Dr. Keynes Was Right

It's the Distribution, Stupid
DECEMBER 30, 2011 1:29PM

Da Meme, Boss, Da Meme

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Krugman's hijacked my meme!!

I had intended to wrap up the year with a song, but before I do that, I have to claim vindication, since (for those who don't follow links) the title of the good doctor's column is "Keynes Was Right".  I'll drop him an email asking for props.  I'll even let you know if I hear back.  I'm not going to hold my breath.

Now, for that song.  The 1950's saw two folk music revivals.  The first was in the spirit of Woody Guthrie, who is still not all that welcome where he was born.  This was music by and about the left behind.  With the Red baiting and such, some of these singers were blacklisted, and the revival petered out.  Toward the end of the decade, a folk music safe enough for suburban white folk emerged, and chief among the performers were The Kingston Trio.  A bit later, one of their arrangers got together with a couple of not quite so safe (and all three a tad older than the college kids around whom this second revival revolved) white guys to be The Limeliters.  A bit more sophistication and a bit more edge.  Not the Weavers, though.

But, The Kingston Trio did record and perform this song.

Poverty Hill
Fred Hellerman/Fran Minkoff

They come in their summery dresses and jackets so fine, the rich folks who measure success with a big dollar sign.
They gaze with delight with the rocks and the scraggly pines. The come in the Spring and they stay 'til the Fall
On Paradise Mountain away from it all.

Stubble and stone make a hard row to how. What little will grow, the drought will kill.
The summer folks call it Paradise Mountain but we call it Poverty Hill.

They say we have beautiful faces as grainy as wood. Yeah, they'd like to live here of all places if only they could.
Well, we don't get those wood, grainy faces from livin' too good. It's the rocks and the sun and dust and the heat.
It's too much of work and too little to eat.


They pack and say what a pity that they have to go. They say that Old Smokey's so pretty all covered with snow,
But how we get through the winter they never will know. No lard for the pantry. No grist for the meal
And winter's are cold over Poverty Hill.


Yes, we call it Poverty Hill.

Fred Hellerman was a Weaver.
Fran Minkoff was a Robert Hunter to the Weavers; she wrote for others, too.

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The Weavers also had the best version ever of House of the Risin' Sun long before it go rock'n'rolled
Too close to home for me, but I'll accept that. As to Krugman, we're all just minor league ball clubbers on the farm team. The boys in the big league kype a heap from us 'cause we work for free. Be grateful that you jigged the paradigm a bit. That's what sustains me.