Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The World We Photograph

Michael Lind, a writer for the online news blog Salon, has an interesting account up today about how the economy of the South works.

Its called Southern Poverty Pimps: The “original sin” of the Southern political class is cheap, powerless labor, and its definitely worth a thoughtful reading. 

Lind argues, essentially, that "for generations Southern economic policymakers have sought to secure a lucrative second-tier role for the South in the national and world economies, as a supplier of commodities like cotton and oil and gas and a source of cheap labor for footloose corporations.

"This strategy of specializing in commodities and cheap labor is intended to enrich the Southern oligarchy.  It doesn’t enrich the majority of Southerners, white, black or brown, but it is not intended to."

What's happening in North Carolina right now certainly bears out Lind's argument. Recently, we have seen the legislature pass laws depriving a half-million North Carolinians of Medicaid benefits. This follows over a decade of cuts in state funding for higher education, compensated for by rising tuition costs that limit access to higher education by bright, poor young people.

Policies like these, as Lind puts it, are "components of a well-thought-out economic grand strategy to permit the South, as a nation-within-a-nation in the U.S., to pimp its cheap, dependent labor for the benefit of local and foreign (non-Southern) corporations and investors."

That's the world we photograph, or at least I do, because that's the world my family (see Reunion photograph, above) lives in. 

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