The corporate capitalist state is designed to create big profits for a small group, create both human (homelessness, mass joblessness) and environmental waste and force a large middle to pay the cost. The middle, rightly, gets pissed; the bottom gets further ground into invisibility and the tiny minority sit in their counting houses counting coins and laughing.I think it fairly sums up my thinking about the issue of homelessness (and probably explains why I ended up in a counterproductive and unnecessary flame war on Twitter earlier today after I criticized a TV report on homelessness on Channel 9's "Chasing New Jersey"), my own long poem "As an Alien in a Land of Promise," my friend Jack Ballo's film Destiny's Bridge and Sherry Rubel's fine photos. We began working together on the project almost 18 months or so ago, not being particularly sure where it might take us.
For me, the experience made clear my basic beliefs about how American corporate capitalism operates, which is to generate profits for a small number while finding ways to push costs onto others. The costs, as I've written, manifest in waste, which take the form not only of trash and pollution, but also create a kind of human waste -- what we call homelessness is actually a byproduct of a system that disposes of what it cannot use. In this regard, homelessness is only partially about a lack of housing and low wages and, as a story in The New York Times earlier this week shows, not really about a lack of jobs. More jobs will not mean less homelessness, though it will help. Higher wages will help. More housing will help.
But as long as we continue to allow the system to be rigged so that it only values investment at the top and views those who are damaged as useless, the tent city phenomenon will continue.
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