Comments on Economic Security for All

Doug Dowd
Over thirty years ago, along with a sociologist, a political scientist and a psychologist, I taught a course called "Why Are There So Many Poor People in a Rich Society like the United States?" Would that Wade Hudson's book had been availab le then. That course was offered just as poverty in the USA was being given long-overdue public recognition; this book appears just as spreading and deepening poverty is being pushed toward new and terrible depths by a government careening into harsh cons ervatism. Not only does the author provide an ample explanation and the data of poverty. He also puts forth a program that combines clarity, desirability and political doability with comprehensiveness -- an analysis and a program, in short, that can and I hope very much will be undertaken by a broad variety of groups whose definition of the good society has "economic security for all" at its center.

Roma Guy
Economic Security for All is a serious, transforming personal and socio-economic effort and strategy to end poverty in one of this planet's wealthiest nations, the United States. And, Mr. Hudson's program is not mere wishful thinking or the latest in science fiction writing. It is a facutally based step-by-step program to end poverty within the current socio-economic parameters.

A fantastic, readable and challenging book for students of history, political science, urban studies, health and human services. My students meet Mr. Hudson's chapter on "Personal and Social Transformation" and follow him through "Poverty's History" and find inspiration and engagement in an organizing vision and practical program in "The National Economic Security Program: A 10-Point Bill of Rights."

Is it feasible beyond a reasonable doubt that the people of the USA could end poverty in a decade or two? For Mr. Hudson the answer is a resounding "Yes," both manageable and possible. The path to this human endeavor rests with personal transformation and investing in a very practical and affirming societal objective.

Ronnie Dugger
I was able to begin reading your book in Providence, and continued today on my return to Cambridge. I congratulate you. This is a noble project, undertaking to reason out how to end poverty in the US, and the writing so far, in my opinion, is clear, commonsensical, and unrhetorical. I have only read the first two units, and the NESP outline, and your passages about the antipoverty elements in my "Altered States" in the Nation last August. I was moved, Wade, by your account of your life and works.

V.A. Carlisle, Jr.
Excellent, well-researched, well-written, persuasive. I’m pessimistic, figure the power elite/s would amplify police state features before allowing their profits to be seriously disturbed. Also the necessity for worldwide organizing seems d aunting. Still, one must fight the good fight.

I am particularly interested in your biographical material. Looks like a good life well-lived.

The “Swedish model” of social democracy needs to become well known in this society. The problem is getting the information out....

For the world, I wouldn’t excise your specific spiritual ideas in the book. The book is your personal statement as well as a societal critique. Hopefully it will be of at least genuine historical value one day, indicating elements of the mind-set(s) invol ved in the movement for a National Economic Security Program....

I feel very good about Chapter Ten and appreciate your quoting of Martin Luther King and Ghandi. Ghandi’s ideas are basic to the Martin Luther King, Jr. we know. Whether we could or should duplicate the vision of the Indian saint in our lives is a question....

I think the 15 Step Strategy would be better if the time element is not laid out, e.g., “nine months prior to the congress,”... I am reminded, not unfavorably, of Edward Bellamy’s book a hundred years ago that led to the formation of Nationalist Clubs whe rein people talked about restructuring society. Looking Backward was the book, as I remember.

...The book is well-written, well-researched, explicit, and I would hope it becomes well known and well read. The challenge is to get it known and distributed. Your orientation deserves discussion and debate and comparison with competing orientations. Sincerely.

Tony Dunn
A wonderful book. It repeats some of the same arguments I've been making for years. If I had it in me to write a book I would have written nearly the same book. Same facts--same style--same call to action. My only criticism is that your book doesn't appeal to self-interest enough. I hold an MBA and when I talk to others like me about such issues I always shape the conversation around their interests. Why should we care about the poor? I tell them the "hell with the poor," but if we knock the bottom out of the income distribution we all necessarily must move down a notch. It's kind of like kicking the bottom block out from a stack of toy wooden blocks; all of the others just fall---ka-chunk. Kiss your pay raise goodbye.

