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Hunger is a key behavioral metric that should be tracked

October 17, 2011

While capitalism certainly does a decent job in the metric of producing “stuff”, it doesn’t do so well in such metrics as creating decent living standards or providing consistently secure prosperity.  The poverty rate in the United States, a disgraceful 15.1%, doesn’t begin to tell us the much greater number, certainly a majority, who are under the daily stress of holding on to their jobs or meeting very basic living requirements.  We’re a society of employees, modern day serfs, whose only real option is to offer labor services to consolidated centers of power, be they corporations or government.  Any sense of security and community is illusory as most are only months away from homelessness should they lose their job.  It’s not surprising then to see the dismal results of the recent Gallup survey on basic living standards in the United States.  Here we find that 19% of Americans didn’t have enough money to buy food at some point in the past 12 months, a level three times higher than in China.  This, let us never forget, in a world of vast technological capacity fully capable of providing decent living standards for everyone.

The corrupt patrician class of the United States has little interest in these troubles and is focused instead on metrics like corporate profitability, the stock market, competitiveness, GDP, deficits, and of course its own “global leadership” position in the world, especially versus a rising (and better fed) China.  The Chairman of Gallup, Jim Clifton, gives us an excellent demonstration of elite callousness in the release linked to above when he instructs “leaders” why hunger and shelter are important “behavioral metrics”.  Note that it’s not because of some inherent immorality or the obscure human misery it may entail; rather it’s a key leading indicator of future growth prospects and an important metric of the energy level within the population.

Key behavioral metrics such as having enough food and adequate shelter are important for leaders to track, Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton writes in his new book, The Coming Jobs War, “not only because they occur before job and GDP growth … but also because without these basic requirements, the populace doesn’t have the energy to solve its everyday problems.

This could have been written by a Roman senator, a slave owner, or indeed a cattle breeder.  Such is the state of 21st century America.

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