1762. Poverty, what it really means

There is of course material poverty, but always accompanied with spiritual and psychological damage – real poverty.

The usual kind of measure, below 1.65 per day say, is totally obscuring the fact that many people live on zero and do fine. Tribal people for he most part. Their well being is living in a coherent culture. And able to avoid the onslaught of civilization. Pushing the poor into the numerical spectrum is poverty inducing. There is no way out, all the way to a billion. Others have more, you are poor. The perspective of economics requires poverty because of the numerical spectrum of dollars.

The real poverty is the poverty of culture. Of being seen only in dollar terms.

In Mexico I used to marvel at the local catholic church and the always open welcome to the poorest to come inside, feel a part of a culture, to experience the architecture, art, stained glass, music and rituals of prayer and response. Where I live now has none of that. The people at the bottom have no access to high culture. This is terrible.

Another aspect of deep poverty is what the poor have to learn about the rich. To see others with what I need, driving through my lead soaked neighborhood in their BMW’s and being aware of their inability to see me makes me feel terrible. I have to learn the human psychology of my fellows. Thy are blind,covetous, protective, protective from my contact with them.

There are three levels of need (not quite Maslow)
Basic needs
Relationship needs
Transcendent needs

Maslow was wrong because often the poorest are better at love and awareness. The ability to be spiritual does not require that basic needs be met first.

Innovation mostly works for those with power, and its purpose is to get from the poor (taking their labor, taxes, assets, commons) so that the rich have more and leave the poor with less.

We think it is a big thing to talk of the welfare of the middle class. Almost No body , certainly no politician, even Sanders, speaks publicly about the poor. How to get more from the land, from society, from the people, rarely to make some thing actually new that adds rather then subtracts.

Everyone should feel appreciated and welcome by their society. Poverty means you are not being cared for. The rich are cared for by an institutional culture and the feeling of a right to belong. Poverty does not include this.


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