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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Hardship and poverty are different. Our welfare system should recognise this | Andrew Brown

Category : Business

The rightwing instinct is that all poverty is hardship – anyone can fight their way out. But some forms of poverty can’t be dodged

The Duke of Wellington once made me cry. I was sitting in a prep school dining hall, where we also sometimes studied, and I read in our textbook a passage where he had reacted to the horrible distress among workers and peasants in Britain after the Napoleonic wars – starvation and repression that led to the Peterloo massacre. His advice was that the poor should put curry powder in their drinking water. His troops, he said, had found this a useful substitute for food when on their campaigns in India.

When I read this I was at once seized by the most choking, terrible sadness. First my throat and then the whole building smelled thick with snot in a most disgusting way. I had to rush to the lavatories and rub my face with cold water before I could breathe and stop weeping.

Life at boarding school is full of such moments, but what made this one remarkable was not just its quality of physical horror: the emotion I felt was overwhelmingly pity for the Duke because everyone would see him as heartless whereas in fact he was trying to be practical. Sometimes there is nothing to eat. Sometimes curry powder in water is the best you can do. Of course, this was also bound up in my mind with the fact that you couldn’t, in those days, get curry powder in the English provinces. I hated England.

In those days, at the Dragon school, the food could be so awful that curry powder in water would have been better. We were given milk in bottles that held a third of a pint, and were stored, in crates, without refrigeration. This meant in summer that the good milk was tinged with sourness; the bad milk was practically acid, and the worst milk had entirely separated into curds and whey. It all got drunk.

Yet this kind of physical hardship had nothing much to do with poverty. Our parents were paying good money to have us educated there and the school was not particularly heartless. It just had an ethos that paid little account to physical pleasure. There was an expectation that we should learn to endure discomfort. It was absolutely not the same as a belief that discomfort was all life would hold.

The distinction between hardship and poverty makes sense of much discussion about austerity. Hardship is an exceptional state, but poverty is a life sentence from which you can only be released on license, and can never know when. It’s very clearly illustrated by the life of Jocasta Innes, who died last week. Her Pauper’s cookbook was a bestseller in the 70s. It wasn’t in the least bit glamorous – this was before celebrity cooks – and much of the food in it was unpleasant. But it was larky, practical and full of encouragement.

She wrote it in conditions of considerable hardship: she had left one husband and two children to live with a penniless novelist and have two more children, whom she fed on a very small budget. But she had a degree from Cambridge, she had been privately educated. She knew things might get better, and they did.

The rightwing instinct is that all poverty can be reinterpreted as hardship: with sufficient energy and determination, anyone can fight their way out of it. This isn’t entirely false. In fact it’s obviously half true, and a great deal of the emotional energy of rightwing rhetoric is generated by outrage when people seem to be denying this obvious truth.

Looking back, a lot of my training in school could be understood as learning to see the world in terms of hardships that could be overcome, rather than deprivations that must be stoically endured. And this was good and useful.

None the less, there are some deprivations that simply have to be endured, some forms of poverty that can’t be dodged. Talent and luck are unequally distributed among determined strivers. Few single mothers can write bestselling books, or start a decorating business on the back of them.

So a proper welfare system would need to distinguish between poverty and hardship and apply different remedies. Water and curry powder for some: real food for others. This is certainly how welfare is supposed to function in Sweden. I suspect it is what Iain Duncan Smith is trying to do right now, with such resounding inadequacy. And perhaps it can’t be done in any really satisfying way. Perhaps the people who thought the Duke of Wellington a heartless bastard were quite right.

VIDEO: Your Money: The big benefits shake up

Category : World News

In this week’s Your Money, Declan Curry looks at how changes to the benefits system will change household income and how you could get more for your money by lending cash directly to companies.

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VIDEO: Your Money: DIY home sales and pensions

Category : Business, World News

In this week’s Your Money, Declan Curry looks at the OFT’s investigation into free online games that charge for extras, DIY house-selling and how to avoid losing track of all your work pensions.

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VIDEO: Your Money: Excessive card charges

Category : Business

This week on Your Money, Declan Curry looks at the ban on excessive credit card surcharges and the changes at the start of the new tax year

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VIDEO: Your Money: Travel compensation rights

Category : World News

In this week’s Your Money, Declan Curry asks what compensation travellers may be entitled to if their journeys are disrupted by severe weather conditions, and why friends are joining together to buy their first homes.

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VIDEO: Your Money: When things go wrong

Category : Business, World News

In this week’s Your Money, Declan Curry looks at what rights you have if a company folds or your holiday is cancelled.

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Solar Flares: Suns’ rally falls short, drop season opener – Arizona Sports

Category : Stocks


CBC.ca
Solar Flares: Suns' rally falls short, drop season opener
Arizona Sports
Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, right, of Slovenia, drives against Golden State Warriors forward Carl Landry, left, in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Phoenix. The Warriors won 87-85.(AP Photo/Paul Connors)
NBA: Clippers send Griz to 12-game opener losing streak; Warriors win lateGMA News
Monte Poole: Golden State Warriors are Stephen Curry's teamSan Jose Mercury News
Warriors 2012-2013 roster analysisComcast SportsNet Bay Area
Sports Chat Place

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VIDEO: Your Money: Keeping fuel bills down

Category : Business

In this week’s Your Money, Declan Curry looks at rising electricity prices and takes a look at ethical finance.

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