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Extreme Poverty Cut in Half? Only in the Minds of the Capitalists


Extreme Poverty Cut in Half? Only in the Minds of the Capitalists

Paul Buchheit

Conditions getting better? Only in the minds of capitalists who don't want their comfortable lives disrupted by a rebellion among their billions of victims.


The Economist is a neoliberal propaganda rag. The World Bank and its demon lover the IMF have themselves created the poverty they pretend to be fighting with their debt-blood-soaked policies.

The game is called keeping poor countries in debt and having that debt flow to the coffers of those in wealthy countries. $1.90 a day is not extreme poverty? What level of hell does this bullshit reside in?


Nobody tells it like it is like Paul Bucheit. We have this piece and then we have the piece about tax havens, both on the same page, on the same site. The world is a ghetto folk’s. I complain about my status, or lack of, but I do have a fridge, a micro-wave, a computer, food in the cupboard and $200.00 in the bank. Life is good if judged against what is in the piece. But I live in the rural slums east of Phoenix. Going to Phoenix is like going to a different planet.


While in the US slavery has morphed from institutionalized into other forms–sharecropping, incarceration, debt, etc.–many more forms persist throughout the world. When we participate in the capitalists’ game, we enable and embolden the slave masters. For most people, participation is not avoidable, but can be lessened by choice. Therefore it is incumbent on us to recognize the distant injustices that are integrated into the food we eat, the clothes we wear, etc. The neoliberal trap is a powerful one. When neoliberalism fails (think IMF loans gone bad) the “solution” is usually more neoliberalism (think more loans to the “rescue”) further ensnaring the target. I’ve participated in development efforts in rural Bolivia and can attest that Evo Morales’ efforts to thwart neoliberalism have been good for the middle class. Each year I could see progress in the housing for common people. That is why Evo is in the crosshairs of the banksters and that is why I do the little bit I can to help. Neoliberalism must go–the sooner the better!


I have been a fan of Evo Morales since Cochabamba in 2010 - the “World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth”.

As a mountaineer I would love to have visited Bolivia and gotten to know the people, as I have done in the US southwest, Baja California and southern Mexico.

The banksters you speak of are in full view in Yanis Varoufakis brand new book, “Adults in the Room”.

Ditton above ties in the other article here today on the Paradise Papers - tax havens.

I would like to make it a trio.

In The Guardian today (link below), there is an article on the possible breakup of the European Union. Again, money, capitalism, big institutions and neoliberalism are all in view, accompanied by the predictable rise in ultra-right politics - racism is a more succinct term.

This Guardian article is meaningful if Yanis’ book is read - a given in fact.


In his tremendous account “What is America?”, (2008), Canadian savant Ronald Wright (“A Brief History of Progress”), in his last chapter, considers the possibility that the European Union might be “our last best hope” for a sane world.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy thought the United Nations was “our last best hope”.

Since the rich are not paying their taxes, that leaves us paying the bills. Since we also have the vote, that leaves the people in charge, in all ways that matter.

Why don’t we realize this, and take up our burden ?

It would be unfair to actually expect an answer to that last question - it is meant only as a thinking point - a fulcrum - a place to stand, from which to move the world.

I almost left Common Dreams yesterday, so disgusted was I at the situation - pretty much everywhere.

But I have reconsidered, and calmed down.


Poor Paul. He just can accept any good news because it undermines his ideology.

Yes, the rich are getting richer faster than everyone else. But the world is a much better place than it was 100, 50 or even 25 years ago. Extreme poverty is down, poverty is down, and more people are better off on a global basis. Those are facts. And that doesn’t take into account the qualitative improvement (such as access to communication - for example 1B+ Indians and 1B+ Chinese with cell phones).

Is inequality growing? By all accounts it is. That’s a separate issue. Celebrate that the world’s improving and then look for ways to help it improve more.


“Celebrate that the world’s improving…”

Rubbish. The world is dying, and capitalism is killing it as you wave your cheerleader’s pom-poms.


The Cochise Stronghold near the Dragoon Mountains impressed me mightily in 1997, when I visited Arizona by way of New Mexico and the Raton Pass. I had picked up a book in Tombstone, “Life Among the Apaches”, by John C. Cremony, who was instrumental in putting the Apache on the reserve at Bosque Redondo, but was a keen observer of human nature, and his first hand look at the Apache has never left me in all the ensuing years, In fact, my wife and I have raised our son, now thirteen, ‘like an Apache’, which is of course not entirely true, but it is not altogether fanciful either.

I have never visited Phoenix. My brother is well off, and as a Canadian, is a type of snowbird I guess, visiting Phoenix regularly.

I would be interested to know if you are familiar with the book “Life Among the Apaches”, or the Cochise Stronghold?

As for poverty - there are too many ‘economic’ metrics for my liking in this article. The author’s intentions are clearly in the right place, but I think we need another way of discussing what constitutes poverty.

As WiseOwl likes Evo Morales, it reminds me that “Bien Vivir” was a rallying cry at Cochabamba in April 2010, at the People Climate Conference - to “live well”, rather than to live for more - always more - the rallying cry for neoliberal capitalism and the yuppies who inhabit wealthy Phoenix.

