Moralising poverty and mistranslating equality

Kenan Malik at Pandaemonium:

The greater individuation of society in the post-Thatcher years, and the erosion of class as an expression of collective consciousness, has nevertheless made it easier to present poverty as a product more of moral failure than of social problems, the consequence of individual action rather than of structural inequities.

If debates about poverty have become warped by a longstanding view that attributes blame to the individual, debates about inequality have become distorted by a more contemporary trend: the increasing tendency to look at equality in terms of “diversity”. “When you ask them for more equality, what they give you is more diversity,” observes the American academic Walter Benn Michaels. “But a diversified elite is not made any the less elite by its diversity.”

More here.