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This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

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195

The New "Culture of Poverty"

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an excellent critique of Strangers in Their Own Land / Hillbilly Elegy

Maisano, C. (2017). The New "Culture of Poverty". Jacobin, 2, pp. 195-207

200

The likes of Murray and Vance are not wrong to discern a cultural chasm between the white elite and the increasingly immiserated ranks of the white poor. Clear divergences in marriage and divorce rates, out-of-wedlock births, church attendance, and drug abuse are all observable phenomena and appear to have intensified in recent years. But that’s to be expected when almost all the growth in new income accrues to the top, while real wages and living standards collapse at the bottom. It would be quite an achievement if working-class communities and family structures held up under such enormous economic strain. But they have not, and the fallout from these developments should not come as a surprise. Vance’s grandparents could relocate from their corner of eastern Kentucky to Ohio for well-paid work at a unionized steel plant. How many people can follow the same strategy today? Who in their right mind would uproot themselves to drive an Uber or pack boxes at an Amazon warehouse for low wages and no benefits? Under these circumstances, staying home to collect disability checks or sell meth looks like a much more rational decision.

—p.200 by Chris Maisano 1 year, 6 months ago

The likes of Murray and Vance are not wrong to discern a cultural chasm between the white elite and the increasingly immiserated ranks of the white poor. Clear divergences in marriage and divorce rates, out-of-wedlock births, church attendance, and drug abuse are all observable phenomena and appear to have intensified in recent years. But that’s to be expected when almost all the growth in new income accrues to the top, while real wages and living standards collapse at the bottom. It would be quite an achievement if working-class communities and family structures held up under such enormous economic strain. But they have not, and the fallout from these developments should not come as a surprise. Vance’s grandparents could relocate from their corner of eastern Kentucky to Ohio for well-paid work at a unionized steel plant. How many people can follow the same strategy today? Who in their right mind would uproot themselves to drive an Uber or pack boxes at an Amazon warehouse for low wages and no benefits? Under these circumstances, staying home to collect disability checks or sell meth looks like a much more rational decision.

—p.200 by Chris Maisano 1 year, 6 months ago
201

This relentless focus on intersubjective, interpersonal relations between individual members of different classes completely overlooks the ways in which capitalism operates as a system of objective social relationships. As Ellen Meiksins Wood has argued, the universal market dependence that defines capitalism necessarily imposes certain imperatives on economic activity: competition, profit maximization, accumulation, productivity growth. Workers and capitalists alike are subject to the constraints of the market and are forced to comply with its demands in order to survive. They simply have no choice but to do so, regardless of their personal beliefs, attitudes, and values. Exploitation occurs not because owners and employers are prejudiced against workers but because the whip of competition constantly forces them to cut costs, intensify workers’ labor, and reduce wages. Even if prejudicial attitudes toward working-class people were eradicated tomorrow, class exploitation would still continue. What’s more, those attitudes would likely resurface because abusing and mistreating other human beings always requires a justification.

link this to meritocracy

—p.201 by Chris Maisano 1 year, 6 months ago

This relentless focus on intersubjective, interpersonal relations between individual members of different classes completely overlooks the ways in which capitalism operates as a system of objective social relationships. As Ellen Meiksins Wood has argued, the universal market dependence that defines capitalism necessarily imposes certain imperatives on economic activity: competition, profit maximization, accumulation, productivity growth. Workers and capitalists alike are subject to the constraints of the market and are forced to comply with its demands in order to survive. They simply have no choice but to do so, regardless of their personal beliefs, attitudes, and values. Exploitation occurs not because owners and employers are prejudiced against workers but because the whip of competition constantly forces them to cut costs, intensify workers’ labor, and reduce wages. Even if prejudicial attitudes toward working-class people were eradicated tomorrow, class exploitation would still continue. What’s more, those attitudes would likely resurface because abusing and mistreating other human beings always requires a justification.

link this to meritocracy

—p.201 by Chris Maisano 1 year, 6 months ago