Saturday, June 24, 2023

Policing our way to safety: when inequality devolves to civic collapse


Canada police defund inequality homelessness poverty unaffordability Toronto opulence decadence safety

Toronto is about to elect a new mayor, and with it an opportunity to chart a new course toward equality

Our last visit to Sudan was in 2017. We visited family in Khartoum and Omdurman, enjoying the long desert nights of conversation, laughter, music, and storytelling. We took my sons exploring to see the incredibly well preserved and seemingly never visited pharaonic temples, pyramids, and hieroglyphs of Meroë and Karima. We swam in the Nile in Port Sudan. We saw our ancestral home of Atbara. At that time, I knew in my soul it would be our last time in Sudan for a long while. The writing was on the wall, inequality would soon devolve into chaos.

In the capital you’d see the fall out from the genocide in Darfur and the failed-state of South Sudan. Dozens of small orphaned boys wandering in tight groups, gathering garbage to burn for warmth when night fell, a look of bewilderment on their faces, stunned by the sheer magnitude of their own poverty. Girls of the same age were nowhere to be seen, leaving a dark shadow on the imagination of anyone who dared wonder where they were. Contrast this to the gleaming white marble of the Presidential Palace on the Nile, the convoys of Mercedes G-Wagons, the banquets of opulence and decadence. I had never been so absolutely sure of the catastrophe of danger to come as I was then; the inequality had gone too far, and it would cause everything to burn.

Inequality is a powerfully destabilizing force that cannot and will not coexist with safety. There is a limit on how far the gap can widen before a sinkhole opens and everything falls in. Sudan is an extreme and violent example; we also see inequality devolve into civic collapse in slower motion, for example with the donut-holing of Detroit in which the city economically imploded from the downtown outwards.

The affordability crisis threatens to see Toronto repeat this pattern.  (more...)

Policing our way to safety: when inequality devolves to civic collapse

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