Friday, November 12, 2004

Working Poor and Social Darwinism

Is the enactment of living wage laws a band-aid approach to addressing of the plight of the working poor or is it a step in the right direction? I feel the living wage laws are a small step in the right direction, but they are essentially a band-aid approach to fixing a failed system. At the heart of this failed system there is an attitude that is perpetuated by it. This attitude can easily be called “Social Darwinism” or “Economic Darwinism.” This “Economic Darwinism” psychologically isolates the successful portion of our society from the unsuccessful portion. What better way to rationalize the existence of the working poor than to assume that somehow they are responsible for their own situation. What better way to rationalize ones own excessive consumption than by thinking it is merely a reward for ones triumph over others. It then becomes easy to ignore the misery of the working poor. They have somehow lost the game, brought this upon themselves and deserve to fall by the wayside. So instead of looking at the economic and social system that is at the root of the problem, we focus on defeating the enemy (our fellow citizens) so we will not end up on the bottom. Once we have shown ourselves able to defeat our fellow citizens in this economic battle, we care not for their vanquished souls! They have lost and deserve somehow the misery that befalls them!

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