2. Consider, for example, poverty, which is arguably the most far-reaching, long-standing cause of chronic suffering there is. The magnitude of poverty is especially ironic in a country like the United States whose enormous wealth dwarfs that of entire continents. More than one out of every six people in the United States lives in poverty or near-poverty. For children, the rate is even higher. Even in the middle class there is a great deal of anxiety about the possibility of falling into poverty or something close to it – through divorce, for example, or simply being laid off as companies try to improve their competitive advantage, profit margins, and stock prices by transferring jobs overseas.
But to see why some fifth of the population must be poor no matter how fast people run, all we have to do is look at the system itself. It uses unbridled competition to determine not only who gets fancy cars and nice houses, but who gets to eat or has a place to live or access to health care. It distributes income and wealth in ways that promote increasing concentrations among those who already have the most. Given this, the people in this year’s bottom fifth might run faster next year and get someone else to take their place in the bottom fifth.
In part, then, poverty exists because the economic system is organized in ways that encourage the accumulation of wealth at one end and creates conditions of scarcity that make poverty inevitable at the other. But the capitalist system generates poverty in other ways as well. In the drive for profit, for example, capitalism places a high value on competition and efficiency. This motivates companies and their managers to control costs by keeping wages as low as possible and replacing people with machines or replacing full-time workers with part-time workers. It makes it a rational choice to move jobs to regions or countries where labor is cheaper and workers are less likely to complain about poor working conditions, or where laws protecting the natural environment from industrial pollution or workers from injuries on the job are weak or unenforced. Capitalism also encourages owners to shut down factories and invest money elsewhere in enterprises that offer a higher rate of return.
New subdivisions are sold by purveying the image of a home in quasi-rural surroundings, but conveniently located near the city. The fact that these semi-rural paradises rapidly become urban areas distinguished from the city proper mainly by their monotony only serves as a basis for promoting a subsequent round of flight to the new urban fringe.
In short, we are a society in a perpetual state of flight from the city. In practice, most people who can afford to move out of the inner city do so. To be sure, there are middle-class and wealthy people residing in selected downtown areas — gentrified older neighbourhoods or up-scale condominiums, especially in the most prosperous cities. But the vast majority of people with money to spend prefer to live outside the inner city.
In the neighbourhoods that are not gentrified, that leaves those who cannot afford to move out. Poverty is not necessarily accompanied by social problems, any more than wealth guarantees the absence of social problems. But when a metropolitan area is divided into neighbourhoods where poverty predominates and others where comfortable circumstances are the rule, it is inevitable that there will be a concentration of social problems in the poor areas. At the same time, the exodus from those areas makes it inevitable that, as the problems escalate, the resources for dealing with them will dwindle.
Where social problems predominate, lawlessness follows. Increasing crime and growing poverty lead to the decay of some downtown neighbourhoods. Houses are boarded up. Some neighbourhoods become so crime-ridden and decayed that they turn into no-go zones, and, hey presto, the bias against cities that started it all begins to look factual.
Confronted with growing evidence of the nastiness of city life, growing numbers of people take counter-measures. First they lock their car doors when they drive through what, in their minds at least, has become The Ghetto. But of course their neighbourhoods are not free of crime either, and when they are hit by crime they imagine that it has been committed by a refugee from the hideous streets of the inner city.
The solution, or so may of them begin to believe, is to fortify their homes against outsiders. It begins with high fences, heavy gates and barred windows, then proceeds to the hiring of private police to patrol the neighbourhood. When that still does not produce the yearned-for feeling of security, the next step is gated communities: whole subdivisions, entire condominium developments, or apartment complexes protected from the outside world by armed guards or electronic security. Such developments have already proliferated in the United States and are gaining a foothold in Canada.
A similar mentality is evident in retail trade. Shopping malls have always been highly controlled environments, carefully designed for the sole purpose of circulating potential customers as quickly as possible from one purchase to the next. From the outset, penniless lingerers were kept at bay. Security personnel forbade lengthy stays in the food court.
Benches in the mall corridor looked attractive, but had been designed, possibly by sadists, and apparently with the objective of encouraging short rest periods. In time, such measures have been augmented by electronic security and guards who double as bouncers instructed to deal summarily with anyone deemed an undesirable presence
dayâ€™s society is divided in to three classes. You are â€œplacedâ€ in one of these classes based on your wealth and education. The three classes are: the upper class, which is broken up into the upper-upper class and the lower â€“upper class, the middle class which is broken up into the upper middle and lower middle, then there is the working class and the last is the underclass. Examples of people in each class are: companies that have industrialized worldwide and are generations old and are basically rich are part of the upper-upper class. The executives who direct these companies that make a couple million a year can be considered part of the upper lower class. Someone who may own an agency of this company can be considered part of the upper middle because they make a lot more than the average person. The sales-men of this company are part of the lower middle class , generally because their income is a lot lower and they have less education. Those who do the actual labor for this company can be considered part of the upper lower class, they are usually paid minimum wages. Last, janitorial workers are part of the lower-lower class. It is possible to move thru these classes, intergenerational mobility is the movement of a whole generation thru the social classes, usually going upward, and intragenerational mobility is the movement of an individual thru the social classes, also commonly going upward. Poverty is divided into two parts, relative poverty which is when one is struggling but not completely poor and absolute which is basically homeless