When the poor were the majority.The poor in developed countries like the USA and UK are now a minority, though up to maybe the 1950's or 1960's they had been a majority.While the poor were a majority their main problems were simply economic poverty and economic exploitation.
Government bodies manned by the upper and middle classes understood this sufficiently to be able to handle the poor with some appropriateness, if not always entirely to the poor's liking. The votes of the poor majority were basically sought with a policy mix of small economic titbits and nationalistic policies.The poor becoming a minority.
In the USA by 1950, and the UK by 1960, growing economic prosperity saw the numbers of the poor begin to fall until soon they became a minority. This was helped by more enlightened government policy, and was good for the many that then escaped poverty. Unfortunately the remaining poor as a minority were to face seriously increased problems.There were two main reasons why the modern minority poor in advanced countries faced increasing problems.
The first was that the poor soon had more complex, though supposedly helpful, welfare systems applying to them and giving them new problems ? and also as a minority they now also hit new minority social exclusion problems. The second main reason the modern poor in advanced countries faced increasing problems was that they became less seen and less understood by the governing upper and middle classes, so their governing became wildly inappropriate and plain wrong.How affluent governments lost their poor.When the poor in developed countries became a minority, democratic political parties began to see their votes as unnecessary, though the poor are a socially significant minority whose misgovernment can seriously undermine society.Majority middle-class issues became prioritised, for example huge anti-tobacco-smoking resources being applied by government and employer bodies but much less on drunkenness, drug-taking or weapon-carrying ? pushing many from cigarettes to these. Socially tobacco is a small undesirable but the available alternatives for the poor are really much worse.
And some of the health problems of smoking may be due to inhaling cigarette lighter flints rather than inhaling tobacco.All government, charity, employer and other bodies being now run by a middle-class having no real understanding of modern poor minority problems has led to many policies affecting the poor becoming totally inappropriate. And developed countries prioritising middle-class issues and worsening the position of their poor minority are in effect doing a Nero and 'fiddling while Rome burns', but their governments basically lost the poor.
Re-finding the poor.In developed countries now, those producing policies are educated professionals with little or no experience of the poor today, and they may commonly have correct general theories but often be missing the correct practical detail needed for correct modern policy making for today's minority poor. They urgently need to find and involve the tiny handful of street-wise professionals who somehow do happen to have substantial real experience of today's poor themselves ? but as yet they are totally unaware that this is needed.Or if modern affluent middle-class government cannot find a way to better govern their poor and other minorities, then perhaps modern democratic government will demand less middle-class officials.
Maybe a percentage of politicians should not be elected, but instead be randomly selected from elector lists ?..Vincent Wilmot currently lives in Grimsby UK and has several interesting websites including http://www.social-exclusion-housing.com.
By: Vincent Wilmot