Hosting the Olympic Games is supposed to be not just a proud national moment, but also a wealth-creating event.
As money pours into the hosting country, and more directly the city, everyone should benefit.
But not if you belong to one of the families living in Brazil's favelas.
An estimated 1.5 million families in the shanty towns around Brazil's major cities Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are literally getting in the way of renovation projects for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
Bulldozing of homes in Favela do Metro, Rio de Janeiro, has already begun, with hundreds of families forced to relocate. Human Rights Watch is warning of violations and abuses.
Concerns about treatment of the poor by Brazilian law enforcers are, sadly, nothing new - but who would have suspected that, this time, they were being set an example by a Labour-controlled council here in Britain?
News broke last week that Newham Council had offered a Stoke-on-Trent housing association the "opportunity" to house up to 500 of Newham's most vulnerable families.
Newham's letter said that the private rental sector was "overheating" because of the onset of the Olympic Games and "buoyant young professionals market," and that the council could no longer afford to house tenants on its waiting list - ie the officially homeless.
Surprisingly, Stoke's Brighter Futures Housing Association did not jump at the chance.
"I think there is a real issue of social cleansing going on," said CEO Gill Brown.
"We are very anxious about this letter, which we believe signals the start of a movement which could see thousands of needy people dumped in Stoke with no proper plan for their support or their welfare."
Stoke was already overstretched, she said, and experiencing strains on resources which had already led to pressure on local services, the collapse of vulnerable neighbourhoods and the rise of "divisive right-wing extremism."
Stoke MP Tristram Hunt agreed that an influx of what he calls "Olympic exiles" would be a huge problem.
"The 2012 Games are bringing huge riches into London," he said. "The least those boroughs could do is look after their poor and needy."
But never fear, Boris is here. Mayor Johnson will not, he says, allow the "Kosovo-style social cleansing" of London.
Which might sound a little more convincing had it not been the government Boris supports - in as much as he can ever be said to support anyone but Boris, of course - which caused the problem in the first place, by placing a cap on housing benefit.
When the cap was announced in 2010 concerns were raised that exactly this kind of situation would result.
They were ignored.
As Westminster North MP Karen Buck says, Newham's case is the tip of the iceberg - and other London councils are going the same way.
"What is so worrying is not that this is Newham's fault, but that if a very poor borough in east London feels itself so desperate that it has to try and find accommodation as far away as Stoke, what is that telling us about demand?
"We know from London councils that 88,000 households have private rents above the new limits for housing benefit and in theory these families were meant to find new homes in places like Newham. Obviously, even before the housing-benefit cuts have really begun to bite we have seen that this policy will unravel."
Those of us in the prime of life will remember Westminster's Dame Shirley Porter, of blessed memory.
Porter's housing committee shuffled the homeless and what they saw as other undesirable elements likely to vote Labour - like nurses and students - around the district, forcibly removing many to "safe" Conservative wards.
This ended with the edifying spectacle of young families being forced to live in tower blocks which should have been condemned, including one where birds made nests out of asbestos.
In fact shoving around the poor to suit the plans of the richer has a very long and dishonourable history, which often chimes with developments in that other very bad idea - capitalism itself.
From the 16th century, the movement towards enclosure stole land and traditional rights from the poorest.
The needy were literally pushed around, too, before the 1840 Poor Law, when individual parishes were charged with the care of the poor within their parish boundaries - which were tangible and visibly marked.
There are still painted marks on old pillars and beams recording these ancient limits, and stories of drunks, beggars and abandoned mothers-to-be being given a short sharp shove over them, making them instantly someone else's problem.
London's poor have been getting in the way of money-making schemes en masse for centuries, too.
Construction of the ultimately unprofitable St Katherine's Dock, in what became the East End, alone displaced 11,300 people and destroyed ancient buildings.
In 1840 the London and Blackwall Railway built train lines through Poplar and Stepney with a spur line to Bow. The building of four miles of track meant the demolition of almost 3,000 existing homes.
If we want to see what happens when the poor are ghettoised and separated from essential resources we need look no further than to the dark history of "outcast London."
The East End left behind after the gentry's exodus was described by the writer John Henry Mackay as "a hell of poverty. Like an enormous, black, motionless kraken, the poverty of London lies there in lurking silence and encircles with its mighty tentacles the life and wealth of the city."
Matters were only made worse when the collapse of traditional industries made the area a centre for unemployment and sweated labour.
And then waves of Irish migrants fleeing starvation and oppression were also driven onto the unforgiving streets of the city of "dreadful night."
Having little or no capital, most were restricted to poorly paid casual work, which tended to be concentrated in already overcrowded areas.
In the East End many able-bodied Irishmen were forced to join the desperate "call-ons" at the docks, and search for affordable lodgings for themselves and their families in the dockside slum communities.
There is evidence that some English working men, already struggling hard themselves for a livelihood, regarded Irish incomers - as they often did women workers - with hostility and as an economic threat. As Marx noted: "Every industrial and commercial centre in England possesses a working class divided into two hostile camps, English proletarians and Irish proletarians.
"The ordinary English worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who lowers his standard of life. In relation to the Irish worker he feels himself a member of the ruling nation and turns himself into a tool of the aristocrats and capitalists of his country, thus strengthening their domination."
I'm sure today's Olympic exiles could expect a better welcome from the people of Stoke than these exiles of Erin, but you don't need to be a political economist of Marx's stature to work out that, when already struggling areas are put under yet more pressure, no good is likely to come of it.
What a pity our expensively educated government is seemingly so immune to the lessons of history.
Louise Raw is the author of Striking a Light: the Bryant & May Matchwomen, available on Continuum Press. Raw is speaking at the Bert Ramelson Memorial Rally, Saturday May 5, 11.30am to 5.15pm at the Bishopsgate Institute, London EC1, and the Independent Working-class Education Oral History Day on Saturday May 12, 1-4pm, Brunswick (near London Russell Square tube).
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