Saturday, December 25, 2010

Words for Us All to Remember...

"Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"
Jacob Marley
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Victorian England At The Time of Dickens' A Christmas Carol

1.  Only 20% of the children in London had ANY schooling
2.  80% of the population in England was "working class"
3.  The average domestic servant worked 80 hours a week
4.  working class children were commonly employed to work in coal mines as young as 3 years of age and usually died before age of 25, even girls
Mother bides at home, she is troubled with bad breath, and is sair weak in her body from early labour. I am wrought with sister and brother, it is very sore work; cannot say how many rakes or journeys I make from pit's bottom to wall face and back, thinks about 30 or 25 on the average; the distance varies from 100 to 250 fathom. I carry about 1 cwt. and a quarter on my back; have to stoop much and creep through water, which is frequently up to the calves of my legs." (Isabella Read, 12 years old, coal-bearer, testimony gathered by Ashley's Mines Commission 1842)
girl dragging coal
The average life of a lower class working girl:
The life of the coster-girls is as severe as that of the boys. Between four and five in the morning they have to leave home for the markets, and sell in the streets until about nine. Those that have more kindly parents, return then to breakfast, but many are obliged to earn the morning's meal for themselves. After breakfast, they generally remain in the streets until about ten o'clock at night; many having nothing during all that time but one meal of bread and butter and coffee, to enable them to support the fatigue of walking from street to street with the heavy basket on their heads. In the course of a day, some girls eat as much as a pound of bread, and very seldom get any meat, unless it be on a Sunday. (London Labour and the London Poor, Henry Mayhew, 1861)
workhouse for the poor in England
child labor textile factories
working class children
more working class
working class homeless
working class girl England

American Poverty Today
1.  17% of Americans are in the poverty level today, we have the third largest poverty rate out of all the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development signees, only Turkey and Mexico are below us
2.  United States has above-average income inequality along with Poland, Mexico and Turkey. CEOs of large US companies make more money in an average day than American workers make in a year.
3.  The United States has below average life expectancy out of OECD countries right above the Czech Republic - average wealthy white woman will live 81.1 years, poor black man will live average 66.9 years
4.  We are third to last place in OECD countries in child mortality rates only beating MExico and Turkey

American poverty
Poorest Countries in the World
Look here for a list of the 10 poorest countries in the world.
South Africa

We could not embed these videos due to copyright issues. We can however link you to the what is in our opinion the finest version ever made of A Christmas Carol. Alaistair Sims stars as Ebenezer Scrooge. We will link all the segments. Enjoy!

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:
Part 6:
Part 7:
Part 8:
Part 9:

Merry Christmas!

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