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Nats built the poverty trap, let’s destroy it

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 am, January 18th, 2012 - 92 comments
Categories: class war, equality, poverty - Tags:

A new study confirms that growing up in poverty means you’ll likely be impoverished as an adult. With the negative consequences for the individual and society. The Nats’ low-wage, high unemployment policies create the poverty trap. Poverty is a design feature of the rightwing economy. Hypocritical and useless to demand their victims save themselves from poverty. Change the policies, fix the problem.

Anyone who tells you we can’t afford to fix poverty is a lying son of a bitch. $5 billion a year it would cost. Less than 3% of GDP. To get quarter of a million kids and their families out of poverty. When you consider the economic and social damage of poverty – not to mention that our goal should be for all our people to have a decent quality of life – 3% of GDP sounds like a bargain.

And we know how to fix poverty. Because we’ve already started fixing it a couple of times only to stop.

The First Labour Government got poverty falling by lifting wages, creating jobs, and giving unfortunates a decent backstop. By the late 70s, early 80s, poverty was down to less than 13% of the population.

Rogernomics destroyed the jobs, cut pay, and slashed benefits while making hundreds of thousands more people dependent on them. Poverty ballooned to 30%.

Labour got it down to 26% with more jobs, better pay, and working for families. Now it’s rising again. Why? You just have to look at the rightwing campaigning to get wharfies wages slashed by a third, campaigning to cut benefits further, doing nothing about job creation to know why.

No accident that poverty goes up when the Right takes power. It’s the flipside of their policies that give more and more to the elite. Someone has to lose something for everything the elite takes.

Jobs that pay a decent wage. Enough jobs to go around. Decent benefits as a backstop. That’s how you fix the poverty trap. We’ve done it before. Will we do it before we condemn another generation to a life of poverty?

92 comments on “Nats built the poverty trap, let’s destroy it”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    It’s a viscous cycle.

    It’s obvious that the way to break the cycle is to cut down on benefits, so those lazy layabouts get out there and earn a living. Right?

    • John D 1.1

      Correct. Hit the nail on the head there.

    • higherstandard 1.2

      All that is obvious to me is that people will continue to promulgate simple solutions to complex problems.

      • Populuxe1 1.2.1

        like “tax cuts will boost the economy,” “let’s mine the shitty lignite from our precious National Parks,” and “sell all our revenue-earning infrastructural state assets”…

    • Vicky32 1.3

      It’s obvious that the way to break the cycle is to cut down on benefits

      I hope you were being ironic Lanth, but sadly, knowing you, I fear not… 🙁

    • Dr Terry 1.4

      What kind of human being are you? (Maybe you belong to some other species.)

  2. queenstfarmer 2

    You say:

    Poverty ballooned to 30%. Labour got it down to 26%

    Putting aside the veracity of these figures – lets assume they are correct for now – what you are saying is that after 9 solid years of a Labour-led government, in great economic weather, Labour only reduced poverty by 4%.

    Despite your claim that poverty could be “fixed” for the “bargain” price of less than 3% of GDP.

    So which is it: That Labour deliberately allowed 26% of the population to be in poverty when it could have been fixed for a bargain price (as you put it)? Or that that Labour couldn’t “fix” more than 4% over 9 years (less than 0.5% per year) despite their best efforts (and which according to you would make them lying sons of bitches)?

    • McFlock 2.1

      While I tend to agree that Labour should have done much more than it did (but then I’m a horrible extremist), you seem oblivious to the fact that destroying social well-being is easier than rebuilding it.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Yep. Building up value in soceity takes much more time and effort than breaking it down and selling it off.

        NB I believe a large part of the good times NZ experienced in the Helen Clark years was paid for by a bank debt fueled property asset bubble.

      • queenstfarmer 2.1.2

        Not at all. I agree with that. And I presume you too would agree that the author is therefore wrong to claim that poverty can be fixed by simply throwing money at it.

        • McFlock

          Not at all. It just means you need to throw money at it for longer than the period that you refused to properly address it (or much much more money in the same amount of time). 
          I certainly think Labour should have thrown more money at the problem than they did, but we mustn’t forget that the main reason it was there to throw money at was because the govet had ignored it for the previous 20-odd years. More if you include a lack of recognition of Maori poverty prior to the Maori renaissance.

