Apr 102013
2007-2008 008

What happened concerning poverty and equality? I don’t believe our Ukanian “precariat” spirits have been worn down by centuries of oppression, it is just we need to travel and breath in some fresh air in order to get rid  of the misty antipathies after the long winter.

For instance, writing in Australia take a simple look at poverty from the literary viewpoint of Coetzee – from a letter from Here and Now… a dialogic project now published years later after the writing (NB Wordstall take note!):

“Our cities stand intact, our farms remain productive, our shops are full of goods. What then happened to make us poorer? The answer we are given is that certain numbers changed. Certain numbers that used to be high suddenly became low, and as a result we are poorer.”

Or explore Africa, the Americas, the Near East and the Pacific from the complexities of a social evolution of inequality from the magisterial and data rich standpoint of Flannery and Marcus, The Creation of Inequality: How our ancestors set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire (2012) – LRB review by Steven Mithen (11 April 2013: 35. 7: P17-18). Their data baseline is the more or less egalitarian hunter-gatherer society of 15,000 years ago and the evidence they have garnered shows that it has been downhill ever since. But there is no teleological arrow that is pointing us towards an endpoint of inequality, and no argument of historical purpose. Flannery and Marcus demonstrate that Empires, Monarchies Slave State (and totalitarian regimes) simply come. And they go.

And we can change the numbers up or down whenever we like, only we may well have to also learn to speak Spanish to do so. And exercise judgement (courage and sanity). It is called class struggle, only it is not the nineteenth century style of masculine fist-i-cuffs Marx envisaged, more the version of war Elizabeth Bowen defined: “thinning of the membrane between the this and the that”.