1) Poverty is mostly about the disparity in wealth between the morbidly rich and everyone else.
2) This disparity is due more to policy than to inherent economic forces.
3) A huge component of that is institutionalized bigotry.
5) The modern middle class was created by policies enacted in the 1940s-1960s. It's being destroyed by policies begun in the Reagan era.
They were *all* wrong.
It isn't fate. It's policy.
Theory without fact is bullshit.
The necessary data on long-term economic reality wasn't available until ~ 2010. Thomas Piketty has managed to amass enough data to take a stab at understanding how economics really works.
7) Most people (at least, most Americans) have no idea what the term "capitalism" means.
Hint: If you work for a living as an employee of someone else, you're not a "capitalist".
If you support capitalism it means you favor the banks, the people to whom you pay rent, or the people you work for.
That doesn't mean you're a socialist. Those aren't the only two options. There isn't a word for people like you and me, other than "laborers."
We used to be called "serfs" or "tenant farmers." Or sometimes, "slaves."
r > g
Write that down. It matters.
"g" is the general rate of growth of the economy as a whole.
r is greater than g.
When left alone, the rich get richer at a rate faster than the economy grows.
This isn't inevitable. Tax policy, education, public spending, things like that can reverse--or exacerbate--this trend.
Starting in the 1980s, many "advanced" nations killed those policies.
But be aware: racism, sexism, and other bigotries are a big part of how this works as well.
It isn't inevitable. It's policy. We can change that.
But we can only keep that power if we use it.
One advantage of the medieval guild system is that an Apprentice could become a Journeyman and eventually a Master, having his or her own business. Serfs could become capitalists.
Tax policy changes whether the gap between the rich and the non-rich increases.