The poor machine

Just as cars, furniture, houses, automobiles and many other consumer goods are manufactured, the poor are also manufactured. To achieve these objectives, certain procedures must be followed; Firstly, from an ideological point of view, by infusing a language or a discourse with words that are by no means innocent and that imply a pedagogy of appropriation and the stronger. Then come the actual operational phases, aimed at real and sustainable production over time, for millions of poor people, the more the better. It will not be the case that these will fail or become scarce due to a failure on the assembly line. The decline in the final product (poor people) leads inexorably to a decline in the accumulation capacity of ever fewer rich people in every place and at every time.

The rich man increases his efforts to escape ugliness and misfortune. Each new yard in the West End (rich London) creates a new hectare in the East End (poor London). (1)

Through years of pedagogy of misinformation in the service of power, most people have become accustomed to the idea that poverty and those who embody it, the poor, are something like a part of the environment. It would be as if nature, which creates and recreates the flora and fauna of the planet, also creates the poor.

Many attribute this unfortunate existence to a kind of historical determinism, others to a curse, there are those who think of a biblical plague, there are also those who blame the poor for their own poverty.

Consistent with these perceptions, in the 1990s, a little-remembered Argentine president preached, “There have always been poor people, and there will always be poor people,” to the applause and “cheers” of his supporters of which there are still many sitting. in official positions.

At the level of international relations, we were taught that the world was divided into rich and poor countries, which today are euphemistically referred to as developed and developing countries, also first and third world. The worst thing is that we never tried to critically analyze this statement

At some point we would have to seriously ask ourselves whether a rocky island like Japan would be lost in the Pacific Ocean; or England, embedded in the fog of the North Sea; or Italy, a stone market that extends to the Mediterranean, among many other examples, are rich countries, while Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and many more are actually poor countries.

This simple question does not allow for ambivalent answers. We can categorically state that there are no rich and poor countries in the world, but rich and poor countries, which is very different.

In a finite world where inequality and abuse are the rules, many must become poor in order for a few to become rich.

A similar situation occurs in every nation, country, province, city or town. Very few with a lot and many with very little.

Let us look at a fact that has been the cause of wars and fratricidal conflicts for more than a century, and that at the same time the economic situation of the people of Buenos Aires (the city of Buenos Aires) was improving and the population was increasing rapidly and their quality of life improved. For the rest of the interior, this meant a historic deterioration of the regional economy and an increase in poverty and misery among residents.

For this plan to be possible and to be sustained over the long term, the mechanisms that produce and reproduce legions of poor people to the point of exhaustion had to be absolutely planned and oiled. There is nothing better than the poor machine for this.

We must understand that just as cars, furniture, houses, automobiles and many other consumer goods are manufactured, the poor are also manufactured. In both cases, there are techniques, methods, technologies and recipes for their production. .

To achieve these objectives, certain procedures must be followed; Firstly, from an ideological point of view, by infusing a language or a discourse with words that are by no means innocent and that imply a pedagogy of appropriation and the stronger. Then come the actual operational phases, aimed at real and sustainable production over time, for millions of poor people, the more the better. It will not be the case that these will fail or become scarce due to a failure on the assembly line.

The decline in the final product (poor people) leads inexorably to a decline in the accumulation capacity of ever fewer rich people in every place and at every time.

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Down with slavery!!!

None of this is new, but it takes on a historical dimension, starting with machines and the Industrial Revolution, when the then-emerging capitalism found that the labor provided by slavery was quickly becoming uneconomical.

The slaves needed to be fed, housed, and other needs met, but the worst thing about a constantly growing economy was that they were not consumers.

Consequently, another sector was needed in which the surpluses of industrial productivity could be transferred but also paid for. Consequently, employees appear.

This leads, not exactly for humanitarian reasons, to the former slave owners suddenly becoming angry standard-bearers in the fight against slavery.

England, which had sponsored the largest fleet of pirates and human traffickers, changed its interests within a few years and ordered its admiralty to destroy them.

The United States, with its civil war between the industrial North and the agricultural South, is a clear example of this.

And the machine begins to become efficient, and the legions of the exploited and dispossessed grow exponentially with the appropriation and concentration of income in a few hands.

This resounding success led to exports beginning and it was quickly acquired and installed almost all over the world.

Like any machine worth its salt, it comes with its instructions, brochures and recipes, almost always from the right, whether ultra-liberal, neoliberal, privatist or state-run, in all cases with the same goal, the participation of workers in the distribution to reduce . of the cake.

As Galeano says: “The same system that has to sell more and more must also pay less and less.” (2)

Human resources (poor) on offer

To top it all off, in the last few decades, the person who believed or felt like an employee finds that he or she has been classified or categorized as a human resource.

This contains a definition that is perverse and rarely discussed at its core.

The concept of resources has an economic origin and is subject to the principles of scarcity, appropriation and the law of supply and demand. The larger the offer, the lower its value.

Sand is of little value due to its wide availability, while gold is expensive.

There are few things on earth today in as many numbers as people, and therefore the supply of labor is increasing and wages are decreasing.

If an employee questions the working conditions, there are thousands who are ready to take his place in any form and under any conditions.

As some street graffiti say: I want them to explode me!!!

Regarding these problems, Viniane Forrester points out in her book The Economic Horror: “They say there is no work. Work is what’s left and they don’t want to pay for it.”

In such a hypothesis, salaries are cut, working hours are lengthened, work benefits are watered down, the English Saturday and Sunday rest periods disappear, the retirement age is raised and poverty is no longer the domain of the lazy, poorly maintained and devastatingly unemployed, increasingly wage earners.

But do not be confused and think that the machine works alone, on the contrary, it is a whole global corporation that almost always has journalism, communications, entertainment, security, food, financial and security companies as partners. everything “necessary” for the kind of life they themselves propose.

As if that were not enough, the profits from these activities, paid with meager salaries, are promptly transferred to the parent companies, which are almost always located abroad and owned by the concentrated groups of the world economy. This vicious circle leads to monetary desertification, depletes natural resources and worsens poverty.

How then can we explain the persistence of poverty and need in Argentina, a country that has grown well above the world average in recent years?

Abolishing this machine must be an urgent political decision that is about justice, the fair distribution of wealth and social preservation, beyond the ideological positions of one side or the other.

As John F. Kennedy said, “If a free society cannot help its many poor, it cannot save its rich few.”

Although I may not agree with this analysis, I’ll leave it for you to ponder and bid farewell until the next etchings. www.

Ricardo Mascheroni – Teacher – Argentina

References:

1.- George Bernard Shaw (Ironies and Truths, Edit. Errepar, Bs. As., 1999)

2.- Galeano, Eduardo, Patas Arriba, Edit. Catalogs, 1999

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