Milestone 1: Power Dynamic of Rich and Poor in London

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Power Dynamic of Rich and Poor in London

by Grant Zahorsky

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some info here

I. Introduction

a. Society of London as it is today

b. Wealth distribution of the country

c. Power dynamic between both sides of the wealth spectrum

Some basic psychology of people

II. Rich

a. Famously rich people

b. Royal family and their wealth.

c. Rich neighborhoods.

III. Poor

a. Living conditions.

b. Reasons why people are homeless.

c. Government policies and taxation?

IV. Contrast

a. Main differences.

b. Exclusion and ousting from society.

c. Lack of help and care for homeless people.

d. People who are helping.

e. What to do to help.

V. Conclusion


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Section 1: Background

As with many cultures, the social aspects of England have changed dramatically over time. The first major social change occurred around 4000 BC when the continent of Europe and surrounding areas switched from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one more centered around farming and agriculture. There are not many details as to what specific changes occurred, however, due to evidence from around 3000 BC, there suggests that the habitation and obligations of each person underwent major, yet gradual, changes. The next major social development came with the Romans around the year 54 BC. These were developments that did not occur right away but were much slower. The ruling class was replaced but many minor ideas that would alter the society did not come until later. One of the most major advancements was the importance of women which came with Cartimandua and Boudica. One of the next major changes was the power dynamic between the rich and the poor. Only the best and greatest activities, items, places, etc. were reserved for the rich. This had always been a problem, but when city-dwelling and royalty became more common, so did the unequal distribution of wealth. Since then, an unequal economy in England has only gotten worse and has been skewed more than ever.

The rich people of England are few but carry most of the weight of the economy. On average, households in the bottom ten percent of the population earn a net income of £9,644 while the top ten percent earn almost nine times more than the poor at £83,875. The most drastic part of this distribution comes into play by looking at the 9th richest people’s income. Those top nine earn 61 percent of the income of the top ten percent. Then inequality is even more pronounced by investigating the original incomes after taxes and bills and any other fees. The original incomes of the bottom ten percent are averaged at £4,436. The top ten percent earn a 24 times more averaging at £107,937. Not only are the statistics dramatic, but so are the living conditions of both lifestyles. Walking through London, it is incredibly obvious where the wealth lies especially because these areas are intertwined with each other. One can walk in Camden or Islington and be in two of the poorest areas in London, and then walk through one London’s richest areas no more than 20 minutes later and not from there, is one of the most famous and wealthiest places in England, Buckingham Palace. Surprisingly, the members of the Royal Family don't make it into the top 25 richest people of London. Individually, they don't make more than £500,000 which is what the Queen is worth. However, even though they don't earn the most amount of money, the Royal Family has always lived in the most extreme wealth with the absolute best privileges. In earlier ages, the Kings and Queens of England ate off of gold plates, used gold utensils, sat on gold chairs, and had crowns with the most extravagant jewels on them. This has created immense inequality, especially during the era of surfs and peasants. This schism in the distribution of wealth and power caused much anger among the lower class which was then translated into violence in some areas of England, and sadly, that same schism today is starting to make its appearance once more.

20 years ago, unemployment made up less than one third of the income from the bottom fifth of households in England. Today, unemployment makes up more than half of that income. This means that any shift in the economy, makes the bottom fifth incredibly sensitive to it and make it more vulnerable than ever before. This vulnerability also affects the children of these households. At least one third of children now live in a household with unemployed parents. Any other child that lives in a household still on the border of unemployment, could be affected by this shift along with their parents. At the same time, those that already live in the workless households, will not be affected as much by a shift. Unfortunately, not all of the unemployed are able to live under a roof. Now, more than 250,000 people in England are homeless according to Shelter. They must live out on the streets of London and do their best to get money in any way possible. This leaves them out in the busiest parts of the city begging for money with only the clothes on their back or anything they find in the trash or on the ground. The single biggest cause for this is eviction from rented homes. If a person who cannot pay their rent, they get evicted and if that person does not have a job, they end up on the streets. This is both sad and puts that person into an awful situation as most of these people are good people and just want to get back up on their feet. The worst part of it is that even if they have experience, the longer it takes for a job to accept them and the dirtier and less attractive they get. This makes getting a job even more difficult because most companies want a well put together person that is clean, which is incredibly hard to accomplish as someone who is homeless.

For these reasons, a huge power dynamic is set up where the businessman feels more “important” than the homeless person. The homeless person might feel as though as they have no purpose like the businessman just because their lifestyles are completely different, especially because the businessman might be the one who hires people and they are who the homeless person wants to me. Without trying, the businessman, and even just bystanders, excludes and ousts homeless people from society and walk right by them on their phones looking down while paying no mind to the person who has lost everything sitting on the corner of a street in London. Fortunately though, some people are helping. Some people have started organizations to help feel the homeless such as “Spitalfields Crypt Trust”. This charity was set in place to help those suffering by feeding them or providing them with shelter and clothes. They also help rehabilitate those that may have an addiction. There are also countless homeless shelters and churches around London helping get homeless people off of the streets and back in their own homes and jobs. Even though the social aspects of England and the world will always be changing, and there will always be a huge power dynamic, hopefully these companies and volunteers can help shrink the gap between poverty and the wealthy.

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