          • queenstfarmer

            Well it’s good that you (as well as the author) take a clear position that throwing vast amounts of money at the problem will solve it. Albeit for a very long time. And we must bear in mind that Labour could only “fix” poverty at less than 0.5% per year over a full three terms despite their record spending in a strong global economy.

            And you still think Labour should have thrown more money at the problem. But it didn’t. Why? Was it because they couldn’t afford it – despite the best economic conditions in generations? In which case, do you agree with the author that Labour (if that was their view) were therefore “lying sons of bitches”?

            • just saying

              Poverty – lack of money and other resources.
              It requires money to solve. I don’t suppose you’ve ever been so poor that you couldn’t afford dental and other medical treatment, adequate nutrition, clothing, housing, educational needs etc. etc. etc for yourself and those who depend on you. Where every day brings impossible choices and unrelenting stress. I have, in the past. It leaves an indelible impression. (And I’m not talking some romantic period when you were a student either). There is a terrible danger of becoming trapped in that intolerable situation, while things just keep getting inexorably worse.

              Don’t think you can manipulate this discussion by your misleading and insulting use of words. Do you “throw” a mechanic at your car when it needs to be fixed, or “throw” food at your loved ones and yourself when you and they are hungry?

              • queenstfarmer

                It requires money to solve

                Poverty can be the absence of money, but it is plainly untrue that it requires money (in terms of Govt spending) to solve, and empirically untrue that money “fixes” poverty.

                . I don’t suppose you’ve ever been so poor…

                No I have not been in your unfortunate (past) position, and I count myself fortunate. But I don’t see how it relates to my earlier comments.

                Don’t think you can manipulate this discussion by your misleading and insulting use of words.

                How was anything I said misleading or insulting?

                • Colonial Viper

                  qstf – poverty expert.

                • just saying

                  Well money was what solved my poverty problem qsf

                  ..empirically untrue that money “fixes” poverty.

                  Well let’s see that “empricial” evidence then.

                  While you’re at it maybe you could argue that vitamin C doesn’t fix scurvy.

                  • queenstfarmer

                    Well let’s see that “empricial” evidence then.

                    How about vast tracts of Africa? Or the Pacific?

                    And here at home how about 1999-2008 under a Labour-led Govt and unprecedented spending, that “improved” poverty (as I said, lets assume the author’s assertion is correct) by less than 0.5%/year during an economic boom? That is not what I would regard as “fixed”.

                    • McFlock

                      Grasping at straws, aren’t you? Or do you not know what “empirical evidence” is?
                      How much of Labour’s spending was aimed at improving poverty? I assume it was more than the previous 15 years, on a year by year basis. And poverty declined where it had previously been increasing. Feel free to cite evidence to the contrary.

                    • just saying

                      Obviously not enough money.
                      Some money doesn’t cut it.
                      When one has scurvy, fixing it requires ‘enough’ vitamin C too.

                      Labour did not do enough to help those in poverty. Disgraceful considering the previous Labour government’s actions which did so much to worsen the problem.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      WFF lifted tens of thousands of working families out of poverty.

                      But overall, 9 years of economic good times under Labour were largely fuelled by a debt driven property asset bubble.

                      Both Labour and National are still under the deteriorating spell of perpetual “economic growth”.

                    • foreign waka

                      I concur with “just saying” – poverty is man made. To say that the one without money and therefore power has to succumb to the instruction of the one who has is feudalism. There is no “invisible hand” that magically distributes the basic means of living a productive life in a human and fair way. Economically, it is the greatest myth ever perpetrated that this “invisible hand” will somehow make a “trickle down” of wealth happen.So many efforts have been and are being made to “make this work”. This is empirically documented and can be measured. The catch cry that “Capitalism is the ONLY working model” is pure nonsense and just shows how much power the perpetrators have gained in convincing the world of a minority interest driven concept that means poverty and misery for so many people – and the lineup is growing. It does not matter what party is in power in NZ as it is dictated by the “market forces” what the concept has to be. The last 25 years have proven that no matter how often the experiment is being repeated, the outcome is always the same.

