On poverty


Not so long ago, I was reading this post by Michele and it got me going back to my notes on urban poverty and I may have a few things to say. But before we dwell on her post, there are few things we should get out of the way.

First, in a paper by ConeXión Mosaico, they write that the way we define poverty and ‘success’ – either implicitly or explicitly – says a lot about our worldview framework and view of cultural change and also influences how we relate to the poor and plays a major role in determining the solutions we use in our attempts to alleviate poverty.

The European commission in 1984 defined the poor as

the poor shall be taken to mean persons, families and groups
of persons whose resources (material, cultural and social)
are so limited as to exclude them from the minimum
acceptable way of life in the Member State in which they
live.

In this paper, the key point they argued was that since poverty is relative, multi-dimensional and changed over time,
“it is scientifically impossible to determine an accurate, uniquely valid poverty line: i.e. a financial threshold below which a person is defined as being poor”.

The point here is, there is a difficulty in defining & measuring poverty and with this difficulty even how to address it becomes a challenge. The World Bank claims to have two goals,

To end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in a sustainable way

but have helped spread poverty in the global south through their policies.

I am not saying Michelle’s family were not poor. Far from me to say that. My problem is with her insistence that being poor or getting out of it is a matter choice. She writes

That’s why I say poverty is a choice. You may not choose how you grow up. But once grown you certainly choose the life you want. You choose your goals and you make the plan on how to achieve.

And while I am happy for her that she and her family have done well for themselves, many poor households do not have much to move on. I mean, they had a car to start with. They could move around. Research also show that children who grow up in households where parents went to school even briefly fare better compared to where no parent has had any schooling.

I also find this

So can we stop blaming our parents, society, schools, and everything else for our current situation and instead make a plan on how to change it.

disagreeable. If you had a crappy education, broke parents and a society that doesn’t give a damn where there are structural barriers that make life a nightmare, one can’t be blamed for their poverty. We as a society will be abdicating our duty to others if this is how we viewed life.

And as I said in the beginning of this post, how we define poverty affects also how response to it.

I don’t think anyone chooses to be poor. And here am not talking about those religious fanatics who go around begging for alms in the nae of forsaking property and material wealth. No. Not those ones.

 

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About makagutu

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

154 thoughts on “On poverty

  1. I never said we choose to be poor. But instead said the RIGHT choices can lead you from it. Don’t think we were poor go to a native reservation. My family is from pineridge. We WORKED hard, got educated and escaped poverty. It CAN be done if you are dedicated to making the choices to do it.

    Anything else is just an excuse why you are still poor and I’ve heard it many times.

    I grew up in a school district not equipped for a deaf child. That would be your example of school and societal hold backs no? I didn’t let them or anyone define who I am or where I can go or what I can do in life. My family had nothing and if we didn’t grow it, hunt/catch it or raise it we didn’t eat.

    But the right choices to get an education, save money and always live within my means has allowed me and my siblings to escape the life we grew up in.

    Poor is also defined multiple ways I defined it here only in the financial sense and tried to point out my advantage was strong family upbringing and a focus on education from my parents. That is where I believe I am wealthy. Yes I have financial means now that my parents never did but I carry the lessons they taught me in my mind and heart and those I am wealthy with good strong family.

    Does every child have that? Nope.
    Can everyone and I mean everyone work their way out of poverty financially? Yup they can. And I do believe that because I’ve lived it in myself and my brothers and sisters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      You say

      my advantage was strong family upbringing and a focus on education from my parents.

      and immediately in the next

      Can everyone and I mean everyone work their way out of poverty financially? Yup they can. And I do believe that because I’ve lived it in myself and my brothers and sisters.

      forget the advantages you had. That is my contention. That’s what you are not seeing.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Strong family gave me advantages sure. I knew I was loved. My parents were supportive and pushed education as important. You can push yourself into education. Every child has advantages others may not. I had disadvantages you didn’t as well. So don’t discount one for the other.

        Hugs

        Like

    • Ron says:

      For what it’s worth, I found your story inspirational. It speaks to the adage that “you can make progress or you can make excuses — not both.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hugs
        This is what I am saying. We f you want to change your financial situation then what are you doing to make those changes. It maybe slow going but you can do it. Sometimes it’s a matter of what are you willing to give up now so later you have better.

        Example I do not need to drink beer or soda so I stick to milk and water. I don’t need the newest smart phone. What will you do to live within your means and allow yourself to save money as well. Are you willing to work for years to get that college degree? My brother worked 8 years to get his one or two class at a time. Are you using your money wisely. Let’s talk college. Why attend 25k/ year Penn State when you can go to a community college for 3500lyear? Use that. Get two years and all your electives then transfer for the last year of school at Penn State if that’s where you want to go. So you spend 35,500$ for the same degree you would have spent 100,000 dollars for.

        It’s all in being smart about your money. Learn to be smart, learn how to get what you want and not overspend for it. Anyone can do it. Community colleges at 3500/year are within reach even of minimum wage. Will you work your ass off to do it? Yup. But it can be done.

        Also when choosing a college major be sure to choose one with the most possible employment options. Like you want to be a graphics artist. That’s a limited field so learn some web design and Java programming and your options upon graduating are wide open. Don’t get a masters in lesbian dance theory and expect to get a job afterwards. Pick a major with real employment options and expand those options with electives like my example above with web design and Java programming.

        It’s all about your choices. Be smart choose wisely and enjoy the ride.

        My first degree was in information cyber security and I took Java, python and we. Design classes as electives to expand my employment options. I had a job less than a week after graduation.

        Hugs make your future. 🙂

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        • Nan says:

          It’s all in being smart about your money

          To those who have only enough money coming in to put food on the table, the only part about “being smart” is making what little they have stretch until their next income “opportunity.”

          You really need to visit some of the sections of this country where people are genuinely POOR. See what happens when you tell them they need to “get smart” about their money.

          Liked by 2 people

          • We were genuinely poor. Again go visit the reservation at pine ridge. You’ll see poverty. You’ll see an entire population impoverished. but there are still those in that population who choose that they want a better life and they’re willing to make the changes in the choices required to get that life.

            When you take somebody who you say can we put food on the table do they have cable what other luxuries do they have that they might be able to do without so they can save some money and go to school?

            Have they applied for grants and scholarships and do they keep applying? Where there’s a will there is a way.

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          • makagutu says:

            Have they applied for grants and scholarships and do they keep applying? Where there’s a will there is a way.

