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April 11, 2016



While i'm sure he's entirely correct, he's still illustrating that there is a huge chasm between journalists and the readership of the papers that they write for. As with the Mail's headline today, this problem isn't something that 99% of their readership ever needs to worry about, but it gets published anyway, in the Mail's case as a front page headline.

Luis Enrique

I think whether or not you are trapped in a situation is a different matter to whether or not that situation shapes your perceptions. I am not sure it is narcissistic moralizing or just the idea that the word trapped comes with the unspoken connotation of being trapped in a bad place and also maybe deserving of sympathy. You are right, though, it's rarely easy to tear up your roots, especially once your family is embedded somewhere - that's not just about luxury lifestyle.

Deviation From The Mean

If one can be 'trapped' by wealth then let the motto of the left be, "we aim to free you!".

People who are trapped tend to want to be freed, ultimately!

What this article misses, and it can't miss, is that the 'trapped' Middle Classes know that they are in a very privileged position in relation to others and do everything they can to ensure that privilege is maintained, so they constantly thank their lucky stars they are trapped and develop an entire ideology and science to justify and apologise for their trappings.

So yeah, we are partly a product of our backgrounds. But as someone once said, the point is to change the world.

Incidentally I don't think the chorus of derision on twitter is leftism or narcissistic moralizing but a reaction by folk at the sight of the privileged tax dodging hoi polloi complaining at their lot in life. This may not be the reaction that ticks the precise theoretical intersection demanded of by conceited left liberalism but I think it is fully understandable on almost every level.

Jonathan Allum

Isn't this the point made over a century ago by Oscar Wilde in "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" ?

gastro george

It's never a pretty sight, people complaining about being "trapped by wealth" - it's pretty much the same as being trapped by your racist or sexist "heritage".

You can either be un-self-aware, in which you deserve no sympathy, or you can be self-aware and do things to remedy the situation - and being rich you are in the enviable position of being able to do something about it.

The rest is just crocodile tears.

Dave Timoney

The term "poverty trap" emerges in the late-60s as a critique of the perverse disincentives of benefits. In Europe, it is taken up both by leftists concerned by the state's "drugging" of the proles and by rightists who despise welfare and (in the US) civil rights. By the 80s, this marginal idea became mainstream as part of neoliberal orthodoxy: people lack purpose without attainable financial goals so benefits are debilitating.

Charles Moore's contribution - the wealth trap - is interesting because its suggests that conservatives have internalised this logic to the point of fearing that acts of "kindness", such as the gift bestowed by Cameron's mum, might now carry the risk of spiritual corrosion. To hear Moore criticise Cameron for being "out of touch" over how many people pay inheritance tax should remind us that "checking your privilege" is not about humility but correctly valuing your portfolio.

Robert Cottrell

One can reliably exit wealth by one's own choice. One cannot reliably exit poverty by one's own choice. So these are not comparable "traps". "Addicted" to wealth might be a better phrase, taking into account the examples that you give. And wealth does not "trap you into a distorted view of the world" — unless you think that there is an undistorted view of the world available to, say, middle-income people. Generally speaking wealth gives you access to better information and to better informed people.


"- If you grow up in a rich family, you regard an expensive lifestyle as normal and so need a high income to fund it. Worse still, you might feel the need to impress a demanding father."

Given this as an example of an alternative type of argumentation , I think I may as well just stick with the " narcissistic moralizing that passes for leftism ".


D. Cameron disagrees


I think the problem here is unearned income or rent...


Paul Mason disagrees ...


Connect Hcb

Trapped by wealth or rather the lack of it or at times the urge to acquire more of it is perhaps the primary force that has shaped the current global economic system. And this puts the workers in what has rightly been called as the "rat race". If a worker who is living paycheck to paycheck stops racing she will be in deep trouble in no time. Capitalists have no such worry but they would still need to protect their capital from erosion and hence would need to constantly find opportunities to invest and grow their capital. It is so very important for workers to move in the direction of being able to eventually quit the rat race. Otherwise they run a huge risk. Here are some more thoughts on this - http://random-reflections-thoughts-blog.blogspot.in/2015/09/why-working-towards-quitting-rat-race.html

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