The Root Cause of Poverty

When discussing poverty, many think about the so-called third world Countries, but it is everywhere, including the top richest Countries such as United States of America and China.

According to The United States Census Bureau report, the official poverty rate for the year 2020 is of 11.4%, with greater shares in non-white communities, which are the more exploited in terms of labor. It means that more than 1 every 10 people are poor. This is an astonishing number considering that we are talking about the richest and most powerful Country in the world as of today.

All studies we are aware of frame poverty on strictly economic terms, which makes it easy to come up with a number, but this definition give us a much positive picture than it is in realty.

An extreme level of poverty tends to be lethal and still kills millions of people every year worldwide. However poverty have many facets and severely degrade people lives at all levels.
We want to define poverty on social terms, namely as when one can't enjoy life because is too busy surviving. "Will I make ends meet this time?", "For how long can I go without eating?", "Can I afford to send my child to school?", "Hope I don't get a flu this month or I'll lose my job", "I hope snow will stop falling or tonight may be my last night".
These are the kind of concerns that hunt the daily lives of billions of people.

What's the root cause of poverty?

One cause we can exclude is laziness. Many poor people, those who can't even afford a stable shelter, actually have a job. Others, even though they have several low-paid jobs, work more than 40 hours a week and still aren't able to properly sustain themselves.

Even low-education isn't a definitive cause. For example, several PhD and other high-education degree still can bring upon poverty, especially those degrees that don't focus on technology, the medical field, law or business. Unless you have a good network already, starting a career as a medical doctor, lawyer or entrepreneur is very challenging, hence there is still a risk for poverty. Teachers and nurses are usually very close to minimum wage, which is often equal to poverty.

Is poverty caused by nature? A long drought, hurricanes and the lot do severely impact one's life, and especially in the past they were a major factor. Today we are better equipped to counter those unlucky events. Even the amount of resources available isn't the real issue. As we saw earlier, poverty still affects a big share of the population even amongst the richest Countries.

All the causes mentioned so far do have an impact on poverty, but they cannot be considered as the main cause.

The real problem is the socio-economical structure that allows high wealth inequality. This is the root cause of poverty.

According to a report published by Oxfam in 2017, the top 8 wealthiest men in the world collectively possessed as much wealth as the bottom 50% (roughly 3.6 billions people). Such an extreme wealth inequality is direct consequence of a society based on capitalism, which is endemic in our world.

In today society poverty is a required element, it is part of the system by design. As soon as we accept that in our society it can exist a person whose wealth is far greater than most people, then there must be poverty.

The reason is pretty simple: even though resources are abundant, they are finite. There is no other way for a person to have more but to deprive somebody else, and the weakest of us are robbed so much that they end up having nothing.

It is true that with the right boundaries we could have relatively rich people while preventing poverty from arise, however this is not enough.

Poverty is functional to any society that is based on a strict hierarchy of power. The bottom layer of the pyramid must always be in discomfort to better incentivize others to follow orders from above, and what better tool than poverty in a meritocratic society? They are those who didn't succeed in life, they didn't follow the rules that we set for you. Look how much in distress they are, do you really want to risk all your comforts? No? Then dutifully fulfill your role and work harder and longer.

The bottom layer is an easy escape goat when the top needs to divert blame. You worked harder and longer but you are slowly and steadily headed into poverty? Obviously it's not our fault if we are squeezing every penny out of you, those poor people who are ok doing your work for less money are the real culprits!

It may seems ironic, but just stop for a moment and think about the major political discussions of the last years, left or right wing doesn't really matter. Very often, way too often, those at fault are the less fortunate. This should ring a bell, but we are so much used to it that now it is part of our normality.

Even unemployment it is often considered by capitalistic economists as a necessary evil. They define a natural rate of unemployment that must be always present, otherwise employers will be forced to increase wages which in turn will raise inflation. And yet, unemployed people are always stigmatized by society, declared as lazy and leeches.

This is the kind of paradoxical society we are leaving in. We live in a world where we must have a job to avoid poverty, yet we perfectly know that by design some will be left out. We live in a world that constantly talks about abolishing poverty, while perfectly knowing that we will never do it with the current socio-economic structure.

All of these characteristics aren't natural. We decided to make a system based on these principles, and we did while conscious that certain people will have more than they will ever need, while others will be condemned to a life of misery. We did it to ensure there will always be people on top who can exploit and rule over those at the bottom. Be it meritocracy or aristocracy, the will to rule over others still remains.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

The system proposed by Babel Society will have no unemployment and no poverty because it has been designed to exactly avoid that.

It doesn't need poor people to shift the blame to quieten the masses; there is no desire of ruling over others and no wealth inequality that can be exploited.

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