|The Causes of Poverty
Notes from 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists'* (among others)
'Laws grind the poor and rich men make
Poverty is a disease of 'The Money (Profit) System'.
'Poverty' writes Peter Townsend, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Bristol University, a man who has devoted most of his life to making people aware of its causes, 'is not something people impose on themselves for want of effort and community organisation. It is constructed by divisive and discriminatory laws, inflexible organisations, aquisitive ideologies of wealth, a deeply-rooted class system and policies which serve privilege in the short term and destroy society in the long term.
The Bounty of Nature - the material support which sustains the flame of our lives - has become trivialised as 'money', with the result that we are no longer allowed to use the full provision spread out around us. What is there for All to use has been appropriated by 'the Few' to fulfill their selfish ends.Poverty is the inability to secure for onesself the benefits of 'civilization': necessities, comforts, pleasures. What are the causes of this 'shortage'? What was formerly done by human hands is now done by machines (technology). These machines are owned by the minority (the rich) and are worked by the majority (the poor) for the benefit of the minority (the rich). The minority also own the land. The majority must pay the minority for the 'priviledge' of being permitted to live in the place of their birth. Generally, the majority work hard and live in poverty so that the minority may live lives of luxury without working. Poverty is caused by Private Monopoly; landlordism, employerism, ownership.
[As Civilization has advanced, the pack-bond (the
tribe, the extended family) has been broken. This is the root of
the widely diagnosed "anomie" or "alienation" or "existential anguish"
about which so many social critics have written so eloquently. What has
happened is that the conditioning of the bio-survival bond to the gene-pool
has been replaced by a conditioning of bio-survival drives to hook onto
the peculiar tickets which we call "money". --RAW, Prometheus
The Great Money Trick (or 'How the rich stay rich':
Poverty is the shortage of the necessities of life or the benefits of civilization.
ALL People devour the fruits produced by the labor of Group 4, but the fruits go mainly to the people in Group 1 (note to the so-called 'working middle class': Very little of your taxes go to support the poor. Most of your taxes go to support the rich!).
The Reign of Terror - the terror of 'the sack' - prevails
on all jobs. The 'job' of the poor miserable wretches in Group 4 is not
to share in what they have made, but to watch while others enjoy them.
Most politicians seem to think that all that is needed to end poverty is
to find enough 'work' for the poor - for the majority to work like brutes
to obtain a 'living wage' for themselves and to create luxuries for the
small minority of persons who are too lazy to work at all.
[In traditional society, belonging to the tribe was bio-security; exile was terror, and the real threat of death. In modern society, having the tickets (money) is bio-security; having the tickest withdrawn is terror. Welfare-ism, socilaism, totalitarianism, etc. represent attempts, in varying degrees of rationality and hysteria, to re-create the tribal bond by making the State stand-in for the gene-pool. Conservatives who claim that no form of Welfare is tolerable to them are asking that people live with total bio-survival anxiety and anomie combined with terror. --RAW, Prometheus Rising]
The Only Cure for Poverty is Public Ownership of Technology.
The only possible remedy is the Public Ownership and Management
of the Means of Production. Never before in the history of humankind has
it been possible to produce the necessities of life in such abundance as
at present - and as yet millions of people are living and dying in wretchedness
and poverty. The management of the affairs of the world - the business
of arranging how we live - is at present in the hands of ignorant, insolent
overfed imbeciles. The result of their mismanagement is that the majority
of people go without and must struggle to live. And a great number die
of want everyday.
[... the State is not a gene-pool or a tribe, and cannot really play the bio-survival unit convincingly. Everybody on Welfare becomes paranoid, because they are continually worrying that they are going to get cut off ("exiled") for some minor infraction of the increasingly incomprehensible bureaucratic rules. And in real totalitarianism, in which the bogus identification of the State with the tribe is carried to the point of a new mysticism, the paranoia becomes total. Real bonding can only occur in face-to-face groups of reasonable size. Hence, the perpetual attempt (however implausible in industrial circumstances) to decentralize, to go back to the tribal ethos, to replace the State with syndicates (as in anarchism) or affinity-groups (Reich's "Consciousness III"). ... Bio-survival anxiety will only disappear when world-wide wealth has reached a level, and a distribution, where, without totalitarianism, everyone has enough tickets. ... This ideal can only be achieved in a Technology of Abundance. --RAW, Prometheus Rising]
The System has acquired a mind of its own and we must work
to change the 'brain' of the System - one cell (person) at a time. The
way to change is through disseminating Information - People need to be
informed. Socialism is inevitable... but it will only come as the majority
of us become enlightened and Demand Action. No individual can practice
co-operation by himself.
'True Democracy needs no Jeffersonian imprimatur; Thomas Jefferson's notion of liberty did not extend to his slaves. George Washington, father of the American nation, set the tone for every president save Franklin Roosevelt. 'Indians', he said, 'have nothing human except shape ... the gradual extention of our settlements will as certainly cause the savage, as the wolf, to retire; both being beasts of prey though they differ in shape.' James Madison was less crude, though no less honest, when, in addressing the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he said the aim of the new republic was 'to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority'.
'In 1995, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported that the military devastation of Iraq, combined with the effect of sanctions imposed by the Security Council - in reality, by the American and British governments - had been responsible for the deaths of more that 560,000 children in Iraq... this is the equivalent of the unnecessary death of a child every 6 minutes... the UN has sought to negotiate an 'oil for food' arrangement, by which Iraq would be allowed to sell $1 billion's worth of oil every three months on the world market. Half of this would go in war reparations to Kuwait and allocated to the Kurds in the 'safe havens'; the other half would buy food and medicines and basic spare parts for water and sewage treatment facilities... American representatives on the UN Sanctions Committee have used every opportunity to obstruct the plan... When US ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, later to be appointed Secretary of State, was asked whether the lives of half a million Iraqi children were too high a price to pay, she replied, 'I think this is a hard choice, but the price, we think, is worth it.'
Anyone who is not helping to bring about a better state of affairs is helping to perpetuate the present misery. There is no such thing as neutrality - We either help or hinder. Help Us Change the World.
copyleft 1998, all rights reversed
* The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists