Poverty and Poor People’s Agency in High-Tech Capitalism

Part of the New Approaches to Religion and Power book series (NARP)


Even if the Occupy Wall Street movement has, in an astonishingly short time span, disrupted the ideological landscape by highlighting the increasing divide between the 99 percent and the 1 percent, the perception that poverty is primarily caused by personal fate or bad individual choices still remains deeply anchored in common sense. Aren’t there numerous examples that demonstrate that dropping out of college, getting pregnant, getting divorced, ending up in one of the famous female-headed families that haunt the “moral” debates on poverty, or failing to adapt to the demands of the economy actually play a role? Isn’t there an overall and ever-recurring tendency (even among the poor) to draw a sharp line between “deserving” and “undeserving” poor? It was not long ago that the first wave of Tea Party mass events was kicked off by business reporter Rick Santelli’s TV rant on February 19, 2009. While standing on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade, he denounced the government’s attempt of “subsidizing the losers’ mortgages” with public money.


Real Wage Class Formation Poor People Contingent Labor Occupy Wall Street 
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© Joerg Rieger 2013

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