Monday, June 17, 2013

Poverty 101

Totaled the '94 Camry.
I know, I'm leaving for the other half of the world in two weeks.
Still, that bad boy could carry all my possessions within it.
That might be sad as shit, but I was still grateful beyond belief.
RIP you foreign fucker.

The past three years of my life were actually rather insightful considering one of my majors.
One of the main facets of economics is studying poverty & debt cycles.
To say the least, I learned both rather well.
Until this summer I've been at least two grand in debt almost continually.
Life sucks below the poverty line.
Not trying to elicit sympathy, by the way.
Despite my parents attempt at occasional help, I dug my own hole.
My dumbass decisions were my own, but in a fucked up way it taught me a lot about money & life.

There are two particular schools of thought that piss me off to no end.
One is leftist:
  • "Those in poverty are held down by a system that wishes to keep them there!"
The holes in this Marxist bullshit are wide enough to drive a truck through.
The prevailing economic thesis of our time (social capitalism) is, at it's core, antithesis to poverty.
Consumers cannot consume when they have no fucking money.
This argument is generally propagated by either those who never sniffed poverty yet wish to guilt others or "poverty pimps" who desire the power that commanding the impoverished masses brings themselves.
It's bullshit.
No one, outside of a few sadistic assholes, wish for anyone to be stuck in poverty.
Which brings me to the second argument that boils my blood:
  • "The impoverished are lazy, sucking off the productivity of the hard-working!"
Much to my chagrin, we don't live in a pure meritocracy.
Cycles of poverty & debt exist, regardless of the individual motivation of those trapped.
Capitalism is the world's greatest destroyer of poverty.

This is undisputed among economic academia.
The problem?
There are still far too many who fall between the cracks.
And you want to know something?
A lot of the time, it's not their fault.
Poor parenting, poor education, poor training, discrimination.
These forces create a cycle that fosters poverty among families, communities and even countries.
Not every person living below the poverty line is some sort of welfare queen.
Especially children.
Breaking the cycles of poverty, violence and destruction is not exactly easy.

What's the point?
Two, one for you personally and one collectively.
My own experience (which included living out of my car for over a week and discovering how to obtain food once you are bouncing at the credit limit) taught me how to live with little.
The quickest way to the bottom is frivolity.
It sounds simple, but the rule that expenses should not exceed income is pretty damn hard to put in practice.
Why do you think so many lottery winners & athletes end up just as piss poor as when they began?
They didn't learn their lesson.
Learn how to invest.
Learn how to balance a checkbook.
Learn what money supply & inflation actually mean.
School should have taught you this, but our shitty public school system doesn't do a great job at that.

Collectively, the lesson poverty should teach us all is the value of opportunity.
Sometimes breaking the degrading cycle of poverty is as simple as a job offer.
You'll find that most people want to work, want to earn their way in this world.
By patronizing or insulting those who haven't been given the same advantages as the rest of us, you commit a cardinal sin of modern economics:
Market Inefficiency.
Don't feel sorry for those in poverty.
Give them a goddamn chance.

Let's leave poor cycling to hipsters.


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