

The entire economic system is built on the backs and the misery of the poor. Most of us would not eat if migrant laborers didn't work for farms in horrifying conditions and for little to no pay. Working people do everything from stocking your groceries to educating/ watching your children and so much more. Most of us cannot afford the basic neccesities of life and continue to have our lives eaten up by 70 hour work weeks so that the wealthy can live easy lives and have healthy returns on their investments. It isn't just greedy landlords, almost anyone who lives comfortably in this country does so at the expense of countless low paid workers. Then we get to see ourselves painted as feckless "takers" who are lazy and stupid in popular media and opinion.

@OpposingOpposum ,
the higher income people should do something to address this ridiculous wealth/income disparity. if they don't they'll live to regret it.
they could end up like the professional/high income people in argentina who were ground down to a lower middle income level.


It is not enough to be successful at life, others must fail so I can feel better about my standing in the ape hierarchy.

So “I”... can “feel better than” (you).

SAD. Very primitive and not mentally evolved.


Yeah, I don't think there is a "what if" about it...

Maximai Level 5 Feb 28, 2019

Yep that about sums it up... poverty and drugs...

Touched Level 4 Feb 28, 2019

Let's not forget "wars". If the profit were taken out of war...there very likely would be fewer of them. With the except of, I might imagine, religious wars.


As the article points out, it is profitable for landlords. It is also profitable for payday lenders and merchants who jack their prices up. It is profitable for any business, such as car dealers, that lend money at high interest rates.

Rob1948 Level 7 Feb 28, 2019

It is war.


Couldn't be more true.


Interesting article. No thought on how to break the cycle though.


Poverty was created to be profitable, and keep the poor scrambling for their very survival. Here's a historical perspective, excerpted from a comprehensive study of starving and flogging peasants into becoming the drones of industry:

alliwant Level 6 Feb 28, 2019

No matter how you slice it there will always be the poor. As we change the definition as we move forward.


In a capitalist system there must be haves and have nots. poverty will always exist. Poverty isnt necessarily a bad thing either. Impoverished americans live a much better life than impoverished Africans for instance. The point of capitalism is that the income diversity and competition drives innovation but the downside is the rampant amount of income diversity. Pure capitalism will result in oligarchies of the haves over the have nots. This is why many of the mixed economies like social democracies are doing so well. Still capitalism but less income inequality.

Stuttrboy Level 5 Feb 27, 2019

I think in any power-imbalanced economic system, there will be haves and have nots. That's not the point though, is it? "Poverty will always exist" isn't quite true either. But to jump from that to "poverty isn't necessarily a bad thing either" because there are always going to someone poorer, is a big jump. You are talking about relative wealth inequalities. Replace "poverty" with "relative wealth inequalities" I would totally agree with you, but then the statements would be almost meaningless.

How do we define poverty? Is there a point where the relative "wealth inequalities" reach such a stretching point so as to give rise to the terms like "abject poverty" or "obscene wealth"?

According to Marxian theory, in capitalism, there is a built-in tendency for the "concentration" of wealth, that is, the relative inequalities would become greater and greater. This isn't a static model where simply a wide "income diversity" exists, but a dynamic model where it becomes worse and worse and worse. It was Marx's criticism that this was not a bug in the system, but a feature.

But we aren't simply talking about relative "income diversity." We are talking about the state of these "diversity" that the quantitative difference begins to manifest in qualitative differences. That is, it isn't just poverty, but abject poverty. It isn't just wealth, but obscene wealth.

You may be right that this tendency of pure capitalism can be ameliorated, regulated and controlled by the "mixed economy" of capitalism light. But we are long ways from that in this country. We are long ways from that, in part because of the belief "hey, at least they are not as bad as the poor people in other countries."

@KenChang Well said.

@KenChang I think we actually agree. As I said poverty will always exist in a capitalist system. I was specifically talking about capitalism. I'm sorry if that wasnt clear.

I think that because we have a competitive economic structure we are obliged to have social safety net and services at the very least. This is of course a minimalist point of view because huge sweeping changes will likely never happen without a bloody revolution, so I promote incremental changes.

@KenChang the one area where I think Marx truly excelled was picking apart the flaws in capitalism.

But does capitalism mean a rigged system? I'm talking about actively not allowing large groups of people to acquire wealth thru discrimination. A lot of the capital wealth in this country has been build on the backs of the poor. Is that just the collateral damage of capitalism?

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