Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
I really don't think I need to make the case-- that deploring the alleged character flaws of any social grouping is helpful neither to them nor to us...
Reluctant to face fruitless argument on either "Poor bad! Us good!" or "Us good! Rich bad!"-- -- -- I held off posting a link to Barbara Ehrenreich's latest.-- --- -- which I myself think offers a far better starting place for discussions of poverty-- -- -- as well as for discussions of bad mouthing the poor.
We humans still exhibit a fascination with the wickedness of others-- which was useful information in tribal & village life, not so helpful in more complex societies.
We'd do better to focus on 'criminogenic' conditions and environments.
If the work of an investment broker requires him to promote risky and socially-destructive investments-- or fall behind in his customers' rate-of-returns-- then you can't usefully blame the brokers for our current economic devastation. They can fall into corrupt ways-- or they can quit, or be fired-- but the result you can expect is that most surviving brokers will be predatory. Hence the fraudulent and psychopathic culture we see embodied in the largest investment firms.
In places where the black market is the only practical source of employment for most people, you're going to see a similar dynamic. Some will resist, and remain poor. Some will dive in, and prosper. Some will end up hustling for bare survival, and remain poor. Some of these will be arrested (You can't have a black market without a state to arrest excess competitors...) and other people can be employed as prison guards, but probably these will come from other neighborhoods.
a) A society does badly if there are no laws forbidding profitable misconduct. b) Likewise if there are laws, but enforcement efforts become corrupted. For the rich, both conditions hold. For the poor, only condition 'b'. For both classes, our present approach just flails and fails.
Example of systemic criminogenic environment.
Notice that some pretty good people managed to hold their noses & keep their places there, but those we know about eventually left.