            • Draco T Bastard

              And you still think Labour should have thrown more money at the problem. But it didn’t. Why?

              Because they’re a right-wing party.

              • Populuxe1

                By what definition is Labour a right-wing party? You might as well say even compared to the US Democrats the Nats are a left-wing party. Labour is NOT a right-wing party because its policies are still socially determined, not exclusively driven by bogus economic models.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Decent left wing parties advance social wealth, collectivism and democratic socialism, while downplaying capitalism, individualism and destructive competition.

                  So tell me, on that scale, where on the Left does Labour sit?

                  • Populuxe1

                    Your use of “decent” is telling. Labour’s opposition to asset sales and Park mining, and it’s desire to implement CGT tax would suggest a desire to advance social wealth and downplay destructive competition. Your “downplaying of capitalism and individualism” is a bit of a red herring because no sane government is going to do that overtly and risk severely damaging it’s economy (one might well as what Hugo Chavez is going to do when the gas runs out, or one can even look at Cuba when the money stopped flowing from Moscow. Certainly the Scandinavians don’t operate that way – there is no capitalist/socialist binary dichotomy for them). It would be preferable (as Helen was very good at doing) to harness capitalist competition and individualism to enhance public wealth. So all in all, Labour is still looking comfortably leftish to me.

                • Uturn

                  They’re right wing because they will not challenge the irreconcilable existence of the middle classes with a socialist outlook. The right need the middle classes to believe their lies and play the climbing game to make them rich. Labour never have and never will declare war on the aspirational delusions of the bourgeoisie that maintain the capitalist class system – and poverty. They are right wing, soft left, slow right, call it what you will, they simply cannot take any steps toward the beginnings of real socialism without dismantling the biggest bunch of deluded dreamers NZ has.

                  Labour’s social policy is based around the lie that the middle classes just need to keep giving taxes to solve all those awful horrible terrible heart-rending poor people’s problems. Once in power they do just enough to stop half of the poor getting any worse – but not any better – and occasionally make the overall problem twice as bad, then blame the poor themselves. If you’ve paid any attention to the reasoning, justifications, and most shockingly, the silences, of the new faces leading Labour now, they’re going to end up something close to Rogernomics in everything but name. Privatised welfare is coming, Labour won’t stop it and it is already being set up to be run by the same corporate clowns who support a world view that creates the problem they want to now make money off, while hiding behind the morality of “helping the poor”.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Given that almost everyone posting here displays a level of education that would put them in the category of bourgeoisie, there’s a whiff of hypocrisy to start preaching your brand of fascism. Labour governments do as much as they can to keep the majority stable – not helped in any way by the greed of the 1% who are the real villains. I can’t see Labour privatising welfare – this isn’t the US and they are not the Democrats. National would, and it would still put them to the left of the Republican party which would quite like to not have any welfare at all. To enact the kind of dismantling of society you are suggesting would require an end to democratic process, and you can shove that right up your arse right now. The new face leading Labour have barely just sat down in the opposition benches, little own had time to start articulating policy beyond what they had to establish for the election. Have some bloody faith in their humanity. But feel free to subtract yourself immediately from the middle class and go and live under a bridge somewhere if it will help ease your conscience.

                    • just saying

                      I think the apt phrase here is “Im alright Jack”
                      Labour currently appears to be looking after your interests (long term – not so much) and that’s all that matters.

                      edit The Labour leadership’s collective “conscience” is very well insulated. They are rich, so are their families and friends. They have long proven that the many, many who don’t have their privileges are very for them to easy to ignore or blame.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Given that almost everyone posting here displays a level of education that would put them in the category of bourgeoisie,

                      Education makes you bourgeois now?

                      National would, and it would still put them to the left of the Republican party…

                      Wrong. They’re both as radical and disconnected from reality as each other.

                      To enact the kind of dismantling of society you are suggesting would require an end to democratic process…

                      You mean like wanting to replace MMP with SM, running Democracy Under Attack lies about new electoral legislation and now looking to add censorship to NZonAir?

