The Poverty Paradox

You cannot end poverty because people who have money are selfish.  They weren’t necessarily born that way; money makes them that way.  Comfort makes you less able to understand and sympathize with the failings and mistakes of other people; and as you experience fewer mistakes and failings, you tend to become even less able to sympathize.  In other words, the people who have the ability to end poverty are not going to be inclined, on balance, to do so.

The people who have the understanding needed to end poverty tend to be those who are somewhat on the lower end of the income scale themselves.  This includes not only poor people, but also social workers and the like, who tend not to be paid nearly as much as other kinds of professionals.  These people have the desire to end poverty, but they lack the power.

In order for the people who want to end poverty to develop the means to do so, they must become more wealthy and powerful.  In the process of doing so, they will tend to lose sight of what it was actually like to be poor, and why people are poor.  On the other hand, to get the people who have the power to make the move and do their bit, you have to put them into an inferior socioeconomic position — at which point they have the sympathy, but no longer have the power.

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(This item was previously posted in my ideas blog.)

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