Danger in housing: Burn the poor?

I have posted a few articles discussing the Grenfell Towers fire in London because the deaths of over 150 people in a building for which few in power cared about the safety of its residents, those residents without much power because they did not have enough money to have their safety concerns heard.

While the democrats in our country fight over whether to be a progressive party or not, the lack of progress that comes with progressive ideology, little is being done here, in the United States to protect those who, because of their income levels, are forced to live where they can afford to live and where they can afford to live is often in places that are not as safe as those where people with money live.  The monied, having money, because of the way the political system in America works, having a much louder voice in the political realm than those without money, dominate and do what they can to insure that their wants are considered before the real needs of those without money.

This is a truth that many good people who are living decent lives do not want to hear because, as the linked story on gentrification that occurs when a bad part of a city is made nice demonstrates.  Public money is spent on building wonderful new public spaces but, because those spaces become nice spaces in town, the desire of the monied to live near them drives up the prices of living nearby, this pricing out those who had called the neighborhoods where renewal is taking place out.

A decent society would not allow it to be that those most in need have their not so good lives disrupted by the desires of those who have to have nice spaces in which to play and live.  It is a natural thing, it seems, for people to want to live in nice places but it should not be that only those who have money should be able to live in the nice spaces.  Indeed, though, this is the way “the market works.”

And how the market works is exactly the problem that makes it so that capitalism is ever so much a destroyer of anything resembling fairness and equity, even in a want-to-be (maybe) democratic society.  Inevitably, money wins out over what is fair and good and right.  This is what needs to be changed.  But few of those who can do what is necessary to bring about the change, those with the resources, are willing to have things changed because things as they are make their lives comfortable lives and very few are willing to give up what gives them comfort even if their comfort is based in unfairness.

This story appeared today in USA Today and is important because it is focused on a trend that has both a sweet and sour side: nicer public spaces drive those who live in the uglier urban spaces are driven away by the nicening up of once ugly places by the very fact that the ugly place is made nice, often with PUBLIC monies!


By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

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