                      Have some bloody faith in their humanity.

                      Why when they’re not really showing any? They’re still pushing growth capitalism which is what’s causing Climate Change and looks likely to bring about an Extinction Level Event.

                      But feel free to subtract yourself immediately from the middle class and go and live under a bridge somewhere if it will help ease your conscience.

                      It is possible to know reality no matter what socio-economic class you are and the fact is that we should all have good living standards. What’s preventing that, of course, is the rich who want everything for themselves.

                • Draco T Bastard


                  Where analysis of Labour’s policies puts them on the centre-right.

            • McFlock

              Labour chose to build a surplus. I disagree with it, but fair enough. Then in Cullen’s last budget they gave how much in tax cuts? And what did they do to address GST? And then they could have done more for the worst off in society by throwing that money towards education and housing, rather than tax cuts for the middle and upper class.
              So now in the lean times, the middle class struggle and the poor are worst affected – even before theGST increase.
              As to their status, I think labour are at “wasted opportunity”. National are “lying sons of bitches”, and their apologists are “unregenerate parasites”. Are we clear about the hierarchy of fucktards according to me, now?

  3. fabregas4 3

    I am interested right now in a small study which indicates that in terms of Educational Achievement for Maori that there are 5 main factors.
    The research is showing that if the child has 4/5 factors then they will more than likely succeed at school. If they have 3 then the likelihood of success drops to 35 – 40%.
    If they have 1/2 then we are looking at 5% chance of success.

    The socio economic situation of the child is a factor. If many Maori live in poverty (as we know they do) then they are immediately in trouble education wise.

    Other factors:
    Educational achievement of parents.
    Ability to withstand peer pressure.
    Cognisance that it is hard work and not talent that it the principal key to learning.
    Regular attendance at the same school.

    Seems to me that poverty is a factor in most of the factors and growing ever more each day.

    • higherstandard 3.1

      Can you supply a link to the study, on the face of it one would think it is fairly obvious that those five factors would be the main ones (along with health I suspect).

      I would be interested in knowing what they’re suggesting in relation to addressing the factors identified.

  4. randal 4

    well the nashnil gubmint said that they were going to create a high wage economy (dont hold your breath) and that they are the party of business.
    where is the new business?
    they just liars.

    • John D 4.1

      I’d like to know about all these “green jobs” that the Green Party talk of. Where and what are they?

      • McFlock 4.1.1

        less than a minute on the greens website produced this. Mostly from bunging insulation in homes. Although it hasn’t eventuated because the Greens aren’t the government.
        Ain’t democracy a bitch like that?

        • John D

          Presumably we could “bung insulation” into houses without a Green government.
          Why would having greens in power suddenly produce a goldrush in insulation? Subsidies perhaps?
          Don’t we have those already?

          • McFlock

            I see you noticed my technical building terminology 🙂

            I think it is actually in the Green policy to increase the subsidy, yes. And of course it dovetails with the movement to make rental properties have a “warrant of fitness”, i.e. get rid of slumlords. The cheapest step for the landlords would be to retrofit up to standard.

            At a brief glance it basically looks like rolling out nationally the healthy homes initiative that got good results in one of the auckland regions in the last few years. I.e. an active campaign, rather than a largely passive reliance on uptake.

          • Pete George

            Yes, we have insulation (and efficient heating) subsidies now, Greens and National put that package together after the last election and as far as I know it’s continuing even though the Greens aren’t in government.

            Greens campaigned on 100,000 Green jobs. From memory only something like 10,000 were to come from tangible initiatives (don’t know how many more insulation installers will be needed). The rest were going to come out of “surely we can get a % of all the international green energy market”.

            They also campaigned on lifting 100,000 kids out of poverty. And on 10,000 something else. If nothing else they were good on round figures.

            • McFlock

              But you miss the important word: tangible. As in more than just another parliamentary working group.

            • mik e

              its a cut down version of the greens labour insulation initiative.
              Its been taken up by the more well off
              Poorer families that could benefit more from initiatives like this

  5. tsmithfield 5

    Glad you cited this study, Zet.