            I can’t stop laughing at some of the things you are writing

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          • Glad you find truth so entertaining.

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          • makagutu says:

            No. That is me making a jest

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          • I understood your sarcasm.

            Like

          • and PS I gave you examples of using your money wisely. Sure everybody wants to go to Harvard. The Harvard 60 Grand a year. I can go three years to my community college for $10,500. I’ll have all the requirements I need for that four-year degree at Harvard. I go to Harvard I take one class I pass it. Then I enroll full-time for the remainder of my 1 year and blam I got my college degree from Harvard

            and I did it for $70,000 rather than $240,000. It’s called using your money wisely and also I’ll have an associate’s degree in the field and looking at at some point during that 3 years and I’ll be able to upgrade my position because of that new degree.

            I also talked about making sure your degree had opportunity for you when you got out of school and by widening that opportunity by taking a few extra classes who were there and you know widening the scope of the jobs that will be available to you. Again smart choices.

            if you want to get ahead you can you have to put your mindset together make the right choices make the right sacrifices and go. It’s really that simple that’s all any of my siblings did.

            my oldest brother join the Navy served eight years in the Navy. He lived on a ship he didn’t live off base everything was taken care of he saved as much money as he could and when he got out of the Navy he immediately went into a little bit of a career immediately got into school with his GI Bill and continued to save money and do the right things and he’s the one who actually showed me this can be done. Because I saw he had a plan and he executed that plan.

            Do they go wrong sometimes yep they do. And when they do you make a new plan and you go. And believe it or not it’s really that simple.

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          • Nan says:

            Sorry, Michelle, but I think you’re comparing apples to oranges. Cutting costs to be able to do more or go further is unrelated to true poverty. I’m talking about people who are so poor they’re simply trying to stay alive. Unfortunately, such individuals do exist.

            Let me ask you … do you truly believe the people who live in impoverished nations — where children are skin and bones from lack of food — are simply “making a choice” to remain poor?

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          • They stay. They can leave. They can choose to not bring children into that world and leave first then have kids.

            But I am talking about here in America not the world perse though as I said even there it’s choices. My in-laws left then had kids here not there. They made a choice to leave poverty and it wasn’t easy for them. But they figured it out.

            As for me and poor I’m mostly talking here the land of opportunity. If you are poor in the USA it is because you aren’t choosing to not be. You’ve haven’t committed to a plan to change it.

            So no my post was about the USA no where else. So no it wasn’t posted for the rest of the world.

            But even then in other countries you can make choices that lead you away from where you are. It’s not the same. And no I am not comparing apples to oranges it is the reader who feels a need to disprove my post by doing so as you are right now.

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          • makagutu says:

            I think to Michelle, they can make a choice to save for school when they are dead from malnutrition

            Liked by 1 person

          • makagutu says:

            I don’t think visiting will help Michelle.

            Like

        • makagutu says:

          Wow, Michelle. You are the special kind. Are you even listening to yourself? You write

          Example I do not need to drink beer or soda so I stick to milk and water. I don’t need the newest smart phone. What will you do to live within your means and allow yourself to save money as well. Are you willing to work for years to get that college degree? My brother worked 8 years to get his one or two class at a time. Are you using your money wisely. Let’s talk college. Why attend 25k/ year Penn State when you can go to a community college for 3500lyear? Use that. Get two years and all your electives then transfer for the last year of school at Penn State if that’s where you want to go. So you spend 35,500$ for the same degree you would have spent 100,000 dollars for.

          And I am convinced we are talking about different things. There is no need to have this conversation

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          • I am giving examples how to sp ND less money so you can save some. Sorry you can’t under stand it. There are ways to go to college cheaper than others. There are ways to get your degree for about 7 grand. No need to pay big name schools for it and go into huge debt.

            But you can’t see that? And you say I’m special? Look in the mirror. Milk and water are cheaper than soda and beer. I made points about needs vs wants. /Smh

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          • makagutu says:

            Michelle, it is not about me. I have a college degree, please. You seem unable to separate this broad discussion from yourself. It ain’t. It is broad. I am not trying to get to have hard

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          • Yes it is about broad discussion. If you are poor (financially) and you want out of it. You make a plan, set goals and make good choices that help you get there. I gave seven examples how me and my brothers and sisters did it. It can be done by anyone is my belief. (Barring severe disability or other such thing) but if you are capable and healthy you to can do it.

            You need some money. There are scholorships, grants, and cost saving the rings you can do to get there. As stated my brother didn’t qualify for grants or loans he worked 5 years to get his associate’s one class at a time from the community college. Then got into his field of choice and three more years to get his bachelor’s degree. In those last two years he did get 2 scholorships and a grant in his final year.

            So 1) save money and take classes 2) don’t give up 3) even if you didn’t qualify or were denied this year for scholorships and grants next year you may not so keep applying 4) be sure to make choices that steer you toward your goals.

            Not hard to understand unless you like keeping yourself a victim of birthright. Aka being born poor and staying poor are different things unless you really don’t want to change it.

            I’ve coached many troubled youth in Miami who were poor and many have gone on to improve their lives. That was some of my work I did at the shelter there. These kids were homeless dropouts most of whom had been abused badly or were pregnant and still managed college and escaping poverty. It’s aboutl owning yourself and choosing that you deserve better than pretending you can’t change your world.

            So my point remains valid that you have the power to change your lot in Life and better yourself by setting goals, making a plan and making better choices to get there. I’ve seen it work countless times. It’s not just about me. it’s about putting yourself first and choosing who you want to be and not blaming others or society for where you are.

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          • Nan says:

            Michelle, if you had simply said this … that there are ways to save money so you can do more with your life, then much of what you have written would make sense. But to say all you have to do is pull yourself up by the bootstraps and you will no longer be poor is pure nonsense.

            Liked by 2 people

          • As I said read it and you see I don’t say just work harder. I have repeatedly said decision, planning, goals and making wise choices with money that lead to those goals. I said it takes work, dedication, desire and yes sacrifice. It ain’t free and you can’t keep doing exactly what you do that keeps you poor not even if you do more of it.

            It requires changes in what you view is priority vs luxury. There is a lot to it but it’s not willing it to be true. It’s working a plan to make it come true.

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    • Swarn Gill says:

      I don’t understand how in one breath you talk about the strong family upbringing and focus on education as your advantage was and then admit that not everybody has that advantage, but that somehow they can still choose to get out of poverty. It literally doesn’t make sense. A choice actually isn’t available to you if you don’t know you can make it.

