on poverty

In a previous post where I talk about the paradoxes of our times, I did say we live in a time when the accumulated wealth of the race is unfathomable and that amidst this vast wealth, there is terrible destitution. There are those so poor, they barely get by. They are almost forgotten. And there are those so rich, I think they would need several life times to spend their money.

We can all agree, I think, that both groups, those extremely poor and those fabulously rich are a threat to democracy, the rich especially. We can also agree we need to check the rate at which we are depleting our natural resources.

In this post by Jerry Coyne, the argument is, I think, we are not poorer. We live in the best of times, looked at across various indices and so on. We have great income inequalities which someone in the comments said is like complaining your neighbour lives better than you.

He was writing in response to this post.

What do you make of the two schools of thought?

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

27 thoughts on “on poverty

  1. I believe that much of the world is living in appalling misery but that it has always done so. Life is still “nasty, brutish and short”. If life is long then its quality is terrible – you only have to look at the sad dribbling old wrecks in our old folks’ homes.

    So, no, we need a revolution of some sort. Not a violent and bloody revolution but a fundamental and deep, deep alteration of human consciousness and a change in our value systems.


    • makagutu says:

      I don’t think it is possible to have a class struggle that isn’t violent. How to ensure that a few don’t become the new dictators

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not really talking about a class struggle but your point is nonetheless well taken. I am really talking about a revolution in consciousness and awareness over time. Much time. Coupled with genetic engineering to take us away from brutal Darwinian evolution towards a kinder, better and more intelligent society.


  2. john zande says:

    There’s no denying that we have it better today than we did yesterday. Over population, though, threatens it all.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Eric Alagan says:

    Eat more vegetables and less meat – watch this movie Cowpiracy on Netflix. Quite enlightening.



  4. There is clearly a top heavy imbalance with much needless suffering. The next question then is how do you stop human beings from exercising their inbred nature, namely and for the most part being self centered? Hope you have a good weekend.


  5. renudepride says:

    Many may not like this but I like the concept of income redistribution through taxation reform. It won’t solve all the problems we now face but it will be a step in the right direction. The wealthy *should* bear a higher taxation rate because they simply have more, period. Hopefully, this will allow us time to begin to re-think our values and policies and encourage a greater dialogue on other solutions. Naked hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Swarn Gill says:

    I think income inequality is a huge problem, and while the bottom end has increased I don’t think it matters a lot when the gap is so wide. I think the analogy of just seeing your neighbor with a better car isn’t really analogous here. That’s a choice on whether to feel envious or to be content with what is largely a slightly lower income. I think it’s natural to compare ourselves though. I remember hearing about a study in Sweden where there is this lottery where you can win a new car, and what they found is that in the neighborhood of the winner, more people bought new cars as a result of the one person having a new car. But clearly in that case those people could at least afford a new car, or with slight financial difficulty. It certainly doesn’t represent the type of gap we see in the richest 0.1% and the lowest 50%. By global standards I am also in the upper 1% and feel no desire to live the life of a millionaire or even a billionaire, but I think if I was near the bottom the difference is what would anger me, not because I necessarily wanted that kind of life. I think massive inequality does spark more anger and desperation in people, and so even if the bottom end has gone up in terms of standard of living the potential for increased crime and political instability increases in proportion to the level of inequality. The inequality in the U.S. is far greater than the global average actually, and the effects are clear…(aka Trump).

    I think neoliberal economic policies in western democracies have all had some similar impacts and we are seeing the results of it now. The nationalist blow back I think has less do with being against globalism but a simple response to seeing too many people lose their quality of life in your neighborhood, while a small percentage of people continue to get richer.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is why I’m running for office in 2020. Let’s end the “problem” of disabled people and poor people with gas chambers and crematoriums. Why in Jesus Christ’s name should I pay taxes to help out poor and disabled lazy people? It ain’t my problem, pal! So, vote for me in 2020 and I will begin my programs of gassing and cremating the poor and disabled and bringing a Christian, evangelical theocracy to America. God bless America! God bless freedom, and God bless the all-loving arms of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. IBTD1 2020!


  8. Ron says:

    Based on the World Bank data, it’s hard to deny that the percentage of people living in extreme poverty has declined sharply over the last 60 years.



  9. avocastro says:

    Hey, a good place to get some facts on global poverty and find out how you can help is borgenproject.org


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