POVERTY IS NOT AN ACCIDENT

By: J.M.

Poverty means a state of constant stress, a feeling of being powerless, helpless, a kind of hopelessness causing life expectancy to drop for many who struggle throughout their lives, to access basic needs which although were provided free by nature, were made inaccessible by those who defined and enforced the way the world works, while this way has been accepted and passed on through generations, by parents to children.

A holocaust that happens every year, not by the hands of a dictator, rather by the hands of starvation that kills more than 6 million children every year. Six million children die each year yet no one even notices? Is that apathy or is it desensitization? 

We have collectively agreed upon and accepted an economic paradigm, constructed upon predatory values,  having a clear basic flaw which restricts the system to support only a small sector of the world’s population, keeping the majority deprived and struggling. A monetary system, which fluctuates according to market forces and controlled by few who are obsessed by unlimited growth, unlimited greed, is bound to produce transgression and exploitation. We have attached numbers as price tags to natural resources for our own benefit, deliberately effecting all have not’s those who are unable to keep up with they system. Unfortunately these have not’s have always been the majority, living in a constant state of deprivation,  struggling to get access to the basic necessities of life.

The children are taught at school that goodness still exists in the world and the adults still believe it, BUT, if goodness is there, then why the world is getting more unjust each passing day? Why there are more miseries than happiness? Why there is no limit for greed?
Why everyone tries to see goodness and happiness, while turning blind eye towards miseries and misfortunes?

More painful is that fact that no one actually seems to have time to think about all this. People are too busy and everyone is in a hurry. When will they be able to spare some time and think about it? When will they realize that this extreme level of inequality is leading us to a dead-end? Why everything revolves around production and consumption when the resources on our planet are finite? What will happen when these resources will eventually get depleted? How the rich and wealthy will segregate themselves from poor and deprived? 

A system that recognizes wealth as the sole measure of integrity, is bound to produce the concept of “Haves” and “Have-nots“. Unfortunately the system justifies the existence of haves and have-nots, completely ignoring the fact that nature has provided us earth and all the natural resources totally free. It is us, the humans who have accepted a system totally dependent on production, consumption and money, giving it the power to define the scales of wealth and poverty. Those who have money often claim that they worked for their money and that poor must find jobs. How ridiculous is this statement, when there are no jobs available and how dishonest are those people who earned their wealth through the labor invested by poor?

Of course the rich tell the poor that the system works … it works well for them …. unfortunately the poor just happen to be the big majority… and their hungers, injustices and pains are unethical ….

In a system which requires capital to create opportunities, those who do not posses it, are unable to help themselves, therefore bound to be exploited by those who do have it. A concept where fear of poverty makes people to hoard money and find reasons to justify the existence of poverty. Normally people and the society transfers poverty to God’s account, declaring it as will of God, instead of will of man. A destructive phenomenon transformed to good and justified, while everyone is happy to turn a blind eye towards the misery and pain being suffered by many at the cost of pleasure for few. Those who have money and are hoarding it to protect themselves against poverty, are actually creating it and this fear of poverty is their own creation. Capital is just a way used to exclude the many for the benefit of the few, to make enormous profits and live in gluttony.

Our economic system is a manifestation of a spiritually bereft people. We seek to fill the gaping hole in our souls with the gratification of our senses through ownership of novel pieces of property, for which we are gladly willing to trade our lives, our morality, our freedom, in fact our humanity, selling it to employers  hour by hour, year by year, like dehumanized zombies, losing all senses of realizing that we are stepping on the shoulders of others, pushing them down, in the name of so called “competition”.

This system of money representing our lives [through] time in exchange for objects we don’t really need to survive is bad enough without considering that we also must trade our time for the things that we do need to survive, things that have been bestowed on us by nature, things that exist to be free to all life, the fruits of our earth, like nourishing milk from our mother’s body.

Consider how outrageous it is that you must pay to live on your own planet! And in the off time, the time when we are away from our mundane and menial jobs, we are subjected to torrents of mind numbing bombardment of advertisements telling us that we must Buy! Buy! Buy! To be worthy! To be cool! To be sexy! The subjection to all of this, added to the total inhumanity of most of our lives, creates a very vicious cycle of consumption to satiate our already eroded and damaged sense. The more we are subjected to, the more we need to consume to feel gratified, exactly like junkies chasing their first high, until we are hollow, pathetic husks, shells of what god or nature or the universe intended our species to be.