We live paycheck to paycheck these last fourteen years - it is the only way to truly appreciate the situation.

Can a price be put on that ?

Just south of you is Sonora Mexico, home of the Yaqui - the lineage of Don Juan Matus, the ‘bruho’, the ‘diablero’ of Carlos Castenada fame in “The Teachings of Don Juan” and “A Separate Reality”.

Both of these books paint an unusual, and therefore possibly a useful picture of poverty versus bien vivir.

We need to drop out first - in order to gain perspective.

This is a ‘path with heart’ - and only for the brave.

Since the USA claims title - I urge all who aspire to true democracy, like the Apache - to do as you and I have done.


I’m midway through Varoufakis’ book (the second of his in my library) and find him to have a keen mind and a good heart. He cuts to the chase on what a cluster neoliberalism is. The recursive neoliberal logic that champions the poison as its own antidote is quite an accomplishment in cognitive dissonance. It is more than the planet can bear.


from “What is America?”, by Ronald Wright (chapter 9 - sayings):

“The real war always has been to keep alive the light of civilisation everywhere… The end of the world begins not with the barbarians at the gate, but with the barbarians at the highest levels of state.” (Ben Okri, 2003)

Precisely where we are now.


If you follow Paul, visit his sites and keep up with him in general you’ll see no one does it like he does and he’s been doing it for years now.
The Apache, I live right below Apache Leap, just west of Oak Flats. It might be over interest to you to know the the Apaches origin is that they are renagade Navaho. I sent the summer of my 16th year on the Rez up north. It has had a profound effect on me. I am at heart a Hopi though, read the book The Book of The Hope by Frank Waters and you’ll see why. You might enjoy this page as well.


The IMF report “Tackling Inequality” of October 2017 paints a slightly improving condition world-wide. It focuses on three reforms: tax rates at the top, universal income programs, and more public spending on education and health. I’ve come to think that the following are necessary: Requiring minimum wage standards in all exporting production should be a built into all trade agreements. Marking movement of decreasing inequality also should be a required trade treaty standard. Labor union rights, democratic rights – all should be built into treaties. And then the UN should work with the World Bank to print “special drawing rights” chits, or currency, a currency made of a contribution from all developed nations, something like a wealth tax. There’s approximately $250 trillion in private net worth in the world, a total that comes from the Credit Suisse World Wealth Report. The World Bank could just print out of thin air $3 trillion a year, transfer it to the UN program for development of technological improvement – education, medical and public health infrastructure, and other infrastructure – to countries in need. A world-wide “Peace Corps”. Who rules? the plutocrats or citizens of the world?


That’s a rhetorical question, right?

But it doesn’t have to be this way. A great old song by John Brill, first published in the IWW’s Little Red Songbook, 1916 edition (and famously renewed by Utah Phillips and Ani di Franco) called “Dump the Bosses Off Your Back,” gives us a clue.


Thanks for the link Ditton.

I understand that the Navajo were and I believe still are much more numerous than the Apache - that they were farmers as well, more so than the Apache. Both are Dene - related to the native first nation right beside me, the Sarcee, now known as the Tsuut’Ina First Nation, whose ancestral lands were in northern Canada. Apparently they moved south many hundreds of years ago, some settling here in Alberta, in alliance with the Blackfoot Nation, some continuing to your neck of the woods.

I would be fascinated to know more of your experience on the reservation when you were sixteen.

Being a rebel myself, I suppose this is why I am drawn to your ‘renegade’ Navajo - the Apache ??

I just received in the mail the hardcover edition of Hampton Sides “Blood and Thunder”, all about Kit Carson and the Navajo. The mountain men also fascinate me, for obvious reasons, and perhaps some not so obvious.

We are all “scatterlings of Africa” (Juluka), and it seems to me this is something to bear in mind. People move, sometimes to pristine lands, sometimes to already inhabited areas. It is difficult.

In fact, life itself is difficult, which is why we have developed morality and metaphysics - to try and reconcile the conundrums.


The poor will always be with us

Until the rich are not


Someday I may post some more about my 16th summer. On my family page you’ll see a connection to Kit, bad blood to be sure, not one I’m proud of.


Eliminating the rich won’t cure poverty. In every historical instance of “leveling”, all eliminating the rich does is ensure that everyone is equally poor for a while, and then some people get rich again.

I suggest “The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality” by Walter Scheidel


It has George Will’s and The Economist’s imprimatur, so you know the humanity will overflow from it …


That’s a false choice–it’s not about eliminating the rich, it’s about a much fairer distribution of wealth. I’m 56, and people weren’t all “equally poor” in America in the 1940s-1970s–ALL boats were rising. The 1% have re-written the rules over the last 35 years and did so in ways that directly funnel more of the wealth and power to themselves. That has to be reversed because the levels of inequality we have now increase all forms of social dysfunction and promote environmental destruction.


Yeah, just like in every historical instance ‘trickle down economics’ works. Your comments just get more inane by the day.