Inequality Glosses Over Poverty

Inequality. It pisses me off. While it is true I’m no Nigel Latta fan, that is not the reason I am pissed with inequality but the show really didn’t help.
So for what its worth if you didn’t see Nigel Lattas show, I wouldn’t bother. If you are on this blog you are already familiar with the discourse. On the heels of the Spirit Level and Max Rahbrookes latest efforts it adds nothing to the conversation. It is the same statistics in a different different wrapping. The only difference being that it makes the subject palatable to a larger audience. That worked. Latta was able to present the information to the main stream and use his popularity with the patronising and patriarchal to get the conversation into the homes of people who might be more inclined to Kiwiblog. People are still talking about it a week later. Inequality is back on the table again but you see that’s the part that I don’t like. Thats what pisses me off.

‘Inequality’ is palatable in this form because it puts the working poor on the table without anyone having to give up their privilege. You can talk about inequality without feeling bad because it brings the middle class the working class and the working poor together. We are all poor in that context. We are just a couple of paycheques off living on the street.

Like the student in Lattas show. Poor, poor Lucy. Unable to find a job after six months and relegated to living in her parents home deep in the leafy burbs. No disrespect to Lucy but let me be blunt. She isn’t living in poverty. That’s the problem with inequality.
Talking about inequality sets up a frame work where everyone can be talking about poverty without thinking about the real poor. I mean the poor poor. I hate a discourse that encourages us to distinguish between the working poor and those other poor. Thats right the ones that the Lattas inequality discussion failed to mention. Those on a benefit. So if they are on a benefit and separate from the working poor…what are they then? By implication if you are not the working poor then you are ….the lazy not working un-deserving poor?

This week Auckland Action Against Poverty will have around forty volunteers from throughout New Zealand camped outside the Community Link office ( thats WINZ latest incarnation) in Mangare Town Centre. Over the next three days the volunteers will be helping the people that didn’t appear on the telly. People that are struggling to feed their families, living in garages, and working really hard at the day to day struggle of surviving. This is the third of these “Impact” actions and the expectation based on previous years is that in three days they will look to assist over 300 people.

Thats who will be there.
Who wont be there? Nigel Latta and his camera crew.
Kate Davis is completing her B.A English & politics. Previously she has worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective & currently volunteers as an advocate for Auckland Action Against Poverty.
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