    From the author:

    So in a sense success or failure drives educational and economic success or failure, but the things that drive behavioural outcomes are not so much income and are more familial and personal,” he said

    So, its not income that drives dysfunction. Its dysfunction that drives income. Fix the dysfunction and the income side of the equation will fix itself.

    As the author also pointed out, giving people more money might not help them in the slightest, and might cause more harm than good.

    From the article:

    For example, increasing the income of substance-using parents may be counter-productive since it will give them more access to purchasing alcohol or drugs,” he said.

    I note also, that NATC is conducting an inquiry into poverty, something that leftist governments haven’t done. I am sure this study will inform it. Hopefully they will come up with some recommendations that are a bit more far reaching than solutions from the left that seem to involve throwing money at the problem and hoping it goes away.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      So, its not income that drives dysfunction. Its dysfunction that drives income.\

      Or you could break out of that binary thinking trap you’re in and say that poverty and dysfunction are mutually interdependent.

      • Pete George 5.1.1

        I’d say it’s more complex than that. Obviously poverty can lead to dysfunction, dysfunction can lead to poverty, and both can lead to both, in many degrees of both.

        You can also have either without a significant degree of the other. And there can be other factors involved as well.

        There are many different people and situations involved.

        • mik e

          Pompous Git you are very good at saying nothing

        • foreign waka

          Pete, explain dysfunction please. I have seen a lot of rich dysfunctional families and none of them have shown any sign of getting into poverty in a hurry. What leads to poverty is income disparity and a too lower level of “minimum income” measure. This is true for groups such as one income households with kids and less then 50k pa (NZ), unemployed, invalids and sickness beneficiaries as well as pensioners.Underlying all of it is the philosophical question whether there is a of right for life. If it is, it has to follow that there is a right for survival. This in turn would underpin the approach to children, families and the elderly. Yes, this issue is complex, but not because there isn’t the logistic to deal with it but there is a general lack of humanity to allow the weaker folks to prosper.

      • tsmithfield 5.1.2

        RL “Or you could break out of that binary thinking trap you’re in and say that poverty and dysfunction are mutually interdependent.”

        Yeah, what I said was deliberately over-simplified to ginger the debate up a bit. However, not over-simplified all that much. Even the researcher himself sees a dysfunctional background as more predictive of negative outcomes in future generations than income. Here is the relevant bit again:

        “but the things that drive behavioural outcomes are not so much income and are more familial and personal.

        That’s why merely throwing money at social problems is doomed to fail. We need to sort the problems out, but decades of institutionalised welfare has probably exacerbated the problems, not solved them.

        Its easy to take a person out of the gutter. Its a lot harder to take the gutter out of the person.

        • Colonial Viper

          Wow like deficient income aren’t make a major driver of familial and personal stress.

          Dude you really have to practice thinking in more than one dimension and one way at a time.

          • tsmithfield

            Mate, I am just agreeing with the study that Zet was having orgasms over. You should be directing your criticisms at the study.

            • felix

              Nah, you’re agreeing with the one facet of the study that appears to resonate with your prejudice as long as you remove it from all context and ignore the bleeding obvious implications leading from it.

    • Populuxe1 5.2

      NATC conducting an inquiry into poverty is like a tobacco company conducting research into whether smoking is addictive and causes cancer. Nothing will change their flawed a priori economic model, everything else will be distorted to fit their smug worldview that poverty is a metaphysical sin, not an externally inflicted misery.

  6. randal 6

    just look at all the time used up by noo noo head programming on teevee and take a little time to think how much better that time could be used to teach and instruct people.
    the only thing teevee teaches people now is that one never has enough and that there is nothing that can be done about it.
    what utter bullshit.

  7. mik e 7

    So how come both local and international research has shown that 95% of people that are born into poverty never make it out.Except in countries that have a holistic approach !

    • tsmithfield 7.1

      A number of reasons:

      1. Beliefs: If people base their sub-concious belief system on their family backgrounds, upbringing, etc, they may believe they can never go further, that they are trapped in their existence, and therefore never push themselves any further.

