Reading Jack London’s experiences as a hobo at the turn of the last century in ‘The Road’ I was struck by many things not specific to just that era.
At one point London wrote of begging for food, and being turned away first from the houses of the rich, then the homes of those on a comfortable middle income. He talked of the final option, the option which he and his compatriots knew would always come through; the charity of the very poor.
Houses where the window panes were broken and stuffed full of rags; families where the children’s bellies were bloated with malnutrition; fellow destitute and homeless people; all could be counted on to help those who were also suffering. Unconditional assistance, without judgement or platitudes.
I have come across contemporary statistics that reiterate and confirm the lower level incomes give a greater percentage of their funds to those in need.
Reading the ‘Financial Times Weekend’ (it is actually not a bad newspaper by the way, in the scheme of mainstream media publications) I noticed that whilst they don’t have a sports or horoscope section, they do have a section on worthy charities and organisations to give money to (with tax breaks of course).
When my laptop went tits up in the final stage of editing one of my books, I was offered £40 for laptop repairs if I needed it, from someone on benefit ; a student friend said I could have an old one of hers, and another friend simply said that she would buy me a new one.
The wealthiest friend I had offered to sell me her old P.C, but on a monthly repayment plan rather than having the outright sum exchanging hands.
Not that I am ungrateful for the repayment plan mentioned above, especially as that is the offer I accepted, and whilst I prefer to avoid falling into a trap of stereotyping people according to their income (and my own issues) it is an interesting phenomena and one that makes me muse on the nature of accumulation of material wealth.