Posts Tagged ‘unemployment’

Mountaintop-removal-600x427

Special mention

163288_600 163208_600

ap161259880240

Back in 2010, when I first watched The Wire, I was struck by the fact that David Simon had done an amazing job narrativizing the ravages of capitalism without depicting capital itself.

Or perhaps better: capital is the abstract, ghostly presence of much of what transpires in the worlds of politics, drugs, policing, and international trade (through season 3). The capitalists themselves exist mostly just off-screen (except, perhaps, for short appearances by “The Greek”) but the logic of capital (its calculative rationality and homogenizing economistic project) can be felt throughout the various spheres of economic and social life that characterize life in Baltimore.

And so it is with the current situation in the real Baltimore: capital is the abstract, ghostly presence that has created a tinderbox of segregation, poverty, and unemployment that was lit on fire by the recent death of Freddie Gray.

What’s interesting, at least to me, is the fact that precisely that idea—of the specter of capital—that has surfaced in some of the recent commentary on the clashes between Baltimore’s citizens and the police.

So, we have Alyssa Rosenberg expressing her worries about our Wire-induced fatalism and then concluding that “The Greek and global capitalism will never die, but at least there will be Jameson at the bar.”

More seriously, there’s Baltimore Orioles Chief Operating Officer John Angelos, son of owner Peter Angelos, responding to local sports-radio broadcaster Brett Hollande and offering his own explanation of why people have taken to the streets:

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

OK, it’s not just the shipping of jobs to China and other “third-world dictatorships.” It’s also the decline of unions, the use of new worker-displacing technologies, the increasing importance of finance, and much more.

In other words, it’s the “whole damn system” that has created an economy of extraction for a tiny minority at the top and an economy of exclusion for a large portion of the working-class in Baltimore and across the United States. What we are witnessing, then, are the effects of capital that is operating in the background—in the real world just as in The Wire—just off-screen.

USA-POLICE-BALTIMORE-EQUALITY

source

While relative calm has returned to the streets of Baltimore, because of the curfew, the underlying socioeconomic problems haven’t disappeared overnight.

Far from it. The neighborhood in which Freddie Gray was killed, Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park, is profoundly segregated (97 percent black), poor (35.4 percent of households live in poverty, and 51.2 percent have incomes less than $25,000), and unemployed (at a rate of 24.2 percent).

As Jana Kasperkevic explains,

After the unrest in Baltimore is over, the clean-up might get rid of the debris, but the inequality will remain.

162838_600

Special mention

tumblr_nim02zqGHe1rn944io1_500 162606_600

www.usnews

Special mention

162646_600 162696_600

chinese_labor_rights

Special mention

Toles-9-3 53387234-1e75-49f9-81cf-c70ef7a41171-620x420

capitalism-dreamCancelled.flickr.chrisDevers

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch [ht: sm],

JEFFERSON CITY • Spence Jackson, spokesman for the late state Auditor Tom Schweich, apparently believed he would face unemployment in the wake of his boss’ suicide last month. And that, according to a note Jackson left, was the reason he took his own life Friday.

Jackson left a suicide note saying he couldn’t take “being unemployed again,” before shooting and killing himself Friday, Jefferson City police said Tuesday.