      2. Dysfunctional habits: Some people have habits that tie them to poverty. Some of these, paradoxically, have very high incomes. For instance, drug addicts who often “earn” extremely high incomes by committing crime in order to fund their habits, or people with gambling problems who earn high incomes but gamble it all away, or those who keep increasing their spending to match the increasing level of their income, so they never really get ahead..

      On the other hand, some people have habits that lead to wealth. For instance, my friend who worked for three years in the freezing works while simultaneously doing a full time degree!! He then applied the capital he had saved to his first commercial building and now is a multi-millionaire with a large number of buildings he owns outright that are generating regular rental for him. The sad thing is his frugal habits are still with him, so he never enjoys his wealth. He lives in a crummy little house, and still drives the same car he purchased new in 1974!

      3. Prejudice of others that locks people out of opportunities. This is an aspect that requires change in those with prejudiced attitudes so that those who are affected can have a fair shot at opportunities that are out there.

      These are all very powerful factors that can’t be solved simply by pushing money onto people.

      • mickysavage 7.1.1

        TS do you have empirical data for your comments or are you blowing smoke?

        • tsmithfield

          Yes. This is all very basic stuff in the field of Social Psychology. Is there any point I made that you particularly disagree with? If so, why?

          • mickysavage

            I see nothing about the effects of poverty in what you say.  Poverty is the greatest potential cause of recurring poverty.  It should be avoided at all costs.

            • tsmithfield

              Sigh…Micky, you have undoubtably heard the theory that if all the money in the world was divided equally, it wouldn’t be long before it was back in the hands of those who had it in the first place. This theory will never be tested, of course. But, given the points I made, it is likely true, simply because the roots of poverty are far deeper than a lack of money.

              Shit, some of the wealthiest people have been bankrupt a number of times. However, their state of poverty was only temporary, and they were soon wealthy again. Therefore, they had certain characteristics that enabled them to succeed that were not related to their state of poverty.

              BTW, the author of the study that Zet has cited disagrees with you, as per the quote I have repeated several times. I have largely been agreeing with that author. So, if you don’t like it, you should criticise that study.

              • Colonial Viper

                Micky, you have undoubtably heard the theory that if all the money in the world was divided equally, it wouldn’t be long before it was back in the hands of those who had it in the first place.

                Because, as Marx realised, its the political economic SYSTEM which needs to be changed, not just (as you posit an extreme example here) a redistribution of wealth.

                Shit, some of the wealthiest people have been bankrupt a number of times. However, their state of poverty was only temporary, and they were soon wealthy again. Therefore, they had certain characteristics that enabled them to succeed that were not related to their state of poverty.

                Sociopathy, self interest and a disregard for others would rate up there for some in your sample.

                • Populuxe1

                  Because, as Marx realised, its the political economic SYSTEM which needs to be changed, not just (as you posit an extreme example here) a redistribution of wealth.

                  No, Marx believed the political system would unavoidably evolve into Communism because it was economic destiny, which is why Karl Popper quite rightly classified Marxism as a faith, not a science, because it couldn’t be tested and passably falsified. Marx was an Economic Determinist as much as the NACTS are, just from the opposite direction. Revolutionary Marxism was invented by bloody minded tyros precisely because it became apparent that the system didn’t want to change of it’s own accord, you know, democratically. Any attempt to force the system, from a Functionalst and from Popper’s Historicist perspective, automatically an act of tyranny. While a fairer and equal system is desirable, it’s counter intuitive to sociological and anthropological dynamics, and therefore is a brutal act of dictatorship.

      • mik e 7.1.2

        Dysfunctionally not having enough money.
        Research also show 90% of people living in poverty are depressed !
        That makes it very hard to succeed at anything.
        Any family living on $20,000 or less dollars have no options.
        They are so depressed they don’t turn out to vote a party that may do something for them.
        They don’t have a voice.

        • tsmithfield

          Mik e, depression, for what ever reason, is highly demotivating. Demotivated people are far less likely to persue opportunities to improve their lot. So, I agree that treating depression in people should also help them improve their situation.

          • felix

            And poverty isn’t depressing of course.

            • tsmithfield

              It all depends. My friend, who is a multi-millionaire. Yet he lives like a pauper, and actually quite enjoys it. Anyone who saw him would assume he was poor, yet he likes to live that way.

