Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Just World Theory of Economics




Chris Hedges | Suffering? Well, You Deserve It discusses the "just - world theory" of economics. Just world theory is not just the idea that the wealthy or those with property deserve for whatever reasons (in fact, the article says, it isn't questioned how one acquired their money, it just is) but, and this is the crucial thing to get, those who are poor deserve to be poor. Quoting from the article:

Clinging to the old neoclassical model could . . .  erode and perhaps destroy social cohesion and require the state to engage in greater forms of coercion. [italics mine]
Look at the actions of cities across the United States towards the homeless. Instead of true help, laws are made, on a daily basis, to further ensure that the homeless, despite age, gender or state of health, are vilified. This includes those that would help the homeless, in many cases. Being homeless is a crime; illegal to camp, sleep, "loiter," give food, money or blankets to the homeless, panhandle, etc. None of these laws help anyone, only punish.

People are jailed for not paying bills. This is illegal yet it not only continues, the number of people jailed for being poor has increased.

People go without needed medical care; this is nothing new and yet even with the promise of Obama care things remain dicey for many. This includes me, and I have had the blessing of fairly good health insurance through my employment. It costs me a lot of money each month however, as any health insurance does. Even so, I cannot afford the procedures pushed at me from health care providers. Fortunately, they are not life threatening issues but for many, such is not the case.



Many employers do not offer paid sick leave, and this is another way economics punishes the poor. Call in sick, often you're fired. If you're not fired, you're not paid. So you go in sick, which makes you sicker. And then you get others sick.



It's also nothing new that if you can't afford legal advice, you're screwed.



And so it goes, the list is endless.



Something I've noticed, (on the local level as well as nationally) is the attitude that the sick, the homeless, the "not us" demonstrate terrifyingly punitive responses to these issues. From incredible naivety, such as the letter writer to the local paper who insisted employers wouldn't punish good employees for calling in sick, to the sheer heartless suggestions the homeless should be shipped out of town, the reaction is to punish or ignore, not help without judgement.



Just-world economics in practice isn't new, and that's what makes this so godamned sad. That in this age we accept this as natural and even ethical --  as many a Christian subscribes to this philosophy (mangling the whole "give a man a fish … teach him to fish" *Biblical meme) should be an embarrassment.

* That quote about "giving a man a fish…" is not a Biblical story, it is a Chinese proverb.












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