      The impact of poverty on brain development is enormous and might help you understand why people don’t seem to make good choices when they are poor. It’s actually more rational then you think, given what growing in poverty can do.

      https://phys.org/news/2012-11-poverty-people-focus-short-term.html

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5641572/

      https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/11/your-brain-on-poverty-why-poor-people-seem-to-make-bad-decisions/281780/

      There are many more studies you can find on this subject that disproves your central thesis here. In my experience it is often the case that there is some small percent of people who get out of poverty who want to believe that it’s possible everybody can do it the same way they did it. The variables are just too many, from genetics to the role models and influences in one’s life. Evidence suggests you are much more the exception than the rule…this is humanity, there will always be exceptions, and I am happy for exceptional people, but if you think that all people simply have the same ability and choices to get out of their situation, that’s a libertarian Utopian fantasy.

      Liked by 3 people

      • makagutu says:

        I. too. could not wrap my head around those contradictions

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1) I never said everyone has “that” advantage.
        I did however say we all have advantages of our own. I had disadvantages most do not. Being born deaf into a poor family without the means to move me to a school district equipped to teach me. I went to school with all hearing kids and was the only deaf kid in the school. I had other disadvantages as well. But it’s fair to point out I had some advantages like a strong family that focused on education and placed importance on it.

        Everyone has their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s how they choose to leverage the advantages they have.

        I grew up by every article you site poor. My siblings and I were the first generation to even graduate high school. But again we made choices as did my parents in telling us how important school is.

        I also pointed out via example the sacrifices my siblings and I made to get education beyond high school.

        The key difference between us? I believe in people and their ability to affect the life they live. I don’t blame society for keeping me poor. And trust me as native American I certainly could make that argument. But instead I take responsibility for who I am and where I am going. I don’t defer that to others and allow myself to be enslaved to others opinions of me.

        As a result I’ve done time and again what others say couldn’t be done by me. Because of my deafness or race or economic upbringing. I don’t let others define me.

        Every human has that potential. I maybe an optimist but that doesn’t make what I said less true. My in-laws came here with nothing and built a business. My wife took 15 years to get her doctorate. My brother 8 for his bachelor’s. Two families with poverty and they got out. I know others from my old shelter I worked at who have as well.

        Hugs

        Studies would tell you a deaf native American girl coming from what’s labeled as extreme poverty had zero chance in life. They’d be wrong just like any study that blames external factors as rationed reason to limit your success. Only you determine who you are and what you want to be.

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        • Swarn Gill says:

          No one is claiming that your story isn’t inspiring, but again, I don’t know how it can be argued that because you made it, or your brother made it, that everyone can. I don’t know every facet of your life growing up, but I would guarantee that there are important differences as to why you made it while others did not, that have very little to do with others having good choices that they contemplate and then simply deciding to make a bad one.

          I never said everyone has “that” advantage.
          I did however say we all have advantages of our own

          And I never said everyone had that advantage either, but I think you underestimate how important that advantage is. You also have no basis for saying that we all have advantages of our own. I mean how far do you think you would have gotten given a similar situation, but in Saudi Arabia. A female with a disability from a marginalized ethnic group? How far would you have gotten if your parents would have been addicts? I do volunteer work with neglected and abused children. The case I’m on right now there are two children with who both have parents who are addicts. I don’t know much about the father’s background, but both grew up in poverty and while the father makes pretty good money right now he blows it all on cocaine. The mother was sexually abused as a youth, her mother pretended it wasn’t happening. Which makes you really despite the grandmother, until you find out that she has 5 diagnosed mental illnesses experience childhood trauma for which she never received treatment, was beaten by her partner so badly that she lost a twin in the womb, had another partner that was addict who ate through all her money. She was doing quite well for herself at the age of 21. All this on the background of poverty. Now these two kids are lucky because there is a family who are educated and live comfortably financially who are willing to adopt, but this is because the children are quite young. For many they will be bounced around the foster system. Now none of the people in this story are claiming, or acting like victims yet they still make bad decisions. Perhaps dysfunction seems normal to them, I’m no judge. But I can imagine that there aren’t too many people in their life who supported these people like the way your parents supported you.

          Studies would tell you a deaf native American girl coming from what’s labeled as extreme poverty had zero chance in life. They’d be wrong just like any study that blames external factors as rationed reason to limit your success.

          Actually those studies wouldn’t tell you that at all. Such studies are not predicting individual people’s lives, but looking at the probabilities of success given certain economic conditions. Again, nobody is claiming that poverty damns all people to a life of poverty, only that it reduces the opportunities one has for success and that it also patterns thinking in a different way, that often keeps one in their particular economic situation. To tout the success stories that you know and think this represents some formula that everyone can equally apply to their lives just seems odd to me. Now certainly it’s worth understanding what advantages lead to a pattern of success and so studying those who do make it out of poverty matters a great deal, but to suggest that everybody has the right advantages to make it out of their situation is, to me, naive. What you recognize as an advantage for someone, may be something that another person doesn’t even see because of the way their brains have developed. Again, a choice you don’t know you have, isn’t actually a choice. Let me give one more example.

          Let’s say I take an uneducated 12 year old girl from Pakistan (and yes there are all sorts of people who don’t get an education at all) and I present her with two objects that she can have. One is a 24 K gold chain…maybe it’s worth several hundred dollars. The other object is a Wayne Gretzky rookie card. This values at a minimum of $200,000 dollars. Now this girl has never heard of hockey as a sport, never seen it played, and certainly doesn’t know who Wayne Gretzky is. What item is she going to choose? Obviously the gold chain. The only thing she knows that has value. From my point of view, I could say, “Wow, she made a bad decision…she deserves to stay in poverty.” But that would be ignorant for me to say something without recognizing the fact that my education and cultural background puts me in a much different situation than this girl. She can’t make a better choice, because she doesn’t know it is a better choice. Study the brain some time and how it works and perhaps you’ll gain a different perspective.

