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How the Other Half Lives

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“In the begging, the tenant-house became a real blessing to that class of industrious poor whose small learning limited their expenses and whose employment in workshops, stores, or about the warehouse and thoroughfares render a near residence of much importance (Riis 7).” The tenement were made to help the needed, however the wealthy only care for money and not the people. This is show by the high rent and poor living quality. Riis found this out first hand (Riis 171-192). He shared this within the book How the Other Half Lives. In the introduction of the book Riis opens with the following quote “Long ago it was said that 'one half of the world does not know how the other half lives.' That was true then. It did not know because it did not care. The half that was on top cared little for the struggles, and less for the fate, of those who were underneath, so long as it was able to hold them there and keep its own seat.(Riis 5)" Riis was trying to get the point that the circumstances the deprived were living in were immoral. One of the effects Riis talks about was how the rent was too high (Riis 158). The buildings rent was so high only because it could cover the damage that were cause by the people (Riis 8). It is also said thought out the book that the landlords did not pay for better living environment because of how bad crime was in the buildings(Riis 8). Riis gives ideals on how to solve this problem (Riis 8-9). He said many time that the city can remodel the buildings or build new ones (Riis159). Eventually this is what happens, well kind of; also a lot that could not be saved were destroyed (Riis 151-159). This left people on the street or made them crown in other buildings (Riis151- 159). My plan would be to build more buildings on the out skits of town. Slowly move the unfortunate out there. Then with in the city build cheaper, but the best living quality building for the new and up and coming lower class. Then with the new building, have a state fix rate for rent. This rent would be lower at the people do not go broke. This would also help the poor so the land lore could not raise rent unless the state raises it. Next I would have a set minimum amount of money for a said job a person can make and live one, just want they need to make it thought the day. There still be a class system, but it would limit the extreme poor. Yet, the only way this is going to work is the state’s government is going to have to raise city and state taxes. By means of raising taxes, the more money you have the more you pay. This way the middle class is not left paying the most. My reform is better because it bring the life in the tenements out in the open more. It would make the city look nicer. Lastly my reform makes the deprived more noticeable as people rather than as an ethnicity. In the book Riis talks about the reduced as if they were an ethnic background rather than a person for example he calls the Italians thieves (Riis31-34). It also helps to keep them safe for land lore and other wealth people who push them over. This is giving the poor a chance to move up in the class system. By this I mean the poor can having money to try save and not worrying about the next meal or if there is a place to sleep that night.






Work cited
Riis, Jacob August, and Hasia R. . Diner. How the Other Half Lives. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2010. Print.




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