A post on current.com on the aftermath of (and run-up to) the earthquake in Haiti prompted one reader to cite John Berger:
The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied…but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.
There is no specific citation provided, though the unsparing language could be drawn from any number of Berger’s works over the past decade. Its pertinence to Haiti is self-evident.