inequality

Who will pay the price for the crisis?

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While politicians clearly have no idea of how to solve the economic crisis unemployment continues to rise across Britain. But where is it having the most impact? Danny Dorling argues that it is the young - "Thatcher's grandchildren" - who will bear the brunt of the recession.

How government reacts to a crisis is revealing. The initial reaction of the British government to the credit crunch was concern for those who initially appeared to have most to lose - those with savings in banks. The reaction was not carefully calculated or well thought out; it was no capitalist conspiracy; it was a reaction replicated around the rich world by exhausted looking finance ministers who knew their advisers were telling them they had no clue as to what would happen next.

New Orleans, Old Prejudices

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Mike Davis finds that every aspect of the response to Hurricane Katrina disaster was shaped by race and class.

The tempest which destroyed New Orleans was conjured out of tropical seas and an angry atmosphere 125 miles offshore of the Bahamas. Labelled initially as 'Tropical Depression 12' on 23 August, it quickly intensified into 'Tropical Storm Katrina'. Making landfall near Miami on 24 August, Katrina had grown into a small hurricane - 'Category 1' on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Crossing over Florida to the Gulf of Mexico where it wandered for four days, Katrina underwent a monstrous and largely unexpected transformation.

Through the Eyes of the Child

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Tony Staunton looks behind the rhetoric of 'children's rights'.

The headlines are becoming as familiar as they are phenomenal; 33,000 children die each day from preventable illnesses; at least 250 million children are in effective slavery to transnational corporations; the expansion of the global sex industry with a disproportionate increase in child abduction, with more than 1 million entering the sex trade each year, some as young as five years old.

Poverty: The Poor are Still With Us

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Despite New Labour's claims social justice and the free market are unhappy bedfellows.

Tony Blair, in a speech at the end of last year, claimed to be 'proud' of the government's achievement in its 'crusade' against social exclusion. He may have hoped we would be dazzled enough to ignore the 'achievements' of his more bloody crusade in the Middle East, but even those who opposed the Iraq war have taken up the theme. Robin Cook, writing recently in the Guardian, breezed over the carnage in Iraq to play up New Labour's record in tackling poverty and social injustice. Polly Toynbee and Johann Hari are among the left-liberal newspaper columnists plugging the same message.

Poor, Black and Left Behind

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Hurricane Ivan highlights US rulers' contempt for the black and poor - a contempt echoed by John Kerry's campaign

The evacuation of New Orleans in the face of Hurricane Ivan saw affluent white people flee the Big Easy in their SUVs, while the old and car-less - mainly black - were left behind in their below sea level shotgun shacks and ageing tenements to face the watery wrath.

Low Pay: Underbelly of the Beast

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Chanie Rosenberg looks at a new book exposing the scandal of the US working poor.

In the richest country in the world, the US, the working poor number 30 million and, with the families they struggle to support, millions more.

A low wage job in the US is one insufficient to meet the basic needs of the workers' families. But inadequate wages are only the beginning. Low wage jobs also mean few or no benefits, rigid schedules, late night shifts, unsafe and unhealthy conditions, and lack of respect. It is this 'piling on' that makes low wage jobs not just quantatively different than better paying jobs, but qualitatively different.

British Politics: A Matter of Opinion

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The latest British Social Attitudes survey contains many indicators that our strategy is correct - and a few surprises.

The National Centre for Social Research has just published the 2003/04 edition of the British Social Attitudes survey. This is the 20th report in a series that began in 1983, and over this time the report has established a reputation for itself as the authoritative source on contemporary values and attitudes in Britain.

Born Unfree and Unequal

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Capitalism's claim of promoting democracy is continually undermined by the growing gap between rich and poor.

In his speech in the House of Commons debate on war with Iraq, Tony Blair allowed himself a rather rambling excursion into what he saw as the basic reasons for the conflict. Perhaps unwittingly slapping down those of his ministerial colleagues who had likened Saddam Hussein to Hitler, he accepted that comparisons with the 1930s were not very relevant. The real battle, he said, is not between relatively rich countries, as it was then.

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