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American favela

The BBC has a short piece on improvised shantytowns in Los Angeles, set up by people who have lost their homes in the subprime mortgage collapse.

These people aren’t junkies or mental patients: these were homeowners a few months ago! If you listen to the piece, a lot of them lost their homes, not specifically because of the collapse of the mortgage market, but because of illness and lack of health coverage, job instability, and a whole raft of reasons that are probably intrinsic to the current US economic and political system.

The economic’s editor of the UK’s Guardian newspaper has an opinionated take on the whole thing: America was conned. I think I would agree: privatized healthcare, the war in Iraq and now the subprime crisis have all been ways of channeling immense amounts of money from the middle-class to large businesses and the wealthy.

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