pitchfork

I hear the sharpening of pitchforks…

I stumbled upon this article on Politico.com a few weeks ago and it really caught my attention. Titled ‘The Pitchforks are coming for us Plutocrats’ it takes the form of an open letter from Seattle-based entrepreneur Nick Hanauer to his fellow 0.1% ‘proud and unapologetic capitalists.’ While it definitely applies to the super rich, I believe there is something there in principle for all of us who fall into the marginally rich [as in reading this article on a computer or phone] to take heed of. In the article, Nick shares a little of how he managed to get super rich by anticipating the success of the internet before it was huge and investing in one of his friends and a little idea that became Amazon.com and then he shares some of his observances about present times and circumstances: But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all – I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now? I see pitchforks. At the...

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richdoorpoordoor

Blessed are the Poor [as long as you keep them away from me!]

I could not believe this article when I read it. But it seemed legit and so I started writing this Two Cents piece. But then I realised that both the sources I had were from the same source which was called Gawker.com which sounded a little potentially dubious and so I did a typical ‘Name of site/Hoax’ search and saw the words  ‘Gawker’ and ‘Scam’ and so figured I had been caught and so deleted the whole thing with a sigh of relief that I had avoided sharing the story and then finding out I had gotten it wrong. But then something in me made me check myself and I did a google search for the original premise of the story and found that there actually were multiple sites reporting on it and so this ‘dreadful hoax’ does in fact seem to be a more dreadful truth. The article, ‘Outrage over Separate Doors for Rich and Poor in Manhattan High-Rise’ sums up the story like this, In an effort to secure tax breaks and other building allowances as part of New York City’s Inclusionary Housing Program, Extell Development Company has offered to set aside some 55 Affordable Housing units for low-income families inside the 274-unit luxury tower it is constructing in the Upper West Side. The “catch” being that 40 Riverside Boulevard will...

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rich

Why the Rich don’t know they’re Rich

[a guest post by Yaholo H] I live in Hamilton County in Indiana. If you are not familiar with it, it is kind of the Dubai of the Midwest. Our churches look like a combination of Hogwarts and a Frank Lloyd Wright concert hall. (I will stop for a minute so you can Google all that…. Ready? Ok.) You can’t throw a rock without hitting a conservative evangelical. (BTW, don’t throw rocks at conservative evangelicals.) Yet, with all this wealth and religion, our central city, Indianapolis, struggles with poverty and is one of the largest food deserts in the country  Those who work to overcome poverty, or raise awareness of social issues, often find themselves wondering, “Why is this so hard?” Are rich people just bad? Do they hate the poor? In areas like mine, it can be infuriating to see all the need with so much wealth just on the other side of the road. But here is the shocking part, the wealthy in my community don’t even know they are wealthy.  Say What?!? – The Miserable Wealthy  You heard me. In these huge castle churches with parking lots packed full of SUVs, most people are just worried about losing what they have. The men’s prayer groups really highlight this (I am not being sexist, I am just...

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To increase the size of the pie or share the pie more equally?

a Guest Post by Nigel Branken of Hillbrow, South Africa [Nigel and Trish Branken live together with their 6 children in the inner-city suburb, Hillbrow, in Johannesburg, South Africa.] A friend of mine once did a study which found that your income level is the greatest predictor of your economic view. He found that people who earn over a certain amount per month almost exclusively believed the key to dealing with poverty is to increase the size of the pie, while people who earned under a certain amount almost exclusively believed that in order to address poverty, the pie needs to be more equally divided. In other words, our view of solutions to the economic challenges we face is more likely determined by self-interest than hard facts. I have found this very interesting in my informal conversations with friends from the suburbs. They keep telling me that the key to dealing with poverty is to create economic growth. My friends on the margins, however, are often quick to complain about how much bosses earn and wonder why they can’t just share some of their wealth. Theologian Robert McAfee Brown once said “where you stand will determine what you will see; whom you stand with will determine what you hear; and what you see and hear will determine what you...

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fishrich

Blessed are those with things…

            I sometimes follow a cartoon strip called Buttersafe and this week as I was doing a bit of catchup of older strips, I came across these two that are both so simple and yet powerful: This is a perfect advert for Common Change, the non-profit I work for, as we are all about using the resources you have [while joining together with a group of friends to do so] to meet the needs of those you care about [those people who are in and around your life – the problem in this particular cartoon above]. And the second is like it [and hopefully a reminder for us to take a long hard look at the things we own and how we spend our money, time and energy and see if there are not some changes that perhaps need to be made while we still have access to the feelings]:  [For an interesting post taking a deeper look at the relationship between Poverty and Inequality, click here] [To take a deeper look at the question of giving poor people a hand up or not, click here] [To look at the possibilities of  living a waste-free life, click...

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