Category Archives: poverty

Hop-Picking Diary

George Orwell lived as a tramp and went hop-picking in the late summer of 1931 to sustain himself.  He kept a diary of those times.  It makes fascinating reading, providing, as it does, an observant and heart-felt portrait of a destitute’s life in England in the interwar period.  A blog of that diary is here.

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Financial genocide in Greece

I never realized that the situation on the ground was quite so dire.  The international media covers only the money.  The social cost remains buried.

  • One third of the country’s 165,000 commercial firms shut down; a third can no longer pay wages
  • The billions of euros in tranches from the EU actually flow back immediately into the EU – reportedly, 97 percent of it – as annual loan repayment instalments to the banks and as new interest charges
  • There have been no textbooks in the public education system for months, since the state owes huge sums of money to the publishers and the publishers have stopped the deliveries

More here.

The question that arises is:  where did all that money go?  Did the powerful and politically well-connected manage to siphon off everything?  Or were all Greeks living beyond their means, as goes the primary narrative?


On Change in India

It was depressing, and even a little frightening, to cross the highway on my way back to Vijay’s house … The act of walking changed the way I experienced everything around Kothur. My uneasiness while crossing the highway and the diminution I felt as I walked for what seemed like hours across that flat landscape brought me a little closer to the experience of the workers. Walking shrunk me down to the level of an insect, for even as I made my way slowly towards the steel factory along the dirt track that ran under the highway, I could see the cars and trucks speeding past. It made me feel lost, unfit somehow for the new world I could see up there.

On how modernization is leaving the vast majority of Indians behind.  An excerpt from “The Beautiful and the Damned:  A Portrait of the New India” by Siddhartha Deb.  Excerpted in Guernica.  Here.