              So far as depression goes, I know several people with disorders such as bipolar etc who are unable to function in employment situations so are on sickness benefits, and therefore quite poor. Naturally, they are quite hard up. If their mental illnesses could be treated effectively, I am sure they would be back in the work-force fairly quickly.

              • felix

                Your friend isn’t poor, moron.

              • Colonial Viper

                You’re a fucking idiot ts.

                You have eyes but you are BLIND to the world.

                Your multi-millionaire friend has absolute CONTROL over how he WISHES to live. And in doing so he has SUCEEDED in getting out what he wants out of life and hence has much to ENJOY.

                Loser. Thats you ts not your mate.

                ps as felix said your mate ain’t poor. If he needs a hip replacement tomorrow he can whistle up $20K to get it done.

                • tsmithfield

                  Nah. He has a broken front tooth he won’t do anything about. Also, he has an arthritic knee he could easily get fixed. Yet he won’t spend the money. It wouldn’t make the slightest difference to how he lived whether he had money or not.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    You’re an asshole. A blind asshole.

                    [lprent: Where is the point in that comment? Pointless abuse tends to indicate that you just don’t know. ]

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I figured I might get called on this comment and fair enough too. There admittedly was no rational message that I wanted to communicate.

                  • just saying

                    Poverty is about having no choices.

                    It wouldn’t make the slightest difference to how he lived whether he had money or not.

                    Then why does he hold onto it? If he really liked to live poor there would be nothing stopping him. And yet oddly, he doesn’t.

                    Your planet is obviously very comfortable for you ts. I wouldn’t count on it staying cushy indefintely. Reality has a way of intruding when you least expect it.

              • McFlock

                Back when I was unemployed, I spent weeks on pretty much nothing but rice. Rice and spices. Rice and salt&pepper. Rice. Rice. Rice. Fucking rice. Instant noodles from the foodbank were awesome. But at least the lean time passed before it became truly debilitating.
                I didn’t have the option of going “bugger it, I might have steak today”. Your friend does. He eats what he wants. He isn’t poor.

                • tsmithfield

                  But he doesn’t. He has the options but he still chooses to live poor. His diet is probably not that much different to what you just described.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    You follow him around the supermarket and poke around his fridge at dinner time do you?

                    You fucking idiot. Fucking blind idiot.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Actually, I go around to see him quite a bit.

                      He has had a leaking hot water cylinder for several years. His response has been to put a bucket under it rather than get it repaired. He has a an old CRT tv which has lost one of its colours so all the pictures have a tinge of green, yet he won’t replace it. In the winter his place is absolutely freezing because he won’t run heating. His response is to put more jerseys on.

                      As I said, it makes no difference to him in the way he lives whether he has money or not.

                    • Colonial Viper


                      I know for a fact that a few of the homeless living hard on the streets have thousands of dollars in their bank accounts. Some of them tens of thousands of dollars.

                      But I only know of one person, you, who is fucking blind enough to use such an individual living as an example to model society on.

                      I hope your rich mate remembers all your visits via his will.

                  • McFlock

                    Says it all.
                    By the sound of it he’s choosing to live in pain and accelerate his death.
                    What’s your point? Unemployed people should live to the lowest level one single person in a population of 4 million would choose?

                    • tsmithfield

                      Actually, I am not so sure he does “choose” when I think about it. I think it is his frugal life habits that have lead him to live the life-style he does now. I don’t think he could actually “choose” to live otherwise.

                    • McFlock

                      Don’t dodge.
                      Is your position that because you know one person who lives on a substandard diet, in pain, with poor housing and untreated chronic medical conditions, then that is a lifestyle that children can be raised in acceptably?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey ts does he show off his trust accounts to you? How is it you know he is worth multi-millions? Perhaps it is all a pleasant fiction that he spun you, and which you are know relating back to us 2nd hand.

                    • tsmithfield

                      “Is your position that because you know one person who lives on a substandard diet, in pain, with poor housing and untreated chronic medical conditions, then that is a lifestyle that children can be raised in acceptably?”

