Let them Eat Poverty Reports

by C.A. L'Hirondelle, June 2010

Poverty report after report after report gets published year after year after year after year. There are so many reports on poverty, that one can only wonder if the purpose of poverty reports is to create jobs for poverty report writers.

But maybe they could be put to practical use: stack them up and turn them into homeless shelters—suitable for photo-ops, and then turning to useless mush when it rains, thus creating a self-perpetuating need for more poverty reports.

However, even with this practical use, it is doubtful that we will ever see poor people marching with signs demanding more poverty reports.

It is also doubtful we will ever hear people singing to the tune of "give us bread but give us roses," a new protest song: "give us pie charts and consultations".

As Robert Theobald wrote way back during the 1960s:

"To be poor is to have too little money. The immediate need of the poor is for more money. The immediate need is not moral uplift, cultural refinements, extended education, retraining programs or makework jobs, but more money." (Robert Theobald, The Guaranteed Income - Speech given before a leadership conference on the Guaranteed Income, Chicago, May 21, 1966.)

Theobald was a socioeconomist on abundance, futurist, activist and author of 20 books. He also wrote: “At a time when the machines can turn out enough production for everybody, it is no longer necessary to force people into factories, or into offices, or into jobs unless they want a beer…"

However, there is an idea for an elegant new poverty program that solves all problems: pay poor people to write reports about poverty reports. At least then some poor people might actually get a little extra cash in their hands instead of it all going to fund the legion of poverty experts doing "drive-by research" as one Vancouver activist has called it.

Untilmately however, the only long-term practical solution is to implement a universal livable income for everyone, even unemployed poverty experts.


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