I’ve been fortunate enough to never have experienced poverty on a personal level but the global financial crisis has certainly brought the topic to mind more than once over the course of the last couple of weeks. A segment of my Intro to Public Relations class focuses on the history of PR and as luck would have it, I happened to cover that topic at the height of the global financial crisis. Having just covered the industrial revolution, the robber barons, and the social injustices of that time period in class, I can’t help but to examine the current financial crisis in light of those events.
There’s been a lot of talk of another great depression lately. We’ve been bombarded with news of increasing unemployment and inflation rates, a global economic slowdown, major bank collapses and even national bankruptcies.
The gap between the rich and the poor seems to be growing dramatically again, just like it was during the industrial revolution. The middle class feels trapped in the middle of this global mess and is angry at overpaid CEOs and corrupt politicians who’ve been compromising their financial future through irresponsible actions and policies. Replace the CEOs and politicians with the robber barons (i.e. the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts) and again, it is easy to draw parallels to the industrial revolution. Back then, it was the muckrakers who drew attention to these social injustices by writing books, newspaper and magazine articles designed to expose the oftentimes unbearable conditions people lived in. Nowadays it is bloggers who are uniting in a concerted effort to raise awareness of social problems such as global poverty. After all, isn’t this the point of initiatives such as Blog Action Day?
There's plenty of people living in poverty right now who need our voice, but there's also plenty of people who for the first time in their lives find themselves at the brink of poverty due to the events of the last couple of weeks/months. I want to include them in this post. Unfortunately, I think the threat of poverty has become a lot more real to a lot more people lately.