                      I haven’t said anything of the sort. All I have been saying is:

                      1. It is wrong to assume that poverty inevitably leads to depression, or that depressed poor people are depressed because they are poor. A more relevant example might be “blanket man”. He had all sorts of social services available to him that could have improved his situation considerably yet he preferred to live on the street. Also, that I know several people in exactly that situation, who have clinical conditions such as bi-polar that prevent them from living

                      It is you and CV that are putting all sorts of words into my typing that are not there.

                      “Hey ts does he show off his trust accounts to you? How is it you know he is worth multi-millions? Perhaps it is all a pleasant fiction that he spun you, and which you are know relating back to us 2nd hand.”

                      He is a very good friend of mine that I have known since the 1970’s.

                      Here are some other examples of how frugal he is. He won’t put on broadband, but rather uses the free dial up services. Also, he walks down to the library to read the paper rather than having it delivered.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Hey ts, does this guy pay rent or a mortgage? If not, he’s instantly better off than about 80% of the population.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey ts does your mate make sure his children and his extended family are well looked after? Helps put his kids and grandkids through uni maybe?

                      You are a blind asshole. And I hope he remembers you in his will.

                    • McFlock

                      It is wrong to assume that poverty inevitably leads to depression, or that depressed poor people are depressed because they are poor.

                      Okay then. Now tell me where people said that “poverty inevitably leads to depression”, or that poverty causes all cases depression in the poor. Otherwise you’re just arguing against a point nobody made – which probably makes all your comments one big derail. 


  8. Colonial Viper 8

    It’s like the top 20% don’t yet realise that the top 0.1% is about to start feeding on the rest of them. So far the top 20% have felt reasonably secure, even as they watched the under class, the working class and the lower middle class get the shit kicked out of them.

    They’re coming for you next.

  9. Royton De'Ath 9

    Ah, Schmidtfeld you are an admirable propagandist. The frugal multi-millionaire who looks and acts like the poor! What a brilliant disguise; one We might need to adopt if things get any stickier. Then the Great Unwashed will just have to pity us, won’t they? And we can, as a bonus with this brilliant wheeze of course, dissolve this whole debate of child poverty by reclassifying these children as the offspring of “frugal multi-millionaires”!

    We can, in this regard, sense another victory in the Great War on Equality and Emancipation, and all done by sleight of classification. We expect no-one will notice, or if they do they’ll be socialists. As to that, I think that your “basic stuff” about Social Psychology is somewhat muddled (Attributional bias is not something that you suffer from, of course! it’s the Others, for goodness sake!).

    In reality you seem to be drawing on the insights of Social Anthropology as practiced in the 1930s. These clever investigators found that “blood” has different values and this meant: ‘Therefore men are unequal…[and]’…any justification for democracy and socialism is eliminated, the rule of superior races over inferior again acquires legitimacy’ (Mowrer, E., 1937: 181). This statement seems to frame the sub-text of your ad nauseum maunderings nicely. Those Germans, of a certain political stripe, knew a thing or two, didn’t they? If they could count that far, of course.

    However, We are somewhat less impressed with your over-confident assertion about the mobility of money, after the redistribution of same. You must rememember, if you have any functioning cognition at all, that theories are testable, and this one is particularly falsifiable. You are asserting an outcome that hasn’t yet been subject to tests of disproof. What if the hoi polloi decide en masse to “request” this theory be tested and We don’t get Our money back? What then, eh?

    Dear Dr Hugo Eckener said (ca 1930): ‘You may keep people satisfied on a lower standard of living but only if you first make them stupider’ (Op cit: 93). Whilst We admire the putative intellectual rigour of your hermetically sealed solipsism, We are very concerned that you must be living on the breadline, or below it.

  10. Peter 10

    We have a low wage, highly skilled economy, much like India, thats the brilliance of Rogernomics, now if only the poverty will go away! xD No wait, that means you would need a high wage economy like Australia, ‘the computer says no’ is Nationals response, since its brilliant plan is to ignore Australia’s economic policies and rely on faith, on the holy altar of Ayn Rand. Edit: I could burst out laughing, as I am reminded of the great chain of progress in Bioshock.

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