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View Diary: The Social Contract (54 comments)

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  •  I appreciate your empathy (2+ / 0-)
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    elginblt, No one gets out alive

    I've also had some experience with informal settlements. One point I might make is that in America, with the quality of discarded materials available, and the quality of the natural environment, informal settlements here probably would have the potential to be of a very different character than those we see in the 3rd world. The poor just don't have the ability to build them here. Granted, they would be unsafe, to some degree, but then so is much of government housing. Which is worse, the drug/gang infested environments we force the poor to raise children in, or the risk that the housing they might build for themselves could possibly collapse. Hard to say. Many informal settlement communities develop economies that aren't so different from what we think of as normal society. Many even have bank accounts. Often, the housing is actually built by those who know about construction, etc. Let's think also about the Quakers. The point being that we don't allow the poor to pull themselves up by their bootstraps in ways that mankind found natural for millions of years, and that comes with obligations to the poor to accommodate them for giving up those freedoms, IMO. I've been privy to the construction of informal structures as well as other building projects for the poor. Average people can do a lot more with their own hands than we give them credit for sometimes.

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