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A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis at firstname.lastname@example.org.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 98). 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.
Stable jobs, good wages, and benefits fueled a thriving middle class
Fifty years ago Detroit was an economic hub, a center of culture and manufacturing jobs, home of some of the largest industries, companies, and employers in the world, supplying American-made automobiles to a burgeoning American middle class. Stable jobs, good wages, and benefits fueled a thriving middle class, and families and neighborhoods flourished. Back then, Detroit was the fourth-largest city in the nation, with more than two million residents, and boasted the largest per capita income in America.
A complete collapse of the economy
Today, the entire automobile industry is a shell of its former self, and after decades of decay and retreat, the population of Detroit has declined to about 700,000 and the unemployment rate stands at more than 18%. Those stable, high-paying jobs have been replaced by technology and global competition, resulting in a complete collapse of the economy. A city about the many, which found a magical way to ride a wave up, increasingly became a city of the few, where everyone concerned rode the original dream into a deep fiscal ditch. The leaders forgot about the struggling class that made the city in the first place.
Detroit went broke long before it went bust; it ran out of ideas
The unions began to see their role as simply guaranteeing jobs, raises, and benefits, to the point that worker health insurance is today one of the largest expenses for a Detroit car manufacturer. General Motors planned to spend more than $60 billion on employee health insurance, an average of $1,400 per automobile coming off the line. Detroit went broke long before it went bust; it ran out of ideas. It is one of the reasons that Detroit became the largest municipal bankruptcy case in American history.
It’s not what we get but what we have to give that matters most
Cities thrive when there is a high level of individual economic energy and at least the perception of enough opportunity to go around. And all of this is about one thing: hope made real through a pathway to the middle class. This requires an allowance and an opportunity for everyone to become a stakeholder in that city’s dream. It’s not what we get but what we have to give that matters most.
The economic energies of the poor are neglected or wasted
If we want to save America, we must save its cities, and the only way to save America’s cities is with a vibrant and believable pathway to the middle-class American dream. The best stabilizer of societies, here and around the world, is not twenty-year-olds armed with AK-47 assault rifles but ten-and fifteen-year-olds armed with hope, economic energy, opportunity, and a dream of a life better than their parents. Currently, the economic energies of the poor are neglected or wasted. They’re outside the system.
They need to be treated as customers and job creators
The poor don’t need just “help”; they need investment. They need to be treated as customers and job creators. The main driver of freedom in the world today is not the vote but access to capital and knowledge about how to use it (self-determination). That means financial literacy education, financial capability, and financial and economic empowerment. If people don’t understand the global language of money, and if they don’t have a bank or credit union account, they are simply an economic slave. Thus, access to finance and financial literacy is a new civil rights issue.