Thinking About the Poor   /   Fall 2014   /    Thinking About The Poor

Falling

William McPherson

The Art of Falling #3, 2007, by Nathalie Labaki; courtesy of the artist.

I noticed that the truly poor often look weary.

The rich are all alike, to revise Tolstoy’s famous words, but the poor are poor in their own particular ways.

Any reasonably intelligent reader could blow that generalization apart in the time it takes to write it. But as with most generalizations, a truth lies behind it. Ultimately, what binds the rich together is that they have more money, lots more. For one reason or another, the poor don’t have enough of it. But poverty doesn’t bind the poor together as much as wealth and the need to protect it bind the rich. If it did, we would hear the rattle of tumbrels in the streets. One hears mutterings, but the chains have not yet been shed.

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