Sunday 1 January 2017

The poor are always with us

For ye have the poor always with you; 
but me ye have not always. Matt Ch26v11

I didn't agree with everything said by the right-wingnuts at Hibernia Forum when they were dissing the naivety of a Universal Basic Income. But they were nathematically, definitionally, correct in their assertion that we will never abolish poverty if we define it as proportional to the median income. Indeed there is something of a poverty industry out there, where fund-raisers for Third World charities can pull down +€100K/year because that is the sprat Sprattus sprattus to catch the mackerel Scombrus scombrus of donations.

I've ranted at this before. Our 'cosy' bed-sit, which was a perfectly adequate home for two people in 1974 is now is not not legal to live in. Everyone is entitled to their own flush-toilet. When we moved from our 2.1 x 2.4 x 2.7m bed-sit in Westland Row to a room with a spacious 15 sq.m of floor, we had to be careful what we played on the HiFi because if we put of Strauss, we felt impelled to waltz about the available ballroom. In the bigger place we shared a bathroom with other reasonably civilised people and were a bit careful about when and where we made noise - no waltzing after 9pm, for example. None of us felt we were poor, although we had but little.

Now we have a new commodity on the 'housing' market, launched by Shane Connolly, an Irish entrepreneur who is selling sleeping capsules for the first time in Europe. These are plastic boxes 2.1 x 1.2 x 1.5m which stack two high like bunk beds. They are retailing at €3,000 each: 2x the cost of our shed but 2% the price of our house. In contrast to the bunk-beds, of which I have a wide-experience from my Dublin hostelling days, These sleep-pods are reasonably snoresound-proof and definitely light-tight. The t'ilet is away somewhere else, so is not fit for long-term habitation according to modern sensibilities. There is, however, and this is important, a power socket and USB port. Which reminds us that access to broadband is now considered a basic human right on a par with coliform-free water, food and a dry place to sleep.  Ahem, Not!  Broadband is just the latest fad, the 21stC equivalent of cuff-links. 10% of the world's electricity supply is being consumed by people storing thousands of crap photographs of self&pals and watching Fail clips on youtube. Seems a poor return for the destruction of a planet. harrrumph

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