          Liked by 1 person

          • And once more we are talking about Saudi Arabia. My post is about the United States of America. Please try to keep your posts relevant to the conversation.

            now to say we all don’t have some advantages in our lives is foolish. Some were born with athletic abilities others are born with a fantastic brain others are born into a wealthy family others are born we all are born with advantages and disadvantages. If you learn to use your advantages to get what you want you will be better off. She say people can’t make better choices is also foolish. every human being and I’m not talking about bootstrap I’m not talking about if I just work harder if I just work more I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about every human being has the ability to make choices choices on how to get where they want. They don’t plan to fail but they fail to plan. And too many people are stuck today in the mentality that the world owes me were to everybody else’s fault that my situation is what it is. In America that is not the case.

            and I do volunteer work at a shelter as well in a crisis center where children who have disabilities who have been badly abused who have had all sorts of things go wrong in their lives have come. I have shown them about their choices I have taught many of them how to make better choices and most of them are fairly successful nowadays. many of them have broken the cycle of abuse. Many of them have worked their way out of the situation their parents were in of living paycheck-to-paycheck or even with nothing on welfare. have they all done it know and what I found is the ones that don’t generally want to blame everybody else for why their situation is the way it is. Rather than accepting their position analyzing their abilities making a plan and dedicating yourself to that plan.

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          • Swarn Gill says:

            They don’t plan to fail but they fail to plan. And too many people are stuck today in the mentality that the world owes me were to everybody else’s fault that my situation is what it is. In America that is not the case.

            Clearly you didn’t read the articles I posted to you before. If you did so, you would know that it’s not failing to plan, it’s not knowing that planning is an option or how to plan. If you grow up your entire life living month to month, how do you even learn about long term planning. I know someone who was long term planning, and then there car broke down…they started over…then they long term planned…and then their water heater broke…when you are working hard to save a little bit each month…all it takes is one unexpected emergency to have you start from zero again.

            And yes I know there are success stories among the children I volunteer to help as well, but how many children are you or I reasonably interacting with compared to the totality of people who live in poverty?

            Sure genetically, perhaps everybody has some advantages initially…but genetics isn’t everything, those qualities have to be nurtured. I might have been born with a strong genetic ability for mathematics, but with a series of bad math teachers, that ability would be loss. Again your understanding of brain development and how nurture and nature interact here is missing.

            Your post really doesn’t make it clear that you are only talking about America, but even if you are, I’ll grant that, it’s still far from a realistic view of America. I mean honestly if you were born in 1960, you would be lucky to be educated at all with your disability. Before IDEA in 1975, Wikipedia states:

            “Before the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was enacted in 1975, U.S. public schools accommodated 1 out of 5 children with disabilities. Until that time, many states had laws that explicitly excluded children with certain types of disabilities from attending public school, including children who were blind, deaf, and children labeled “emotionally disturbed” or “mentally retarded.” At the time the EHA was enacted, more than 1 million children in the U.S. had no access to the public school system. Many of these children lived at state institutions where they received limited or no educational or rehabilitation services. Another 3.5 million children attended school but were “warehoused” in segregated facilities and received little or no effective instruction. As of 2006, more than 6 million children in the U.S. receive special education services through IDEA.”

            After that it wouldn’t be until 1990 until legislation was passed to not only require work places to have accommodations for people with disabilities, but to also not discriminate against them for hiring.

            This land of opportunity that you keep talking about has been far from a land of opportunity for many since the Europeans came here. The history of your people since that event has been one of decreasing opportunity for self-determination. Then we have black history, women’s history, LGBQT history, and yes people with disabilities. The opportunities for many people have been few and far between for anybody but white men for so much of our history that it’s unfathomable to me that you seem to think that somehow now everybody is on some sort of magical equal footing. Bringing up Saudi Arabia was simply an extreme example, but doesn’t change my point because there are many microcosms of that sort of repressive culture here. And my example about the girl from Africa not knowing who Wayne Gretzky is, was also me just choosing someone who most assuredly would not know who that person was, but there are certainly people in America who probably don’t know either and would make the same choice. The point of the example was to illustrate that people can’t make choices they don’t know they have.

            Your thesis here is based on nothing but anecdotal evidence. It is not supported by any scientific or historical evidence. The fact that you continue to argue from a logically fallacious position is surprising. Sure be proud of what you’ve accomplished and what your family accomplished, but to assume that this could be everybody’s story is incredibly naive.

            Liked by 2 people

          • And I never said anybody deserves to stay in

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          • And I never see anybody deserves to stay in poverty. And as far as bad choices okay she chose the gold chain. But again when I talked about having Thanksgiving to you and we’re not talking about Pakistan. I am talking about is the United States of America and when you take a 12 year old kid who comes into your shelter homeless because they were beaten at home every day and because I had such a horrible life that living on the streets was better than living at home and you teach that child education is your key to being better than your parents better than your lot in life and better than the station you think you were given. If they didn’t grab that opportunity and run with it they’ve made a wise choice if they walk away then they made a poor choice and I would continue to try to get them to look at their choices and to make better choices. every single human being who lives in America has the opportunity to better themselves that is the way of this nation. It’s are you willing to grab it and run with it.

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          • makagutu says:

            This is so well said Swarn. I don’t think there is anything to add.

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  2. Barry says:

    I agree that poverty is relative and also that striving to not be poor is no guarantee that I will avoid poverty any more than striving to be an All Black will guarantee I’ll make it into our national Rugby team.

    I would also make the observation that where the disparity of wealth is increasing, as it is in NZ, the anger and antisocial attitudes seem to become more intense.

    Liked by 4 people

    • makagutu says:

      that striving to not be poor is no guarantee that I will avoid poverty any more than striving to be an All Black will guarantee I’ll make it into our national Rugby team.

      this is it

      Liked by 1 person

    • But you can strive to change your situation. Blaming others and doing nothing means you stay right where you are. While being “All Black” will not get you a spot on the only rugby team you named. Hard work, practice and dedication may get you on A rugby team. But sitting on the sidelines eating junk food and never working out no matter what what else you do or are will not. Again choices. You want to play rugby then put in the work to play. Take the chances given even if it’s not the team or level of play you wanted. Work up from there.

      I surf. I work hard, practice often and keep myself in shape to compete. These are choices I made to get to a goal I set. So just like getting out of poverty it’s goals, priorities and choices. Set goals, make them priorities, and make choices that lead to those goals. Break big goals down into smaller ones and start working them.

      I’m poor (goal I don’t want to be)
      Smaller goal get associate’s degree
      (If in high school better grades means more opportunities)
      1 get job (seek out grants and scholarships)
      ++You can keep seeking grants and scholarships every six months don’t quit
      2 save money and attend college
      Wait college is expensive but oh look community college is 1/8 the the cost of big name schools I’ll get my associates from there! (See reply above)

      Ok I have a degree I get a better job(look for one that will help with further educations.

      Keep making new goals..including beginning to save money.

