"A recent report by the Center for an Urban Future laments the lack of “low-income” entrepreneurs in New York City. The entire premise of the report is strange to me, the concept that our most vulnerable populations should be responsible for creating opportunities for employment. The very definition of poverty is to be lacking the money to cover the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and healthcare. If you can’t do that, how can you choose to spend money to start a business when it will ultimately mean yet more physical sacrifice, possibly at the expense of your health, sanity, and what little stability one might have? The risks inherent in entrepreneurship are such that the poor frankly cannot afford it, evident in the questionable success of micro-lending programs worldwide. These pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps perspectives are short-sighted products of the privileged, relieving governments and policymakers of the responsibility to abandon austerity measures and private interests and invest in the types of WPA-style projects that created the American middle class in the first place."
"The thing about not having much money is you have to take much more responsibility for your life. You can’t pay people to watch your kids or clean your house or fix your meals. You can’t necessarily afford a car or a washing machine or a home in a good school district. That’s what money buys you: goods and services that make your life easier."
"The good news is that India’s one per cent club is growing rapidly. Sample this. In 1993-94, the top quintile or top 20 per cent of households in India accounted for 37 per cent of total income. This grew to 53 per cent of total income in 2009-10, and is expected to touch 59 per cent by 2014-15."
Unpaid Internships: Bad for Students, Bad for Workers, Bad for Society →
A must-read in general. One fantastic response:
I think that it’s important to consider the implications that all of this unpaid (and likely stemming from the upper-class) labor has on society as well, especially within the industries that largely require entire chunks of time and resources from those aspiring to join them. Particularly within the public sector, one glaring example of this is the field of legislative aide job opportunities that are often only handed out to those who have toiled away for months (and indeed sometimes years) on end as campaign volunteers.
This creates a setup where an entire profession (any job offering Congressional support) effectively shuts out the very large proportion of the college-aged population who do not have parents (or some other richer benefactor) that can afford to subsidize living costs for however long they need to gain the extensive and unpaid experience necessary to enter the good graces of a Congressman or Senator. The implications of this are far-reaching and structural; and reinforce the culture of privilege already rampant in Washington D.C. where not only do federal lawmakers themselves often lack valuable perspective on the issues plaguing lower- and middle class Americans that constitute the majority of the nation’s citizenry, but also with the advisors and assistants working for them, who by virtue of being able to land their jobs in the first place already were fortunate enough to have been born into the nation’s wealthy economic minority. This creates a cycle of dissonance between the real world economic reality that Americans face and what the legislative class in Washington understands the proper solutions are to those very problems.
"The actresses playing these true-to-life Gen Y losers are unusually privileged in real life. Ms. Williams is the daughter of the NBC anchor Brian Williams; Ms. Mamet’s father is the playwright David Mamet; Ms. Kirke’s father plays drums in the rock band Bad Company; and Ms. Dunham’s parents are successful artists."