Preying on the Poor — Now That’s Class

“The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.” –Willem de Kooning

And when you are poor, you’re also more likely to do time. Welcome back to the good old days — Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo would feel right at home. Debtors prisons and cheap forced labor. How soon will they start to hang us for poaching rabbits and picking pockets once again? But no, once we’re dead, the cash flow dries up. So for the most part, they will keep us alive, barely. Unless and until we become expensive or inconvenient in any way. Then … losses must be cut. Human needs and human misery have no place in this equation. And this is what we’re calling justice. But then, we also call perpetual worldwide warmaking and warmongering keeping the peace.


About l. l. frederick

I'm pretty ordinary, so I find any number of things in the world interesting, among them: books, music, flowers, food, social justice, politics and (sometimes!) people. As for my writing, I've decided that I can be subtle and tasteful when our only problems are esthetic ones. Or when I'm dead, whichever comes first. In the meantime, read at your own risk.
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23 Responses to Preying on the Poor — Now That’s Class

  1. And I thought payday loans were disgustingly predatory – but for-profit probation companies with the power to imprison for poverty? This is so unconscionable and truly frightening…

    • One of the biggest problems in America is the widely-held idea that capitalism cannot function without human exploitation. This ‘profits over people’ view is so pervasive in the entrepreneurial class that any and all attempts at moderation are demonized as ‘communistic.’ Such self-serving rationale is the enabler of institutionalized horrors like slavery and the current prison-industrial complex.

      • Well-argued, Robert. But I still have to say, as I just said to Linda, this view always surprises me and strikes me as stupid – by that I mean illogical and not even effective from the perspective of rational self-interest. As Einstein observed “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

        • Robert, Remind me again, why is a system based almost by definition on exploiting people in every way supposed to be such a wonderful thing. It just never makes sense to me, either.

          If you watch the video … what got to me was how much these folks blame themselves for
          their situation. Now that is power — not just spitting on, screwing over and demonizing your victims, but getting them to believe it’s all their own fault. Bah! No wonder it’s so hard to get us to stand up for ourselves! Thanks for your good comment. – Linda

          • You’re welcome, Linda. There is little if anything about the current American socioeconomic system that I would describe as “wonderful.” The ONLY aspects of capitalism which CAN produce beneficial outcomes – considering the evolutionary state of human nature – are the profit motive and private ownership. History has proven that self-interest can be economically stimulative if properly managed.

            I long for the day when our species has progressed sufficiently to allow for a more collectivist society. Gene Roddenberry envisioned such a future in his “Star Trek” series. That future, however, seems a long way off right now.

            • Robert, It does feel like we may just have to wait for an evolutionary leap to see much progress. But I’m impatient, and I have the (possibly also stupid) feeling that we COULD! do better now if we’d just try harder. We have at least some capacity for co-operation and sharing, for seeing that efforts for the public good are also in our own best interest. Seems like we might build on that.

              But as you say, this short-sighted, greed-is-good, bottom-line total selfishness view is quite a hindrance. Thanks again. – LLF

        • It is infinitely stupid. Why does that surprise you?

    • Carol, It’s all disgusting! Makes me think of the old lawyer joke —

      Q. Why are some researchers switching from lab rats to lawyers for their studies?

      A. Well, there are 3 reasons. First, there’s less public outcry against using lawyers. Second, there’s a nearly endless supply of the pesky things. And last but not least, there are simply some things rats won’t do.

      And now we’re seeing that lawyers aren’t the only ones with no shame and no limits to what they’ll do for a little money. Thanks for your comment — and maybe we’d better clear up our old parking fines, eh? – Linda

  2. Appropriate joke, Linda, and too true. It just honestly amazes me that people can behave this way. I guess stupidity , as Einstein points out, has no bottom limit. (“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Einstein)

    (These days, I take the bus whenever I can and I’m so grateful to live in a still-blue state.)

    • Carol, Lucky you — I wish I lived in one too! Ohio’s an uneasy mix these days, with the forces of inhumanity seeming to gain ground steadily. Maybe this absurdity should not surprise us — before the Civil War, there was also a widely-touted “philosophy” arguing that slavery was “a positive good”, and that that peculiar institution was the bulwark of civilization, efficiently spreading the religion of that loving, merciful god. And no, I have no idea if anyone really swallowed that shit. But with people … well, I just don’t know. Thanks again, LLF

  3. It’s time to take control of our political system away from the millionaires and billionaires. That’s the only answer.

    • It’s so past time for that! Might have to start by taking the money away from them. If their lackey legislators won’t do it through taxation, there’s always … the hard way. Thanks for commenting. – Linda

  4. sojourner says:

    Excellent! This angers me beyond words! It is time that we the people awaken and realize that this system/order cannot be fixed by activism, it can only be done away with, destroyed, and then never allowed to rise on the face of the earth again!

  5. sojourner says:

    Reblogged this on An Outsider's Sojourn II and commented:
    The following article/videos reveals a government/system-order that does not represent the people, but instead uses and abuses the people who pay with their lives to keep it up and running.

    It is time to put an end to this tyranny, once and for all time! It is time for we the people to stand up, collectively, and scream, “NO MORE!”

    And then we need to set up this world the way we want it, and rid ourselves of this evil, inbred minority that has raped and pillaged us and our ancestors throughout the ages! It’s time to rid ourselves of this curse and those who perpetrate it!

    • Amen! Thank you so much for reblogging this piece. – Linda

      • sojourner says:

        Thank you for getting the message out there. I think, for now, this is all we can do (get the message out), until there are enough awake human beings to effect a permanent change!

        • Yes, getting the facts out is an importantstart. It may feel like the bible parable of the sower — disheartening because so much lands on stony ground. But nothing will ever grow if we don’t scatter seeds in the first place. I always hope my puny voice will spread the news just that tiny bit farther, keep that ripple in the pond going a little bit longer. Okay, I’ve mutilated enough metaphors here — so I’ll just say thanks again for your solidarity, and let us all carry on the good fight! – LLF

  6. Pingback: If Greed Is Good, What in Hell Can Evil Be? | Take Heart!

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