      See all about choices and you can and will better your lot in life.

      Like

      • Barry says:

        You do realise, that you have described a skill set for yourself that not everyone has. And just as being much larger, heavier and faster than average is a prerequisite to get into any rugby team, even in high school, not everyone has the executive or social skills nor what might be called grit and determination to “succeed” in the type of society much of the developed has become.

        Opportunity plays a very big part in one’s chances in succeeding. If you come from a broken, anti-social, uneducated background, the mountain you must climb to get out of the situation is much higher than for someone who started off from a a more privileged position. Not everyone has the ability, or stamina to make the climb.

        For a while I helped out at a local church group that provided free meals every Friday evening to the socially deprived. I can assure you, that most were indeed very hard working at whatever they set out to do, including the desire to give their children a better life than they themselves have. Almost without exception they lacked at least one skill that is necessary to succeed financially in this country, and it would take an exceptional set of circumstances for that to change.

        If all it took to get out of the poverty trap was determination, then I doubt very much that the wealth of one’s parents would be the most significant factor in determining one’s own. To quote from the Wikipedia page on social mobility in the USA: “A child born to parents with income in the lowest quintile is more than ten times more likely to end up in the lowest quintile than the highest as an adult (43 percent versus 4 percent). And, a child born to parents in the highest quintile is five times more likely to end up in the highest quintile than the lowest (40 percent versus 8 percent)”.

        Don’t forget that the current economic model employed by most of the world requires a level of unemployment in order to function in the interests of the the wealthy. That level seems to be 4% – 5% of the working age population. I grew up in an era of full employment (less than 0.5% unemployed), and poverty was almost unknown. There would always be a government job if others were unavailable. Reforms since the 1970s has seen unemployment rise to as high as 15% and currently sits at a little over 4%, which is considered the “ideal” level to keep wages and inflation under control. The system is designed to ensure a small number of people remain in relative poverty. It doesn’t matter how many people manage to climb out of poverty, the system will ensure that others will take their place.

        Liked by 2 people

        • According to the us bureau of labor the lowest ever US unemployment rate was 1943 1.9% 1944 1.2% 1945 1.9% and 1952 2.7%. it has never been lower than 1.2% and that was before women entered the work force in large numbers. So .5% is unrealistic sorry.

          Census bureau reports poverty by population at it’s lowest in 1943 at 9%. Today it’s 13.5% and highest was 15.9%. so just because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

          Hugs

          As for the rest I have faith on people and in our creativity. I believe in your ability to better yourself. Sorry I’m an optimist.

          Like

          • Barry says:

            I don’t live in the USA, so those statistics have little relevance to the situation I described. I also wonder how poverty is defined in the USA. I doubt very much that it is in any way related to that defined by the United Nations. Here, 1 in 5 children are considered to be below the poverty line, but I suspect if the US model was applied here, there would be significantly fewer children considered to be in that situation.

            At one time our government was the largest employer in the country, and the economy was highly regulated, which is why full employment could be achieved. Charities to assist the disadvantaged were very few and far between. Most communities didn’t have them as they weren’t needed. That situation doesn’t exist today. Today charities struggle to meet demand.

            I’m not saying all the regulation was a good thing, just that there was no inter-generational poverty as there is today. We were also a very egalitarian society – more so than any other nation. Unfortunately that is no longer true. Our perspectives are different because our backgrounds are very different.

            I too am an optimist, but that doesn’t change the reality of the situation, and don’t forget that for many in difficult situations, any optimism they had has been knocked out of them. Choice is a relatively minor factor in determining whether or not one is in a situation of poverty. I’m optimistic that we can modify the system so that it can become more of the egalitarian nature that people of my generation, and older, are more familiar with. Whether or not that is possible, is yet to be determined, but it’s worth the effort of finding out.

            And no hugs please. Even virtual ones make me nauseous.

            Liked by 1 person

          • The US is what my entire point is about. That is my view not other nations I’m not familiar with. So apples and oranges.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I am highly skeptical of a more egalitarian future.

            Like

          • Barry says:

            I think it vital. Have you noticed that social unrest increases with social disparity. Either we somehow make society more equitable, or resort to authoritarianism to maintain law and order. If there are better solutions, I’m all ears.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I have noticed and I agree with you. But it seems day in day out, politicians are developing policies that make the situation worse

            Liked by 1 person

          • Barry says:

            As it’s the voter that put politicians into power, It makes one wonder why so many of us vote for the old politicians with the same old policies and still expect a new result.

            Liked by 1 person

          • makagutu says:

            good question and one that i would love to hear answers for.
            in fact, we vote for people we know are unqualified and then complain

            Liked by 1 person

        • makagutu says:

          Maybe if all people need to get out of poverty is determination and choice, World Bank should close shop or just send people text messages to make the choice to stop being poor

          Liked by 1 person

  3. judyt54 says:

    Poverty is not a choice, but defining what poverty or being poor, is, on a personal basis. And not all people see it the same way. My husband’s family grew up poor, on both sides, and I don’t think they thought of themselves as poor, they just didn’t have a lot of money left over at the end of the week. Sometimes there was none.
    I have a friend who has spent quality time living in a car with his wife, and seemed to bear up under it with amazing grace and patience. He is now in his own practice, and has a nearly grown child. Money, to them, is to be used, not salted away for the future, because the future is tomorrow, not 20 years from now.

    It’s how you view where you are.

    I get incredibly annoyed by people who are well off enough to afford that fourth camera, or a second car, or a trip to the West Indies for two weeks, crying about how poor they are. I wonder if they fear the skygod who will take away the money they have, if he thinks they have too much…

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      there are people who at the beginning of the week don’t even have money. and again, if everyone around you is poor you might not know or feel poor, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

    • your friend made choices and sacrifices and now he has better his lot. That is exactly what I said above.

      As for poor I didn’t think we were poor but I knew I wanted a different life than I had free of hunting, fishing just to eat. I wanted to have money and I knew I needed a plan to get it. I built my goals, around that grand plan.

      Now I most certainly am not poor financially and I am not poor in any other way either. It took a while but now I have the things I want, the life I want and it was all about choices including the things I gave up to get here.

      I had a 200$ car that I had to keep fixing and it was never new parts and often was more a patch than a repair. But my father taught me how to work on cars so I kept it running. I lived in my car for a while as well. These were things I was willing to do in order to get where I wanted to be.

