Monday, January 16

Causes of Poverty, one reason is that people volunteer to be poor

A pithy statement, but interesting:

Poverty in Egypt, or anywhere else, is not very difficult to explain. There are three basic causes: People are poor because they cannot produce anything highly valued by others. They can produce things highly valued by others but are hampered or prevented from doing so. Or, they volunteer to be poor. — Walter Williams

I look at poverty in India or the UK or many other countries and I see the truth of this statement. Yes, you can have a benefits regime which moves them up a bit more on the economic ladder or you can have a tax regime which moves some more dosh into their pockets, but the underlying causes remain the same. If they have to emerge out of poverty, then these 3 reasons hold true. In many cases, the benefits regime actively encourages them to remain in poverty.

But in countries such as India, they are actively hampered by the governments into staying poor, such as by the benefits regime, the labour laws, the food laws, etc. etc.

To improve the first reason, the poor need to be taught better, but the educational system in countries such as USA, India, UK etc. again fails them. Tell me, which educational system consistently tops the PISA regimes? Finland, Singapore, etc. Where brilliant teachers are taken and a medium amount of money is pumped into the schools and pushed ahead. Bad teachers are fired. But this doesnt happen in other countries because the educational system relies, either by omission or commission, to keep the students in a mess. Or else the rules and regulations on starting their own business is very difficult. The UK is 7th on the list. India is 132nd on the list. And then you wonder why India remains poor? Its because the government actively encourages and makes it so that they remain poor.

Finally people volunteering to be poor. Monks and such like. Good men, all power to them.

Incidentally, came across this fascinating story. I quote:

My name’s Ronnie Bryant, and I’m a mine operator…. I’ve been issued a [state] permit in the recent past for [waste water] discharge, and after standing in this room today listening to the comments being made by the people…. [pause] Nearly every day without fail — I have a different perspective — men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just … you know … what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What’s the use? I don’t know. I mean, I see these guys — I see them with tears in their eyes — looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So as I stood against the wall here today, basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.

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