Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

What think ye of the poor?

February 12th, 2017 by Zen

The Poor you will always have with you. Matt 26:11

So, what are we going to do about it?

Let’s put off discussion, for the time being, of the full Law of Consecration / United Order. That might be the only solution, but I want to exhaust others first.

Ok, we have a problem, and that problem will likely get worse in coming years and decades.

Not everyone is set up to prosper in a knowledge economy. 

Education has become more about status signaling and indoctrination, and outrageous debt, than actually about learning. And higher-ed is a bubble waiting to pop. So education isn’t going to solve all of our problems. On the flip side, the movement best suited to popping that bubble, and providing actual need, is online education, and the Church just expanded its online education program.

Meritocracy is better than aristocracy, nepotism or socialism (and a great many more -isms), but it has problems of its own.

“Chris Hayes, in his new book Twilight of the Elites, makes a deeper point, that meritocracy is not just hypocritical, it is also incompetent. Hayes blames meritocracy for the Iraq war, the financial crisis, even the steroid scandal in Major League Baseball. “As American society grows more elitist, it produces a worse calibre of elites.” How can that be? How can the ideal of promoting the best and the brightest lead to disaster? Mostly, Hayes tells us, because meritocracy creates elites that are utterly self-serving.”

And elsewhere, “That’s the tendency within meritocracies for the cognitive elite to become a self-perpetuating oligarchy.” Of course, it is the Elites of today that have given us such an interesting election.

The Robot Revolution and the continuing Computer Revolution threaten a wide swath of jobs, most physical labor and a lot of skilled, educated labor as well. It is often argued that we have been here before, and that we will just have more and different kinds of jobs, but there are good arguments for why it is different this time.  And even if it isn’t, change may be so rapid, that the economy and job market won’t have time to adapt. Wired just had a nice article on why AI will hollow out the middle class.

The Democrats are not going to help, unless it helps their voting base. But I don’t think Trump is a pancaea either, even if he has done a few right things. And the even if Trump was Mother Teresa, I am not sure how much he will be allowed to do. Technology and science will also be mute to our suffering.

Ok, so

  • Meritocracies generate self-serving oligarchies,
  • Not everyone is a cognitive elite, or even set up to prosper in a knowledge economy, and
  • Robots may take all our jobs anyway, except for a steadily shrinking portion. At least 2 of these 3 are only going to get worse in coming years.
  • Education, as it is, isn’t a solution
  • Politics…… uh… no. That isn’t going to help either.

So, that tells me there isn’t anyone out there with a real solution. That means it is up to us, as saints of the Most High. What are we going to do about the poor, and about the rest of us?




Comments (8)
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February 12th, 2017 17:53:22

February 13, 2017

Co-ops and conscious buying.

I’ll freely admit that this is the horse I like to beat, but co-ops strike me as one of those sword-in-the-stone, Thor’s-hammer concepts—works for those who are worthy, fails otherwise.

Conscious buying works on the income side of the equation—it’s hiring the guy in the ward to do your lawn instead of a service, having the neighbor girl babysit instead of using daycare, etc.

Co-ops work on the outflow side: instead of joining a country club, the neighborhood buys a plot of land together and installs a pool. Gardens, etc.

The two flow into each other.

The principle that makes it all work is: charity for thy neighbor.

February 13, 2017

I think it kinda all gets worked out in the 2nd Coming, in some sort of “grand reset”. The wicked (Telestial folks) all get killed off. And the physical devastation, plus the destruction of wars over the previous 3.5 years, bring down the elites who were worthy enough to survive.

February 13, 2017

I feel like we may be on the edge of a cultural and legal revolution that makes that kind of thing possible, like homeschooling was 40 years ago.

February 14, 2017

I don’t think waiting for the 2nd Coming is a solution. Yes, God will someday right all wrongs, but we have to live in the world until then, and hopefully add to it.

Co-ops work where there is community, but we can’t even get people to do their hometeaching.

And there are anti-monopoly laws that would forbid hiring only members. You can believe those will be used to the full letter of the law.

February 14, 2017

” but we can’t even get people to do their hometeaching.”

Then, to an extent, we deserve what we get.

February 14, 2017

And I say that as someone who was 0% last month.

February 14, 2017

Excuse me, I got away from the main topic of the OP, “what of the poor?”, or perhaps better stated, “what of jobs and economy for the portion of the population that is ‘below average’? (by whatever metric.)”

The prosperity and upward mobility of US citizens has historically been tied to our freedoms (both economic and political), and to our collective righteousness/morality.

We have been losing economic and political freedoms slowly, and we have been decreasing our righteousness/morality rapidly over the last 45 years or so.

Loss of righteousness leads to loss of freedom. Both individually and collectively, but I’m speaking more collectively.

Loss of freedom leads to loss of prosperity, both individually and collectively.

Lack of righteousness can also lead directly to loss of opportunity to increase prosperity, as well as back-sliding prosperity. (I’m thinking of how the corrupt diversion of the money from loans and grants to South American countries for building roads, hospitals, and hydro-electric dams prevented them from escaping third world status. As well as dictators impoverishing their nations while enriching themselves.)

February 14, 2017

We try to do most of our meat purchasing through the farmer’s market, and veggies as available during the spring-fall.

I also usually look at the parish bulletin before hiring (my lawyer is a Catholic, with a “last supper” statue out front, my account is also Catholic, etc.)

I’m not sure that quite addresses the issue of technology causing a large mass of permanent poor. Maybe subsistence agriculture will make a “come back”, but for those who are too sick or unable or don’t want to work – ??

Most American poor aren’t really “poor” in any historical sense. They still have food, TV, housing, heat, etc.

Christians may have a natural detachment from worldly things (“Hah!” you say) and so be able to always live below our means, plus a greater sense of community, and have a greater resilience against these pending problems.

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