      Hugs you just restated what I said 🙂

      Like

      • judyt says:

        You speak about choices and making new goals. You are talking about people who have a choice on anything. True poverty gives you the choice of buying soap (if you can afford it) or eating once a day. If you can afford it.
        True poverty is sometimes living in a junk car for shelter with two kids and a sick spouse. Not driving it, because it doesn’t run, just living in it.

        True poverty is not about which cellphone to buy, or which college to apply to. Its about literally surviving. It is not about community colleges but about finding a job at ANYTHING.

        You had a car that ran. you could afford to replace parts. We are talking about No Money for anything. There are no choices.

        Liked by 2 people

        • And we lived in a car with a pregnant mom my father and three children. Trust me I do know poverty. And it’s still about the choices you make to try and better yourself. I e rather than living in that car go to a shelter. They’ll provide you soap and food. You can look for work. There are choices.

          We as humans have brains to figure things out and we can make choices. So every example you gave me there are still choices.

          Like

        • and I had a car that ran that I spent two hundred bucks on and most the time I was ban dating it rather than replacing parts. I took the carburetor apart twice and cleaned it because I couldn’t afford to replace it.

          And I had no money coming in and I had saved some while I was working and going to high school and that was the money I was living in while looking for my next opportunity for work. But I made choices I could have easily afford to get into an apartment right away but then I might have run out of money.

          Not only is my parents live in a car with a pregnant wife and three children but they actually hunted and fished for their food or they didn’t eat. and I had to do that at night because it was illegal otherwise.

          Like

          • Nan says:

            I had a car that ran that I spent two hundred bucks on … — And where did the $200 come from? And more to the point … where did the car come from?

            You. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I earned it. I earned money minimum wage and saved. That’s where it came from. It had lots of Mike’s and was many years old. My car was older than me. But it’s what I could afford and still follow my plan I had set. Most of which was fluid and could change as needed. But yes thank you I earned money and bought what I could afford and not impact my plan so badly. I had saved 5,000$ over the years working. It was enough for a 200$ car, one year at community college and books. I knew I still needed a job to be able to eat and if I wanted out of the car. I was prepared to live in that car through school.

            Now contrast when I started stripping I was making more money than I had in the bank in a single week. Did I blow it? No I kept my beater car, I saved money and I moved into a dorm style apartment. One room, shared bathroom. Could I now afford better? Yup. But I knew I didn’t want to strip forever. So I saved most of what I made. It set me up to live always above my parents standard of living because I saved it.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            She is committed herself to not getting it.

            I don’t even know where to start with her

            Liked by 1 person

  4. jim- says:

    The idea of bootstrappping is only true if opportunity presents itself and someone is there to help. There are exceptions by some exceptional people, but we are not all exceptional. Is there room for us/them as people in society too?

    Liked by 3 people

    • makagutu says:

      Indeed, there are exceptional people. But you and I know that those are outliers

      Liked by 2 people

      • basenjibrian says:

        And I think the biggest long term issue is society and the economy and technology is evolving so that only the “exceptional” can make it. There is no place for a strong back and hard work. Even if every person could be a “software engineer”, the relentless cost cutting of modern turbo capitalism means that your software job could be easily off-shored to a poor but educated country in a moment (it is harder, actually, to move a factory to Bangladesh than it would be to move a few office cubicles for programmers). And much of this work will be increasingly automated anyway. I look at the towers in Silicon Valley and wonder how much demand for these thousands of workers will be sustainable.

        Michelle may be inspiring, but she is also a bit Pollyannaish. And, as others have noted, what about the people who are not exceptional? Should a society only reward the top few, leaving misery for the remainder? Is there room for ordinary people who may have other priorities in life than 80 hour work weeks and amazing social skills for the schmoozing and network building we are told we all need?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Os my brother martin got a job at a steel fabricating plant, got a certificate from a trade school for welding and bettered his lot. He started in the plant with no skills and hard work and a strong back. After his degree he still works hard and still uses his strong back but he lives a far better life than we grew up in.

          Hugs

          Like

          • basenjibrian says:

            And that is wonderful and worthy of praise. But, increasingly, such opportunities will be fewer and fewer. Which was my main point that you ignored. What happens to the steel fabricators when everything moves to 3-D printing? There are millions of truck drivers. Hard working, demanding people that do not earn what they deserve. I am skeptical about how quickly it will occur, but the conventional wisdom says automated self-driving trucks are coming.

            Like

          • You learn a new skill set. /Shrug
            Such is progress and has always been. Black Smith’s used to make steel items now made in Mass at factories.
            It is the way of the world.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            People keep saying innovate, train to do something else. At the same time companies are working so hard at replacing the human element from their operations. This is going to be interesting in a few years to come

            Like

        • makagutu says:

          These issues you raise and the fact that there are places I know, so poor, they have no schools and shit. This thread has been such an illuminating story.

          Liked by 1 person

    • There is room for everyone. And if opportunity does not present itself then make your own.
      Hugs

      Like

      • jim- says:

        Have you ever been depressed or had mental illness? Does it work when people just tell someone to snap out of it, get off your ass and just go make it happen? This is the struggle with being forced into a distasteful way of economy. In many ways I respect those that can’t, or won’t participate. Is there room for those that just aren’t driven to money? Your comment is bootstrapping, just reworded.

        Liked by 3 people

        • No my comments not bootstrapping. There’s a difference between just say no I’m going to pull up my boots and do this versus making practical and sensible choices that make a difference long term for you. And there are those they’re happy with the money they’re at making and they’re not poor because they’re happy where they are. but if you’re not happy where you are and you want a better financial situation there are ways to get there. Those ways include education. and there are ways to get your education cheaper than going to a big-name college which I pointed out. It’s about making smart decisions in the short-term including some sacrifices potentially it will make a difference for you long term. You said a long-term goal then you put a plan in place of how to get there. Now if I were very poor in a single mom I got cable I don’t need cable maybe by not having cable and not having a couple of the luxuries I can afford to take online classes that might better my current financial situation. It’s about the choices you make to get to your long-term goals and you can get there from anywhere in life. it’s about relying on yourself it’s about making wise choices and it’s about setting the plan and getting there. There’s a difference than just oh I’ll work harder or I’ll work more those aren’t always options. but I have a brother that worked two jobs when he wasn’t in school one full-time job when he was in school and it took him eight years to get his bachelor’s degree. But you earned it Lock stock & barrel and yes he was married and yes they had a child during some of that time. Did it slow him down yes it did. But did it stop him? No it did not.

          so as you can see there’s a difference between bootstrapping which is I’m just going to work harder. And what I’m saying where I’m going to make choices that will benefit my life long term and possibly sacrifices now that would benefit me long-term and get me to where I want to be. There’s a huge difference

          Like

          • jim- says:

            Your comment, although pretty good is a perfect illustration of what one has to go through to “enjoy” this way of economy. I hope you see the point in trying to make. Your brother may have just worked his way up to taskmaster in the slave camp, but he’s still in the slave camp.