The money spent on entertaining the rich i.e. the huge amount being spent in the name of sports, fashion, arts, entertainment, movies etc. is sufficient enough to provide food, healthcare and shelter for every living being on the planet, but people are too busy trying to find new ways to entertain themselves through the money they posses. Likewise the money spent on wars can feed all the hungry people, but unfortunately wars are seen as avenues to generate money through conquering new lands, accessing resources and creating economic activities in the name of reconstruction.  Poverty too has become a business these days. Numerous entities and organizations that pretend to help the poor are run and managed by the rich, only to protect their self-interest.

We allow our vitality to be leached out to sustain a system that exists to perpetuate the comfort and wealth of a very small group of people on the planet. And this is the purposeful destruction of our souls. This is why 11 year olds shoot each other for their shoes. WE are crying out at the pain and numbness in our souls, and the reverberations of our cries are shaking our civilizations to pieces! And we are infecting the whole planet with our sickness. We need to smash this culture! We need to travel backward down the pathology of the creation of our egos and plant a bomb at their source, for the sake of everything!

Nature doesn’t demand anything and doesn’t charge anything from living beings to access air, water, sunlight etc. Nature provides equal and invariable nurturing to all the babies in their mother’s womb and it is free of all the man-made distinctions of being rich and poor. However, as the baby steps out of his mother’s womb and steps into this world being operated by man-made rules and distinctions, he/she earns the title of being “rich” or “poor”. A title that defines the fate and decides what the baby has to do in order to survive.

We, the human species, have been singled out by nature to be the bearers of the creative life force, we have been given the power to make the most breathtaking of dreams come to gasping life. We must realize that in order to achieve these, dreams, we must destroy the most potent adversary we will ever face: our own egos and our own fears. Will we let the nightmares of a few old, scared men hold back the birthright of our people?

Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome, and eradicated by the actions of human beings.

Does poverty have functions to explain its persistence?
The answer is YES, because The poor pay for all

Poverty makes possible the existence or expansion of respectable professions and occupations (e.g., penology, criminology, social work, public health). Poverty provides jobs for social scientists, social workers, journalists, and other ‘poverty warriors.’

1.  Functions of poverty

  • benefits non-poor by making a class of low-skill workers available who can and will perform tasks, the society’s ‘dirty work’ that others do not want to do
  • schools help to create and perpetuate a class of poor people who make up the low skill workers society needs (unintended)
  • benefits non-poor by keeping prices down, effectively subsidizing the consumption activities of the more affluent, i.e. lifestyle of middle/upper classes is dependent on the existence of low-paid work force
  • poverty benefits non-poor by creating jobs and income for persons who would regulate, serve, or exploit those who are less fortunate, e.g. justice system
  • existence of trickle-up effect associated with public assistance, assistance funds received ends up going back to non-poor
  • benefits non-poor because destitute persons purchase goods and services more affluent people do not, i.e. exploited more and have less protection
  • poor absorb costs of economic policies, e.g. reducing inflation is at a cost of throwing people out of work

2.  Myths about poverty

  • refusal to work
  • welfare dependency
  • welfare is a black program
  • poor people don’t plan ahead, i.e. idea of instant gratification
  • there are enough jobs around, anyone can get a job if they want one

3.  Causes of poverty: Deserving to undeserving spectrum, cause or consequence

  • innate inferiority reasons – biological factors
  • cultural inferiority reasons – cultural factors, deviant value system
  • Structural reasons
     reproduction of the class structure: essentially structure is stable over time
    vicious circle of poverty: rules of eligibility reflect policy choices made by non-poor, can easily get trapped but majority escape
    macroeconomic policy: trade off between inflation or unemployment, latter hurts poor more than inflation, former hurts more the middle class and wealthy; it is a political issue
     structure of elections: election days on working days, registration requirements so lower classes vote less
    structure of the economy: wage rates and availability of jobs, part-time or intermittent jobs, decline of well-paying blue collar jobs 
    institutional discrimination, e.g. lack of education, poor health, racial, women and elderly are disadvantaged 
4.  Impact of poverty
  • hunger
  • homelessness
  • violence
5. Categories of people who are poor
  • unemployed poor
  • working poor:  people who are working but are earning enough to be considered above the poverty line
  • near poor:  people who do earn enough money to be considered above the poverty line normally but just barely, but with a non-regular life expense, e.g. medical situation, person falls into poverty since the expense cannot be met
  • homeless people
                 
“The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society”. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.” – Jean Jacques Rousseau, (On the Origin of the Inequality of Mankind)
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