how hungry is america-joel berg (part too)

“A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” -Joseph Stalin

on a related note, i found a slip in the book-a receipt for an overdue payment on capitalism and the jews.

“The sad reality is that America doesn’t really have a national antipoverty movement today, and hasn’t truly had one since the demise of the Poor People’s Campaign shortly after the assassination of Dr. King. Some of the old-line antipoverty organizations that still exist have been bought-off by donors and politically entrenched allies, so much so that they mostly lost both their effectiveness and their street credibility. A few have even become downright corrupt. There have been some cutting-edge grassroots antipoverty organizations that have arisen over the last few decades, but few have expanded enough to make an impact beyond their home neighborhoods and cities.” (288)

“When billionaires receive massive tax cuts, farm subsidies, or other government subsidies, then make ostentatious shows of being generous philanthropists, they are merely regifting with our money.” (212)

“This measure would be easy and affordable. We can end all food insecurity in America for just the cost of what the federal government spends on a year of agribusiness subsidies, three months of war in Iraq, or 6 percent of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. The investment would repay the nation many times over through increased educational performance, reduced health care spending, and increased worker productivity.” (238)

“Americans are willing to accept that we have poverty despite wealth, but they are loath to consider that we often have poverty because of wealth. Because Americans (unlike Europeans) are generally socialized into believing that what’s good for rich people is automatically good for everyone, they won’t allow themselves to accept the simple truth that, if some become ultrarich in part because the people who work for them-either directly or indirectly-aren’t paid enough to support their families, such wealth does indeed cause poverty and hunger.” (139)

“But, when wealthy people are irresponsible, they are more likely to shaft people they don’t know, many of whom are poor. When poor people are irresponsible, they tend to shaft themselves and other poor people.” (189)

this book is brilliant in the opposite way of buck. it’s too hard to write the reasonings around the passages, only to hang around the edges, influencing by curation. this is way that i’ve developed my interviews that i have enjoyed the most, and i suppose this is the foreshadowing to the interviews that i’m excited to do coming up.

i guess these bits are really eloquent statements on just how easy it would be to distribute our resources more equally-poverty, or at least hunger is over if we want it.

why don’t we want it?


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