16 January 2018

Why are people poor?

This article is work-in-progress and motivated by the assumption made by some that if you're poor it's pretty much your own fault and you're probably lazy.  

Your comments are welcome...

 
Some say that if you're poor it must somehow be down to the bad decisions you've made, or that you're lazy. While it's possible that this simple analysis of human poverty is partly true, I want to explore other more complex causes of poverty that more completely explain why living rough, or just getting by is more than just a life choice.
 
Why is it then that the better off argue that the reason why people are poor is because they're just lazy?

It could be that the world's financial elite are worried that the poor are sucking up to much of their income in taxes, but, as the Panama Papers Investigation has uncovered, by using complicated financial instruments, clever lawyers and tax havens, very rich companies and individuals are able to choose how much tax they pay, so it can't be that the poor are a burden can it?

So desperate are the very wealthy to avoid doing their own chores that the very same class of people that demonstrate how it is possible to acquire money without working have the colossal cheek to criticise those with nothing of laziness. 

I'm not arguing that hard work is wrong my point is that hard work is not necessarily a virtue in itself.

In this secular age empty churches routinely converted into flats parishioners are no longer fooled by the unthinkingly protestant work ethic that flogging your guts out is the only certain path to heaven.  Today governments dependent on big business for their survival (if not political purpose) encourage people to work hard for their bosses by giving them hope. Unfortunately, however, hope is a commodity in short supply both here in the UK and in the mighty USA.  It was no accident that near messiah Barack Obama's electoral slogan was "Hope and Change" but the problem was that there was so little hope and change around in 2015/6 that hundreds of millions of working class Middle Americans turned to Donald Trump


What gets people out of bed in the morning isn't a fear of appearing lazy in the eyes of neo-conservatives it is optimistic feelings, however nebulous, that as long as they are sufficiently tenacious, there will be  a reasonable chance that their effort will be rewarded with a decent standard of living. 

While there may well be a link between hard work and financial gain, but, as far can see, the will to work has little to do with indolence and is more to do with what a person believes they are worth and the reward our market-led economic system decides is the minimum it can get away with paying them.

People aren't poor because they're bone-idol, they're poor because they neither have the luxury of  inherited wealth, or are equipped with the skills that happen to be in demand at a particular period in time.  In short being poor the world over is, pretty much, down to access to education and luck. 

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