Bearach: Given: As poverty is a problem rooted in external instability, . . .


Given: As poverty is a problem rooted in external instability, the solution is simply, safety. The How is What has confounded scholars for years. Should we employ the troubled garden theory, plucking the bloom becomes the remedy and swift transport is the only means. How much soil comes with and with what our bulb will be scrubbed clean is a problem of degree, not kind. In fact, it’s a mere problem of proper solution. At this juncture, all we lack are dirty hands.


Two received truths: The self-made American rising Phoenician from the ghetto and taking her destined place at the table of plenty, a mortgage to sign, a class to climb, her world and her family to be left behind. Blake’s little chimney sweep, sweep, sweep, angelically told that the harder his labor here the greater will be his bounty up there. The self-made American and the single detached home suffer both from a lack of hands.

When the obfuscation is this high, what use are stakes?


Magritte might say this is not a clever lectern or that none of us lack dirty hands.


A cracked pipe might say concentrated poverty matters.


Why are we as yet unable to properly weigh the importance of external factors in the calculus of success (here defined as access to the good life)?! Instead we examine individual success with the same mythological lens through which we view the American home—as detached, capable of retaining independent value (merit), while weathering external metamarket forces, acting as a bastion from the siege of surrounding instability, beholden to none of its fenced-out neighbors, and serving as the root, trunk, and bloom of the American Dream.


What if the individual were not the sum of all her environmental and genetic influences, but were instead located on the other side of the equals sign?! What if temporal opportunity, and access to appropriate and abundant resources counted FAR more than inherent ability in the equation for individual merit? Even Lennon can’t.


If the middle-class hoards the metamarket and the ghetto gets the antimarket, then the only conclusion to draw, one of many, would be: the only way to create parity between individuals is to create parity between neighborhoods.

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