            Liked by 1 person

          • If you feel you’re a slave change it. In this country you’re free to go where you like. Any other form of economy can’t sustain itself forever. Because the alternative is rewarding doing nothing. Want a slave economy my in-laws came from Russia. His wife waited in line for breakfast, then again for lunch, then again for dinner. He worked and everything he did went to others. Test collective. All got feed weather they worked or not. It just made everyone equally poor.

            Here you can make as much as you like and you can sit at where ever you are wanting to in the financial levels. Are my kids benefiting from my hard work? Yup. They don’t worry about school or medical or anything else. Did they earn it? Nope. But I’m happy to be in the position to help them a position I was not offered or afforded.

            So I’ll take this of anything else. If you aren’t happy here my best advice move to where you will be happy. /Shrug

            I worked, used my talents and gifts and I like where I am. I am now and have been for a while in position to make positive changes via charities. I’m also in a position to provide a life for my children that I could never have dreamed of.

            Made a plan, set my goals and executed them. That is the key to financial freedom here personally I could retire now at age 35 but that is not who I am.

            So where all I could give before was my time and energy to causes I wanted to support now I give that and financial resources as well.

            If what I live is slavery then oh well. I’ll take this over breadlines and no one having any chance to be better.

            Why do you think the world calls the opportunity here the American dream. No where else is seen that way. There is no UK dream, no Russian dream, no Arabian dream. Why is that? Simple answer is because my my siblings and I everyone can make a path that makes them happy.

            Hugs

            Like

          • jim- says:

            Breadlines is the other solution? See the slavery connection. Forced labor for a “bit” better way of life? What is “better” than being able to live simply if one chooses.

            Liked by 1 person

          • You are free to live simple. You are free to live how you wish. Here in the US is one of the few places you have that….(here is that word again) choice.

            You aren’t poor if you are living simple by choice. So my comment wouldn’t apply would it?

            Like

          • jim- says:

            Is your comment accounting for inflation? The house I bought for $40,000 in ‘84 is now worth 300,000. Wages are virtually unchanged. The taxes on the house are now more than the payments ever were. Live simply if you choose, but work like hell to live simply or someone else will be living in your house. Your comment is at odds with how the system operates

            Like

          • Wages unchanged? I’ve seen raises every year. I own a beach house in Florida a 4 bedroom condo in Hawaii and purchased my parents home in Maine so they would have money in their old age.

            As I said I am no longer poor by any standard of the word. All done by choices I made to better my life. So yes my comment still applies.

            According to social security the average wages in 1984 was 15,250.75 the average in 2017 was 48,251.57. that is not stagnant.

            Hugs

            Like

          • jim- says:

            Carpenters like myself made $12 in 84 and had a house, two kids and 2 cars. Carpenters around here now make $15 to $18. “If” you want to keep up in the system and “if” you want to go to college and can afford it (that’s another rip-off story in the current version) then sure, you can make good money. That is not living simple. That’s spending your life working without really living.

            Like

          • I explained how to get your fancy degree cheaper..

            Like

          • Penn State is 25k plus books and board 40k per year 160k for 4 year degree. But the local community college is 3500 a year plus books(used) and stay at home. Go there two years get associate’s (start working) go another year get all electives and a few more core classes. Total spent 10500$. Now go to Penn State spend only 50k for the same name brand degree as others spent 160k for. Wow I just made it a lot more affordable..

            Like

          • Ps. That is what I mean by smart choices.

            Like

          • jim- says:

            I don’t have any debt and already have gone to college. Your pretty off topic. Of course one can do that. What if they don’t want to be in the rat race? They are forced by the overuse and consumption of a distasteful system to keep up or be on the street. Don’t you see a problem with that? Btw, not everyone is so able.

            Like

          • If they don’t want to then they weren’t forced. They made a choice to not.

            Again choices. And I never once suggested there are not people who need help because they aren’t able. I gave away an obscene amount last year (yes I made more than I gave away but gave away a ton of money to charities) but even there look at the bottom line. Red Cross only gets 50 cents on the dollar to people who need it. Your local shelter is usually into the 85 to 90 cent range.

            So we aren’t talking about those unable just those unwilling.

            Like

        • Ps yes I struggle with mental illness aka depression. It comes and goes. But even that I’ve learned there are triggers and warning signs and if I need my body I can avoid the worst of it. Manage expectations everywhere in life …

          Liked by 1 person

        • makagutu says:

          I am not even talking about those who don’t want to be in the rat race. there are people so poor they don’t have the resources to not play in games

          Liked by 1 person

  5. john zande says:

    The definition is important. Bhutan is one of the poorest nations on earth, yet it’s people are not impoverished.

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      Yes, the definition is very important but elusive

      Liked by 1 person

    • I used poor as my definition we had no money. We grew food, hunted, fished and raised animals. That’s how we ate. But that is only one from of poor. Spiritually, mentally, love wise I was and am wealthy beyong words or reason.
      Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • john zande says:

        True, true, and true. I think this is why Bhutan used the Gross Happiness Index to guage the health of the country as opposed to GDP.

        Liked by 1 person

        • judyt says:

          Michelle, your family grew food, hunted, fished and raised animals. You did not live in a big city in a shared tent in the slums. There are few animals in a city for the poor to hunt and eat. You wouldn’t want to eat any fish you caught there, even if you could find a pond, or a fishing pole. Your sense of reality stops at the edge of the forest, sorry.

          There was a time not that long ago when kids earned money (and adults too) by delivering papers, by running errands for shops, by selling lemonade, or working for farmers and shop keepers. My dad had a small blueberry farm, and he used to hire kids as young as 11 and 12 to work for him. He said anyone over 16 was worthless, because they had a driver’s license and could choose to be somewhere else. Then the laws changed and people could no longer hire kids under 18 to work for them. Our small local blueberry industry which involved anyone with land and a winnowing machine, dried up totally. A lot of poor families got a lot poorer. It was not a ‘choice’ to work or not work, it was a mandate.
          and it’s not even about ‘being poor and choosing to be not poor”. It’s surviving.

