America and the little wild bouquet

4 Jan

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof , in an article titled: Inequality is eating away at America’s soul January 4 2011 writes:

The gap between rich and poor in the US is vast and it’s growing.

John Steinbeck observed that ”a sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ”.

That insight, now confirmed by epidemiological studies, is worth bearing in mind at a time of such polarising inequality that the wealthiest 1 per cent of Americans possess a greater collective net worth than the bottom 90 per cent.

There’s growing evidence that the toll of this stunning inequality is not just economic but also is a melancholy of the soul……Among rich countries, those that are more unequal appear to have more mental illness, infant mortality, obesity, high school dropouts, teenage births, homicides, and so on. 

They find the same thing is true among the 50 American states. More unequal states, such as Mississippi and Louisiana, do poorly by these social measures. More equal states, such as New Hampshire and Minnesota, do far better.

So why is inequality so harmful? The Spirit Level suggests that inequality undermines social trust and community life, corroding societies as a whole. It also suggests that humans, as social beings, become stressed when they find themselves at the bottom of a hierarchy…continued at SMH January 4 2011.

Las Vegas Strip on a Saturday night.

Las Vegas Strip on a Saturday night. By Jane Bronotte

Or as L. Cohen so hopefully puts it in Democracy:
I’m sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can’t stand the scene.
And I’m neither left or right
I’m just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I’m stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I’m junk but I’m still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

2 Responses to “America and the little wild bouquet”

  1. gerard oosterman January 4, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    While there are many claiming that they have missed out on the fortunes of ever increasing material wellbeing, there are also many that have more than benefitted from wealth. In blatant terminal material societies such as ours and America, there are indeed many that are floating on a warm sea of obscene wealth.
    A far more equitable sharing of the pie to others must come about. Time is running out and no way will the capitalistic methods of the survival of the richest and most cunning solve a world close to a climatic death throe. The cult of individual effort and winner take all, ought to get much more scrutiny.
    In the meantime the world is getting hotter.


  2. gerard oosterman January 4, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    Everybody knows that the dice are loaded.
    Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
    Everybody nows the war is lost.
    Everybody knows the good guys lost.
    Everbody knows the fight was fixed.:
    the poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
    That’s how it goes. Everybody knows.

    Leonard Cohen in I’m your man.


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