Poverty is created

May 26, 2015


Poverty is created. There’s no simpler way of saying it.

It’s as true as truth can get, but it’s not very popular in the corridors of power. The story we usually hear is that poverty is natural, the fault of poor people themselves, just something we should expect as a “background condition” for the world.

In a few months from now, the UN, big corporations and NGOs, and many of the world’s governments will be serving up this pretense in the form of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

They will be sold to the public with “the biggest marketing campaign ever”, and make the almost irresistible claim that they can eradicate poverty by 2030. It sounds wonderful, but dig beneath the surface and you’ll see their strategy is more of the same neoliberal system. They want us to believe the very same rules that created poverty will somehow magically get rid of it.

The rules that create poverty can be changed if we name them and make them unavoidable in the conversation. The only we can do this well is if we have your help.

You can start by spreading these three key articles that tell the story of how ‘poverty is created’.

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4 thoughts on “Poverty is created”

  1. Nasim Beg says:

    Poverty is truly created by those in control and they find way and means to legitimize it through treaties of sorts. This has been done throughout the ages – treaties to exploit, entered into after conquest; death penalties for slaves trying to run away to freedom; waging war on weaker nations for the flimsiest of reasons through sanctions from entities such as the UNO; one sided trade treaties in the name of the freedom of markets, while imposing stringent restriction of free movement of labour (as if the free market principle does not apply to labour).

    I also have an issue is with predatory borrowing – the ability of the powerful to borrow has been, and continues to be, a significant contributor to inequality. My argument is that at the root of this predatory borrowing is the banking system in the form it is currently run and that it is supported very significantly by governmental behaviour in legitimising it.

    I have posted a blog as a Community member and am providing an easy link would you visit to read it:


    1. Martin Kirk says:

      Did you see last week’s front page of The Economist, Nasim? All about debt subsidies and what amounts to predatory borrowing, and calculated that most western governments spend more on subsiding debt (an activity intrinsically tilted in favour of he rich) than they do on education or healthcare. Talk about systemic imbalances!

  2. Barry Wendell Jackson, Esq. says:

    I am an innovative Engineer of Political Economy. I was successful in gaining for deserving clients title to more land than in England.
    The solution to poverty has been known for more than 240 years, but continues to be ignored, distorted and suppressed: Nations gain wealth when workers are paid “LIBERALLY”! (Example? The American Colonies!) And that when we pay, as we do now, by the UNFree Market, we will find we “are going fast backwards!” And we have been for decades.
    Our Rulers, the Global Oligarchs, their National Plutocrats and their Handmaidens (my terms), are pleased with their very successful wealth-building secret Class War against the rest of us. (They do not see us, as they never pass though airport terminals. And we do not see them.) And almost all of the rest of us are peaceful and peaceable. And so assets and money continue to be transferred from the Middle Classes, and even the working poor, to our Rulers, who pay their Handmaidens well. And our governments, by providing the “Safety Net”, enables our Rulers to gain workers for substandard wages. Most of our Rulers are oblivious to their fortunate subsidy!
    The continuing decline of most developed nations will continue, unless and until they realize and implement the teachings of Adam Smith in his work that I short title as “An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations.” (Available for free download from Gutenberg. Get it and READ!)
    Our Rulers (cite: see colloquy between Senator Sanders and Fed Chair Nominee Janet Yellen at her confirmation hearing), realize they need consumers with funds to buy the production and services of their investments. And I surmise they are aware this is also declining. But they are OBLIVIOUS to why, and why they need the rest of us! Workers are Consumers! WHO KNEW!
    Will our Rulers wake up? If not, the PITCHFORKS are Coming!

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Trump: Join us in connecting the dots

The election of Donald Trump has left millions, maybe even billions of us in shock. Although we may be looking with bewilderment at the US today, we should remember that he is not an isolated phenomenon. He is a symptom of a sickness that is raging all around the world. People are hurting, disillusioned with mainstream politics and increasingly angry at a neoliberal economic system that is destroying lives and the planet with increasing ferocity. And in their desperation they are willing to consider extreme measures to make themselves heard.

Demagogues thrive amid fear and insecurity, which is why they paint the world in such dark terms. It’s a strategy that has put right-wing populist leaders in power in an Axis of Egos: from Brazil to Turkey, the Philippines to Russia, authoritarian strongmen like Trump are on the rise. Meanwhile, many centrist liberals, like the Democratic Party in the US, have been so intent on rejecting left-wing populist solutions, and so sure of their ability to beat anyone running on a white supremacy platform with its misogyny and homophobia, that they opened the door for Mr. Trump to walk straight through. Their preference is always to maintain the status quo that has served them so well.

As dangerous as the election of Trump is for the world, we can also see in this moment the truth that we simply cannot rely on the electoral political system to save us, because it is designed to prevent the fundamental change we need. Its own survival is at stake and it will marshal all its champions and resources to defend itself and stop the emergence of a new system. But when we work, or continue working for change from the ground up; when we build or keep on building new ways of living and being with each other where we live; when we construct or keep constructing the future we know is possible with our own hands, rather than hoping distant leaders will build it for us, we find our true power. Finally, when we combine that with the unbending hope that has powered change through the ages, we know our power has meaning.

A 400-year-old economic system is dying and another is struggling to be born. Change on this scale is not going to be smooth or easy. We should not be surprised, then, that moments like this — where the establishment is dealt a body blow — become more and more common. We can despair when that blow comes in the form of right-wing extremists, or we can step-up. We are the ones we are looking for, who can and must grasp the opportunities in these crises that are undoubtedly there.

So it’s time to come together, taking time to remember the earth. Remember all the successful struggles for justice that came before us, and imagine all those to come. Remember that social movements are growing all over the world and realising the common struggle. Remember life. Then, organise. Find each other and help midwife the inevitable transition that brings forth from the ashes of neoliberal capitalism a system that works for the good of all life on Mother Earth. This is not just activism; this is our responsibility as human beings alive as this all unfolds.

This is why we are here.