Thursday, April 3, 2014

Poverty and austerity for the third year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

The seventh most read entry posted during the third year of the blog was Austerity on the personal level from the AP, which earned 431 page views according to the secondary counter.  As I mentioned in Popular retrospectives for the second and third year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, it was briefly in the top ten according to the primary counter.
The entry about that made a move last year was article on tax policy forum, posted September 17, 2012.  As of March 21, 2013, it had 211 views according to the secondary counter, enough for 18th place among all entries posted that year.  Since then, it began a steady rise into the top ten all-time, knocking off first Austerity on the personal level from the AP, which itself kicked out Old man yelling at chair accidentally reveals a deeper truth.
My stats didn't fall in October has more details on the entry's rise.
Austerity on the personal level from the AP surpassed Old man yelling at chair accidentally reveals a deeper truth with 406 page views to become the 10th most viewed entry in the blog's history.  That happened entirely by linking to it at Kunstler's blog.
The entry was Creepily Close, and I didn't even link to it in my first comment there, but my second, when lsjogren confronted me.
“You don’t get it, neon. The consumer binge cannot be sustained”

Oh, I get it. After all, I did write, “Just because the money might not be there doesn’t mean the desire won’t be.” There aren’t enough resources now for all seven billion humans on this planet to live like Americans have for the past 50 or 60 years, and there certainly won’t be enough for the nine billion of us who could be here in 2050 to do so when there will be less fossil fuel energy. That won’t stop Americans for wishing for the Moon for quite a while. Reality will have to swat them really hard for them to give up on their dreams.

Some people are getting the message, though, and are adjusting to their new, less wealthy circumstances, as the AP video at the link shows.
That was enough to pull about 400 page views, most of the 451 that came in from that entry of Kunstler's to my blog that week.

Follow over the jump to more entries about poverty and austerity that made the top 20 most read list from the third year of this blog, including the top entry about Detroit's bankruptcy.

The eighth most viewed entry of the third year of this blog is Detroit's bankruptcy as reported by the New York media posted on July 21, 2013 with 355 page views according to the secondary counter.  Like most of the rest of the entries included in this retrospective, I promoted it at Kunstler's blog, appropriately enough in Requiem for Detroit.
Welcome to Detroit, ground zero of the post-industrial future. Whatever solutions we devise for North America’s problems will be exported, including the bad ones. Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy is one of those solutions. Whether it will be a good one or a bad one has yet to be determined.

So far, the mainstream media based in New York has been concerned for the implications of Detroit’s bankruptcy for business as usual, namely municipal unions and their members’ pensions. About the most far-seeing person among them so far has been Paul Krugman, who has written that sprawl killed Detroit. He’s finding out that he is more right than he thought. I’ll get to him later.
I'm not sure I ever followed up on that promise.  Too bad, as I found out that L. Brooks Patterson has posted that he loves sprawl.  If sprawl killed Detroit, I can see why Brooks would love it for that reason alone.

Suburban poverty north and south of the border posted January 13, 2014, is tied for fourteenth the fifteenth most read entry of the past year with behind Discovery News and PhysOrg on colony collapse disorder at 290 page views.  I promoted that over at Kunstler's blog when I decided to have a change of pace from posting about my conversations with The Archdruid.
The future for New York City may be grim, but the present for its suburbs is already terrible, although it’s hidden in plain sight. This weekend, PBS NewsHour marked the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of a War on Poverty by examining what poverty looks like today. The result was that they proved that a prediction JHK made more than a decade ago is coming true–the suburbs will become the slums of the future. We’re now living in that future, and there are millions more people living in poverty in the suburbs than either the cities or the countryside. PBS found a woman in Suffolk County on Long Island, one of NYC’s suburbs, and found her living in exactly the kind of desperation Jim forecast in “The End of Suburbia.”

Another report detailed how wages are not keeping pace with inflation, which touches on one of the points Jim made in his other front-page essay this week, “The Disenchantment of American Politics — And the Coming Uproar,” about how average people just aren’t able to support each other. Check it out; it’s well worth reading.

On top of all that, the American idea of suburbia was imported into Mexico, and that experiment is failing, too. There are 50,000 abandoned houses in the suburbs of Tijuana and all the problems there are even worse. Import an American “solution,” get American problems. In response, the Mexican government is now promoting walkable neighborhoods closer to jobs and services. Maybe we can learn something from Mexico.
Good thing I looked at this comment.  I'm showing "The End of Suburbia" this week and this is the kind of information I can share with my students.*

The last entry in the top twenty on the theme of austerity and poverty is KPBS on retail desperation posted November 26, 2013, which received 262 page views, qualifying for an eighteenth place tie with  'A Steampunk calculator' and six other sustainable technologies from The Archdruid.  Again, it got on this list because I promoted it at Kunstler's blog.
“By the way, one reason for the vulgar orgy of “consumerism” that, in recent years, has turned the Thanksgiving holiday into a sort of grotesque sporting event, is to mount a crude demonstration that our “money” is a viable medium of exchange.”

This makes me glad that I didn’t leave step foot off the property between Wednesday afternoon and Sunday night. Year after year, I look at the Black Friday (and now Gray Thursday) sale spectacle, which people on Facebook point out looks like a zombie invasion, with horror, and year after year, I stay away.

Just the same, the hordes of zombie shoppers have now become, not only a demonstration that our money is still worth something, but a barometer of the health of our consumer economy. This year, there were more shoppers, but less money spent. Welcome to the combination of bargain hunting and wage deflation. Those aren’t the only things threatening the consumer economy, even from a business as usual perspective. KPBS lists a whole lot of issues that could erode spending power well short of the entire rickety edifice of our economy collapsing.
That's quite a demonstration of how I do some of my best writing in a hurry on Monday morning at Kunstler's blog and how well that works for me.

*Entries about "The End of Suburbia" and other films I show my students will be the subject of the next retrospective.  How timely!

Previous entries in this series.

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