Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Equality matters

The line being rolled out at the start of the recession was that this time it was different. The middle classes were the ones being hit. It was the South not the North that was suffering. Now the truth is becoming apparent.

Youth unemployment is rocketing in the UK and this excellent post from Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick Muhammed about the situation in the United States makes it absolutely clear that recession exacerbates social divisions. It is the weak that suffer most, even to the extent of losing some of the fragile individual gains of the past. And in the USA the big division is race.
Left out of the ensuing tangle of commentary on race and class has been the increasing impoverishment—or, we should say, re-impoverishment--of African Americans as a group.
She continues
For African Americans – and to a large extent, Latinos – the recession is over. It occurred between 2000 and 2007, as black employment decreased by 2.4 percent and incomes declined by 2.9 percent. During the seven-year long black recession, one third of black children lived in poverty and black unemployment—even among college graduates-- consistently ran at about twice the level of white unemployment. That was the black recession. What’s happening now is a depression.
This is another reminder of how the smug complacency of the boom years not only ignored the instability of the financial instruments on which it rested, but also neglected to address the continuing corrosive effect of economic and social inequality and the impoverishment of those at the bottom, even in times of plenty.


Roger said...

On adult education wonder if you've read the paper from Policy Exchange that came out when you were in Greece:

While I normally wouldn't touch anything from David Cameron's allegedly favourite think tank with a very long barge pole this does seem to be a fundamentally sound argument for supporting part-timers in HE.

(I took my own degree at Birkbeck in the 90s without a penny of direct state support).

However suspect it will just be used by the next Tory govt as an excuse to cut FT HE and that any transfer of resources to PT HE will be too little and too late.

The Plump said...

Thank you Roger.

It does look interesting and surprisingly sane. Your suspicions seem correct to me, though I think they will actually use it to cut FT HE without transferring any resource to PT.