Home / paternalism / Business Insider tries to kick off the people’s revolution

Business Insider tries to kick off the people’s revolution


Not on purpose. What BI really did was run one of those Poor people could be wealthy if they’d get off their asses, articles. The purpose of such articles is not to make poor people roll up their sleeves and visit a little Ca ira on the aristos. Neither is it to help poor people improve their lives. The articles are meant to assure BI’s target audience that the minimum wage doesn’t need to go up, poor people just need to pull on those bootstraps, tighten that belt and sleep when they’re dead. At least until someone figures out how to get some work out of the dead.

Today’s infographic is from InvestmentZen, and it explains that even though accumulating wealth while living on minimum wage is extremely difficult, it is possible with some adjustments.

For example, people can adjust quite well to life with one kidney. Yes, it’s not technically legal to sell them in the U.S., yet. But with a little ingenuity you can find a way to come to an understanding with a wealthy person that results in one of your kidneys winding up in their body and some of their money winding up in your hand.

It’s easy to tell the article is going to be a doozy because the Visual Capitalist – which sounds like a totally legit occupation – who wrote the intro tosses in a caveat.

We think that this is an interesting premise for people of all income levels to learn from. That said, it’s also worth noting that this infographic assumes that the person on minimum wage is quite flexible with their living conditions and time. For a single parent or for someone supporting an ill family member, circumstances are considerably more difficult.

Or you’re part of a two-parent family but your partner or child can’t move. Or perhaps you’re not in the best of health and rely on friends or family members to care for you. But for everyone else it’s time to move, as the graphic in the Tweet up top indicates. The graphic also supports my theory that the folks at InvestmentZen gave zero thought to this little project beyond seeing how much condescending shit disguised as advice could be crammed into a set of graphics.

Start with the statement that people who earn a minimum wage and live in expensive cities can’t get wealthy, therefore they need to move to one of 10 cheap cities. Then consider the fact that IZ is headquartered in San Francisco and telling most of the people who make their lives livable to hit the road.

Leaving aside what would happen if everyone who earns minimum wage in an expensive city moved to one of the ten listed, telling a poor person that moving is the solution to their problems does nothing except announce that the person offering the advice will need a seat in a tumbril come the revolution.

Here’s telling a person on minimum wage to move with all the blanks filled in:

Without taking time off from your current job because you can’t afford it, get a job in the place you intend to move to. Then, still without taking time off, find a place to live. Acquire from somewhere the damage deposit plus first month’s rent and whatever it takes to turn on the lights, heat/AC, water. If necessary, find someone to sublet your current place. Then get a vehicle capable of holding you and your possessions and making the trip from where you live now, to Cheapsville. If you rent the vehicle you’ll have to find away to return it and get back to your new home, otherwise you’ll probably take a hit for the one-way trip. If it takes more than a day go get there, I guess you’ll have to sleep in the car or van. Bon Voyage!

And that’s assuming the person wants to move. IZ deals with people who might be reluctant to leave familiar surroundings, people or even a job they enjoy by asking them if they want to be wealthy, or make excuses? Well then.

There are nine more of these things. However, the full horror is at the link and I can’t take much more. But here’s some obligatory foodscolding.

Eat the rich. But only the free range ones.
Eat the rich. But only the free range ones.

It’s so nice of IZ to give people who earn minimum wage permission to eat dinner with the boss. That’s just as helpful and well considered as the advice to buy food in bulk after they’ve told people to get rid of their car, buy a bike and to move within biking distance of their place of employment. Better yet get a job at a grocery store and make a little living space out of shipping pallets!

There’s even an inspirational malnutrition anecdote. According to Musk, when he was 17 and living in Canada he decided to see if he could live on $1 of food a day for a month, and he did.

Presented as advice to poor people, the expurgated version of an anecdote that may well be true will really inspire the creeps who get off on monitoring the eating habits of poor people. Not only can they confidently assert that people can live on less than a dollar’s worth of food a day because Musk did; they can claim that poor people who insist on eating a dollar or more of food a day are gluttons who’d rather eat than become rich. Add some whining about their taxes and a few non-informed comments about diabetes, and they’ll probably need a brief nap to recover.

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