At a former butcher’s shop, stickers applied to the windows show a packed meat counter and give the impression that business is booming. Across the street, another empty unit has been given a makeover to look like a thriving office supply shop.
Locals are unimpressed.
Local councils in Northern Ireland have painted fake shop fronts to hide the economic hardship being felt in towns and villages near the golf resort where G8 leaders will meet this month.
Northern Ireland’s government has spent 2 million pounds tackling dereliction over the past two years. Almost a quarter of these funds were freed up in anticipation of Britain hosting the annual Group of Eight (G8) summit on June 17-18.
A dog stretches during his walk in front of a fake shop in Belcoo, Ireland on June 3, 2013. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
the thing about this particular brand of low-key wealth is that it can lead to a false sense of self, on both a micro and a macro level. Consumption is still consumption even if it’s less conspicuous. Class may be harder to see here, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Mark Zuckerberg’s still a billionaire, even if he’s wearing a hoodie and jeans. And if you don’t feel or look rich, you don’t necessarily feel the same sense of obligation that a traditional rich person does or should: Noblesse oblige is, after all, dependent on a classical idea of who is and is not the nobility. As that starts to fall away, obligation — to culture, to the future, to each other — begins to disappear, too.
While we debate the travails of some of the world’s most privileged women, most women are up against the wall. According to the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, women make up just under half of the national workforce, but about 60 percent of the minimum-wage workforce and 73 percent of tipped workers. In the New York area, a full 95 percent of domestic workers are female. Female-dominated sectors such as retail sales, food service, and home health care are some of the fastest-growing fields in the new economy, and even in those fields, women earn less; women in the restaurant industry earn 83 cents to a man’s dollar.
This is where most women spend their time, not atop the Googleplex. This is where feminists should be spending their time, too.
If you love eating or cooking food, eat at Applebees (or a comparable restaurant like Chili’s) regularly or sometimes, buy produce from a supercenter, buy produce at all, think fresh produce is too expensive, are interested in the folks who work in food service, or are interested in labor law, READ THIS BOOK.
I just finished The American Way of Eating and am obviously eager to spread the word about it.