HEADLINES OF THE DAY: ANOTHER 15,000 PEOPLE DIED YESTERDAY BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO POOR TO LIVE. THE RICH INCREASED THEIR WEALTH YESTERDAY BY $0.3 BILLION. THE 21st CENTURY VERSION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IS ONE DAY NEARER.
“O Ye rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.”
A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis at firstname.lastname@example.org. CHAPTER 1: INDIFFERENCE TO POVERTY (Part 97). This blog is a continuation of the review of HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM: REBUILDING THE PATH TO THE MIDDLE CLASS by John Hope Bryant, published in 2014.
PART I: SEEDING HOPE
Chapter one: Separate, Unequal America
I am aiming to turn upside down some “truths” about the economy, jobs, where wealth comes from, and who stands to gain most if we tap the armies of ignored and “inconvenient” poor and working poor who are presently left on the sidelines. The United States is the largest economy in the world, at approximately $16 trillion in annual gross domestic product. We have enormous human resources of wealth creation and opportunity just waiting to be unleashed.
The wealthiest 1% spends only 49% of its income
Consumers – not businesses or governments – power the bulk of our massive economy, with fully 70% of the economy dependent on consumer spending. Sustained economic growth and the fortunes of the other 30% of the economy depends on the economic vibrancy of ordinary consumers, most of whom are not wealthy. The ordinary Americans are much more reliable spenders than the wealthy; the bottom 80% of the American workforce spends 90% of its income, whereas the wealthiest 1% spends only 49%.
The system works well for some, it is leaving many behind
The “bottom” 80% of consumers, the backbone of the economy, owns only 11% of the nation’s money. We’re now building the consumer-driven 70% of our economic growth on the backs of those who have only a 7% stake in the system, and as many as ten million of these consumer households don’t even have a bank account. Although the system works well for some, it is leaving many behind, and as a result it is understandably coming to an end.
If change is to come, we must drive that change
We don’t have to settle for capitalism the way we have it, or the way it’s been. We can make free enterprise and capitalism actually work for the poor, the struggling classes, and the least of God’s children. This is precisely my plan. In this plan, everyone gets a role to play, not just the president and other elected officials, big business, or big banks. This is our country, our world, and our communities, and if change is to come, we must drive that change.
The most dangerous person in the world is a person with no hope
The first myth that we must overturn is the idea that poor people are somehow not relevant to our economic growth. The second myth is that the poor somehow did this to themselves – that they are all bums and deserve to be poor because they are lazy, have bad habits, or possess a horrible work ethic. I got out and did well because of the hope factor that surrounded and encompassed my life. But when this magic doesn’t happen in a kid’s life, and when the factors that actually drain opportunity happen often enough, then kids begin to lose hope. And the most dangerous person in the world is a person with no hope.
The problem arises when people believe that the game is rigged
We need to recapture that old hope that if you work hard, keep your nose clean, go to school and get good grades, pay your taxes and your emotional dues, it will pay off in a fair shot at the American dream and your children will have a legitimate shot at living an even better life than you. Today, both of these dreams seem to have been shattered, not for just the poor and the undeserved but also for the struggling middle class. The problem arises when people begin to believe that the game is rigged, that no matter what they do they simply cannot get ahead. That is when a healthy skepticism turns into a destructive cynicism.