Letters to the Editor – October 2013

A Modest Proposal

Wow, what a great newspaper. Many thanks to all the contributors. Stunning piece by Miguel Villega Ventura about the People of the Rain and their progress in decolonizing their existence! Thanks also to Leonard Adame for his essay on labor. It seems clear in our country that there is an ever-widening disconnect between the values we profess and the system we embrace and feed with our very lives. The fact that talking on the phone in the air-conditioned office can pay thousands or millions of times more than working in the fields till you drop dead shows beyond any doubt who is making the rules in this game we play! It is good to ask why this can be, why we allow this to continue. Which brings me to my latest crackpot suggestion.

It starts with the Gross Planetary Product. We add up all the Gross Domestic Products of all the countries, multiply by some reasonable factor to account for underground economic activity and voila: GPP. Then divide GPP by the number of humans alive on the planet. Let this give us a rough idea of what a person might reasonably expect as a share of the wealth generated by all. Let us then say that each person can get a salary along those lines for doing whatever they want to do, which we will consider their job. Any work that the community feels needs done which is not covered willingly by folks will then be assigned to everyone on a rotating basis. So we all do some dirty work. It is probably physical, we could save money on the gym fees, get some sun, be healthy, maybe even interact with nature or the physical world. A little variety of experience and education. Meet new folks. The least popular jobs could even pay extra.

Weird and improbable? Stranger than oppressing the masses while destroying the planet in order to fatten the insanely, incomprehensibly wealthy?
Jemmy Bluestein

*****

War on the Poor

I thought your article regarding homelessness was very enlightening; the action the city of Fresno took in the demise of temporary shelters of the homeless was distasteful.

What I found most disturbing was your quote, “city officials have been relentlessly demonizing the homeless as being criminals, dangerous, dirty and something we need to eliminate.”

The article by Jessie Speer was excellent; a thorough first hand account of what was truly going on.
Nancy Berry

  • Mike Rhodes is the executive director of theCommunity Alliance newspaper and author of the book Dispatches from the War Zone, about homelessness in Fresno. www.mikerhodes.us is his website. Contact him at mikerhodes@comcast.net.

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