There is a book doing the rounds at the moment which few will read but many will pretend to know well. It is Thomas Piketty's best selling Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
Here to save you (and me) the bother of reading it are ten handy phrases for bluffing on the book.
(Here, by the way, are some interesting criticisms of the book. Here, by contrast, is a lead into an article berating US Democrats for being insufficiently vigorous in their pursuit of the overturning of capitalist inequality. Which leads me to note, as a bit of an aside, that the US Communist Party is alive though may be not very well).
As I understand the thrust of the Piketty tome, it is that the relatively few people who control capital around the globe are getting richer and richer so that inequality is growing which in turn carries a warning: the peasants always, in the end, revolt. So, the few need to watch out!
For a careful discussion of the book, head to Psephizo.
Poverty is a complicated subject for the First World in which I and (it would appear) many readers live in. A recent New York headline sums up one aspect of the dilemma well:
"Changed Life of the Poor: Better Off But Far Behind"
If we measure poverty by having access to a phone (once, even in my lifetime, he lack of which was a distinguishing mark of the poor) then today everyone in NZ is better off because it is just about impossible to find someone who does not have a mobile phone (themselves, when first available in the 1980s, a very distinctive sign of the rich!). But the measure has changed. If we asked a different question, such as how many mobile phone owners have a realistic shot at studying electronic engineering or computer app software development at university, then we realise how many people are 'better off (have phone) but far behind (cannot afford to go to uni).'
Theologians sometimes talk about God's bias to the poor, something I myself agree with as I read both the prophets, the gospels, James and Revelation. Should this mean that as a voter in this year's election I should vote for the party which offers to do most for the poor?
Time today means I cannot pursue that question further, but there are many more Mondays to go this year!
However as one small contribution to answering the question, undoubtedly the Mana Party is explicitly identified with assisting the impoverished in our society. Another John Campbell TV profile is now available (thanks Caleb!), of the leader of the Mana Party, Hone Harawira and you can view it here.
Quote of the Day from the interviews:
It is part of the journey for us to change the world.