Tuesday, February 15, 2005

call me naïve..

if it were possible for seven men, with seven cheque books, to eradicate world poverty at seven simultaneous strokes of a pen, I for one would expect them to do it.
and it is, and they don't, so there it is.
billionaires are different from you and me (unless I happen to be talking to a billionaire - in which case e-mail me for the fawning and flattering version of this post), and are not subject to the same moral constraints, so it seems to be up to us little people to help each other out here.
even in our little rural neck of the woods, we've become used, over the past few years, to stepping past the Big Issue vendors with a quick smile that's supposed to say 'hi, I want to acknowledge you as a fellow-human in need, and don't want you to think that I'm either ignoring you or am careless about your plight, but I'm actually in some conflict here about the self-evident legitimate need in your personal case and the efficacy of the role you're imposing on me by inviting me to participate in its alleviation in this manner: you see, the big issue involves a lot more than the Big Issue...' and actually is interpreted as 'cringing liberal tightwad who passes by twice a day and smiles to cover his embarassment at pretending to human warmth despite wishing the council or the police or anyone really would move me and my bloody dog somewhere else'.
a billionaire wouldn't have these scruples - he'd just walk past. no recognition. no compassion. no problem.
it's evidently incumbent in billionairity to be liberated - a rare gift - from the imagination.
meantime, with a best shot at a definition of a contentious word saying that it applies if you live below 60% of the national median income (itself defined as the mid-point on the shifting scale of national earnings), and exemplified as a household of 2 adults and 2 children having less than £193 per week to spend after housing costs, that seems to work out at somewhere between a third and a quarter of the population in this supposedly developed country. it's much the same in the states, and apparently one in five Israeli children go to bed hungry.

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