Gentrification and Ghost Towns
Emma Lindsay

Thank you for this! I have often thought that for me and mine (white, smart enough for free college in the 60s-’10s, eventually professionals) MERITOCRACY is the system we like because it favors us so well. It occurred to me that when/if I or my peers no longer have our kids getting into good colleges and getting good upper middle class jobs and lives we’ll be bitching as loud as anyone and claiming that the person with the job/ college spot we thought was destined to be ours/ our kid’s stole it from us via nepotism or buying their way in or even affirmative action, when it’s just that all such jobs and slots are evaporating as the 1% drive all the rest of us downward.

Also that us meritocrats with government jobs or well paid jobs, maybe in a charity or government support assisting poor people, are sort of the overseers on the plantation. We provide the bread and circuses and keep the poor from eating the rich. Whenever I volunteer with a charity or meet the many saints who are paid employees of charities I have this gestalt, especially here in the still racist South:

A large group of white college graduates with a smattering of black college grads have nice middle class jobs, administering a budget/ managing staff/volunteers to, say, build public housing, or care for orphans/foster kids, or administer personal hardship grants, etc. Who knows how much of the budget all those salaries eats up. If we just passed double the amount we spend per dwelling or year’s keep of a child or homeless veteran straight to the person being helped we might help nearly twice as many… And the staff who actually work (disclaimer: obviously not true in my field of medicine, not yet anyway) and achieve the actual goal of the group are often low wage workers. Such staff and the beneficiaries are below college level though a mix of races.

I attended an opening of a new building and realised the group organizing it had TWO paid staff in the local area, several other paid staff able to attend this dedication (at cost to organization I am certain), and had only built one such place in the past year when we need a few hundred in the area they serve.

Is the role of such groups to serve and help the displaced folk or to provide nice white collar jobs? I observe the same thing in the many charitable and political groups with paid staff.

Disclaimer: I prefer to stay home and live off a government retirement check rather than work full time as a doctor for less pay than I want, whether I am working for a for profit or nonprofit, and the charities/nonprofits I work with closely are so small scale that the administration is carried out, not always so well, by a handful of dedicated unpaid folk usually including me.

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