I would suggest that you de-emphasize both poverty and the poor in your book. Shorten the title from "Economic Security for All: How To End Poverty in the United States" to just, "Economic Security for All." Of course the only way to gain economic security for all is to end poverty, but the main focus must be the economic security. We all need it---MBAs, poor folks; all of us. By concentrating on poverty and the poor I'm afraid you'll only attract the sort of elite do-gooders that you speak of in Chapter Ten. Everyone else won't really see what the book has to do with them. Poverty and the poor are so caricatured in the media that nobody believes these people are anything like themselves--including the poor. I grew up poor, on welfare, and when I was young I always believed the poor were something very different than myself and my family. By focusing upon poverty and the poor you will not even gain support from poor folks themselves.

By drawing an poverty line you are placing an income division through the population precisely where it does the most good for opponents of your ideas. You are shooting yourself in the foot. In chapter twelve where the line is drawn at the top 5 or 10 percent is a much better idea. There are those in that income class and then there are the rest of us. This must be the right place to draw the line because doing so makes opponents of economic security scream bloody murder and hysterically howl about "class warfare" whereas if you divide us by some sort of poverty line they are likely to applaud your good sense. It seems clear to me that the overwhelming striking feature of the income distribution is the difference between the top few percent and the rest of us. Differences among the rest of us are tiny in comparison. Drawing a poverty line in the remaining population is just inventing differences. It is a time-tested technique for the perpetuation of economic insecurity.

Rather than talk about poverty and the poor you should cut all references to both in your book and in you campaign and just talk about us when we are down on our luck or circumstance. Don't label us as the poor. We are still just us. Being low on funds doesn't change that and we don't need a special label. People have to recognize themselves in any campaign so why discuss some alien population called "the poor" when even the folks you are talking about don't see themselves as belonging to that strange group? In any case the whole business is a sort of invention. There ain't no such thing as the poor--there is only us.

By the way, you seem to like Dylan song quotes. Here is one from a paper I wrote where I was making the argument that there is no difference between the poor and ourselves because the poor are us. Anyone who has lost their income for a few months knows pretty much there isn't any separate population called the poor. There is just us. You may want to use the quote in the sections where you are ta lking about either the so-called poor or the self-important intellectual elite. It is one of my favorites:

"I ain't different from anyone
It ain't no use a-talking to me
It's just the same as talking to you."

I Shall Be Free No.10
Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964)

Thanks for the insightful work.

Tony Dunn

Larry Kisinger
I took the liberty of sending most of the material in your book mailing on to Jerry Brown last week, suggesting he might be interested in using your book as a premium in this marathon or the next, and/or having you on his show re the book, etc....

I'm slowly making my way through your book, and I think it's very good, and should be used for a series of study groups.

Arline Prigoff
From what I have seen, "Economic Security News and Review" is an important source for me, and so is your Website, to which I responded. Please put me on your list, and please bill me for a subscription to the Newsletter.

Thanks for making these resources available.

Dr. Arline Prigoff
Division of Social Work
California State University, Sacramento

Harry Prochaska
You have written a very courageous book, courageous in the sense that after all of the background material developed in it, you come to simple, direct ways to address the problem of poverty. Your opening chapters give the utter logic of the possibility of ending poverty, and your "program" is simple in the sense of direct action on the basic issues involved: certainly not simple in terms of the long, devoted effort of people focused towards the goal.

I have read Chomsky's 501: The Conquest Continues, wherein he marshals enormous amounts of data and writes brilliantly, but as I read your book also, Chomsky observes and writes from outside the problem and sometimes his satire and irony diffuse the impact of his conclusions. Your write from inside the problem with a clearly sympathetic, democratic spirt. You speak for people rather than about them.

I went through your book quickly and will return to it and may have more to say after a slower, more careful reading. In the meantime, congratulations.

Sue Wheaton
I started the book yesterday and find it hard to put down. It's informative and beautifully written. I also liked finding out about your early life and what you've been doing for the past 30 years by reading the preface. Congratulations on a great work.

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