"Poor" People are NOT The Cause Of Poverty
J.S. Larochelle & C. L'Hirondelle - written 2003, posted 2008

"Power concedes nothing without a demand;
it never has and it never will."

-- Frederick Douglass

According to many political thinkers, poverty is caused by a lack of economic productivity. Therefore, many people say that the solution to poverty is to produce larger quantities of "goods" and "services."

But there are many problems with the idea that "more productivity" is the solution to poverty. First of all, according to the concept of individual freedom no one is compelled to consume "nonessential" products just for the sake of economic growth.

For example, many people say that they are "free" to produce goods such as coffee, cigarettes and alcoholic beverages. However, as consumer we are equally "free" not to buy the producers coffee, cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.

But medical scientists now tell us not to consume tobacco products because they cause ill health. In addition, medical scientists also tell us that only adults should use coffee and alcoholic beverages in strict moderation.

Of course, anyone who tries to convince people--especially children and young adults--to smoke cigarettes and drink coffee or alcoholic beverages beverages just for the sake of money is a drug pusher in every sense of the word.

Obviously, no parent wants their children to start smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee and alcoholic beverages or any other goods or services that harm their health. But many political thinkers believe that the concept of "individual freedom" gives every one the right to produce and advertise cigarettes, coffee and alcoholic beverages and so forth.

In fact, many people would point out that if it were not for the tobacco, coffee and alcohol industries, millions more world citizens would lose their jobs and end up poor. However, this idea is nothing short of economic extortion for average people are being threatened with the loss of their jobs if they condemn the use of tobacco, coffee and alcohol products.

Obviously, to stay healthy and alive, we all need to have essential, health and life-giving material things such as clean water, sewage system for sanitation, nutritious food, clothes, shoes, proper housing, energy for warmth and cooling and medical aid should we become sick or injured.

Without nutritious food people would quickly get sick and die. However, scientists who are experts in nutrition would tell us that we don't need to eat donuts, potato chips or drink soda pop to be healthy.

Many nutritionists now point out that the over consumption of junk foods is causing widespread ill health--especially in poor people who buy junk food because it is cheap and readily available. Junk food is especially dangerous to the health of children who come to prefer fatty and sugary foods and costly soda pop to nutritious foods and plain water.

Yet, no one is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to buy TV time and full page ads in daily newspapers to tell citizens that to be healthy, we need to breathe fresh air, drink clean water, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly and get a good night's sleep.

Once again, it seems obvious that average people are being threatened with losing their jobs and living in poverty if they don't passively accept that business sector is trying to grow the world's economy by producing more junk foods and soda pop.

It must be just as obvious that to grow the economy, the business sector is specifically targeting children who are extremely vulnerable to being manipulated by idea that buying things, owning them and consuming them is very pleasurable.



Remembering Kimberly Rogers



However, nowhere in the media is it pointed to children, or anyone else, that hundreds of millions of average people are living in abject poverty without clean water, basic sanitation, nutritious food, housing and even rudimentary health care.

Moreover, people live and dying in abject poverty even as staggering amounts of peoples' time and the earth's material and energy resources are being used to produce more coffee, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, junks foods and soda pop.

Of course, in order to produce, transport, advertise and sell cigarettes and other "nonessential" products, vast amounts of time, energy and resources are used to build offices, factories, warehouses, company cars, trucks, stores and junk food restaurants.

Clearly, the very same time, energy and resources that are currently being used produce nonessential goods and services and to build offices, factories etc. could be used by the world's poor people to provide themselves with clean water, sanitation, nutritious food, housing and proper health care.

Therefore, one obvious political question is when was there an "open" and "free" debate on how the world's natural resources were to be used? Exactly, when did the world's people give their democratic consent to allow the business sector to use the earth's natural resources to produce soda pop and junk food while hundreds of millions of people don't have basic water, food and housing?

It should be obvious that the mothers of the world, and most people in the world, would never vote for any politician or political party that allowed children to live in and die in poverty while adults both squandered to the earth's resources making junk food, and then squanderdc even more resources making countless hours of television commercials trying to get children to ask their caregivers to buy them more junk food.

Furthermore, it is the purest of evils to tell the world's "poor" mothers that they are the cause of their own poverty even while mothers are the source of the children who are targeted to eat the junk food, drink the soda pop, and watch the TV shows that make business people rich.

Obviously, without the many thousands of hours of unpaid work that mothers do, there would be no consumers to buy the junk food, soda pop and other things that business must sell to stay in business. Yet, many people are convinced that 'poor' mothers are parasites living off of taxpayer money.

Of course, every person who has any money at all is totally dependent on mothers to have children and raise them for "free" so that they can consumers to buy products such as soda and junk food.

Clearly, the world's economic practices are morally bankrupt for they are causing mass poverty.

The only way to prevent people all over the world from dying in poverty, misery and ill health-- even while more and more natural resources are harvested and turned into soda pop and junk food and other trash-- is to provide everyone with economic security through a guaranteed livable income.


J.S. Larochelle & C. L'Hirondelle