          Liked by 1 person

    • basenjibrian says:

      Bhutan is always held up as an exemplar, and it seems to be an amazing place! But it is also a theocracy that decided to expel 20% of its population as insufficiently pure ethnically:

      In the 1990s, Bhutan expelled or forced to leave most of its ethnic Lhotshampa population, one-fifth of the country’s entire population, demanding conformity in religion, dress, and language. Lhotshampas were arrested and expelled from the country and their property was expropriated.

      A harassment campaign escalating in the early 1990s ensued, and afterwards Bhutanese security forces began expelling people.

      According to the UNHCR, more than 107,000 Bhutanese refugees living in seven camps in eastern Nepal have been documented as of 2008. After many years in refugee camps, many inhabitants are now moving to different host nations such as Canada, Norway, the UK, Australia, and the US as refugees. The US has admitted 60,773 refugees from fiscal years 2008 through 2012.

      The Nepalese government does not permit citizenship for Bhutanese refugees, so most of them have become stateless. Careful scrutiny has been used to prevent their relatives from getting ID cards and voting rights. Bhutan considers political parties associated with these refugees to be illegal and terrorist in nature. Human rights groups initially claimed the government interfered with individual rights by requiring all citizens, including ethnic minority members, to wear the traditional dress of the ethnic majority in public places. The government strictly enforced this law in Buddhist religious buildings, government offices, schools, official functions, and public ceremonies.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, here’s where I, and my awesome political platform comes in! As you may know, I’m running for the Senate in 2020 on the following platform: We need to rid America of the pestilence that is poverty by building gas chambers and crematoriums throughout our great country to “get rid” of the poor, the elderly and the disabled, ain’t nuttin WORSE than a poor AND disabled person,BTW, by gassing and cremating the lazy bastards ASAP.

    I’m SICK and tired of the poor! It is SO obvious that the poor are poor by choice due to their laziness. This is simply NOT arguable. Anyone arguing otherwise is a leftist, liberal piece of SJW crap. Period. We also need to make America a Christian theocracy and put an end to the craziness that is gay marriage and gay “people” in general. Being gay, like being poor, is a conscious choice done by lazy people who refuse to do the work necessary to be true, God-loving, decent, non-poor, non-disabled, tax-paying, Jesus- worshiping, heterosexual human beings. Again, these are facts and are inerrant in their truth. To deny this is to admit ones own laziness and to brand oneself as a liberal, leftist, snowflake, whining, Hillary-loving, anti-American hack.

    To conclude, America will never be free for decent, non-poor, non-gay, Christian humans until enough gas chambers and crematoriums are built to “eliminate” the blight of these lazy bastards from the face of the earth. This can best be done under the all-loving embrace of a Christian theocratic government where the love of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is placed above the hideous laziness that the poor, the gay, and the disabled represent.

    MAFA. Make America Free Again. Gas and cremate the poor, the gay, the non-Christian, the disabled and, most importantly, the poor, gay, non-Christian disabled people who tarnish America’s greatness with their lazy stench.
    Yours in Christ’s love, The Arm Chair Pontificator.

    P.S. I forgot to mention, we also need to gas and cremate anyone seeking or talking about getting or performing an abortion. These LAZY people, if you can call them that, clearly do not deserve the love of Christ or to be anywhere near true, decent, Jesus-loving Americans. Have a lovely day, and remember to vote for me in 2020 so we can begin to bring my dream of a pure, non-lazy America to fruition. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      Jeff, some whacko might just run off this platform of yours and it will be downhill from there

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’M running on it, brother. 🙂

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          I will vote for you

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks. All of the things I mention here are things I’ve actually heard others say. I’m exaggerating only slightly, and I’ve yet to hear the “the poor are poor by choice” types argue strongly against my platform here. After all, if the 90 plus percent of folks who remain stuck in poverty are, according to the “poverty is a deliberate choice” folks, choosing to stay in poverty, surely they are all boils on our society and need to be wiped out. Right? This thought also goes with the “being gay is a choice” folks. If you’re religious, and believe gay folks are a bane in our society and CHOOSING to be so, why not wipe them out? After all, they are deliberately CHOOSING to ruin society. Right?

            The line between saying all of the world’s poor are poor simply by choice and are too lazy to change, leads very quickly to the thought of, “how then can we eliminate these people most efficiently,” IMO.

            There are always outliers who, for whatever reason, escape poverty and their environmental conditions. This, however, is NOT the norm, and to judge those stuck in poverty on anomalies and outliers is not only not fair, it is outright immoral.

            Liked by 2 people

          • makagutu says:

            This

            There are always outliers who, for whatever reason, escape poverty and their environmental conditions. This, however, is NOT the norm, and to judge those stuck in poverty on anomalies and outliers is not only not fair, it is outright immoral.

            is the real meat. Most people live and die in poverty and not because of their own choosing. To say to remain in poverty is a choice is demeaning.

            Liked by 4 people

          • I agree. Personally, due to a disability, I’m rather stuck, not in total poverty, but very close to it, and I can abso-fucking-lutely tell you, it is NOT my fucking choice to be here. I’ve worked in social services for decades, as well, and I’ve seen abject poverty up close. I’ve never known anyone to get out of it, and I can fucking assure you, these were not lazy, weak-willed people nor did they want to be in poverty. There are a myriad of reasons for poverty. Laziness and choice are the least among them. We can not judge everyone else by our own, personal, experiences because each person and each person’s circumstances are unique to them. Until we’ve walked in the shoes of another, it is best to reserve our judgment upon them until we have at least tried to understand them more fully.

            Liked by 2 people

          • makagutu says:

            There’s nothing that I can add to

            Until we’ve walked in the shoes of another, it is best to reserve our judgment upon them until we have at least tried to understand them more fully.

            Liked by 1 person

          • To say they remain poor is not demeaning. You can choose to better your situation. What are you willing to do to achieve that?

            I lived in a car for a while, drove a beater and stripped for a living until I figured out stripping paid very well. But even that I planned how to do it right. Find a club in a tourist area. (No need to rely as much on locals then.) Get into the club and move up to the better nights.

            I got shit work at first but it didn’t take long I moved to a regular. But before applying I did some amatuers competitions to figure things out. I watched others and I learned. Again choices and what are you willing to do to get where you want to go.

            All seven of my mother’s children live different and I ways better lives now. Choices made and lessons learned. Sacrifice and hard work, setting goals, and making a plan.

            Hugs

            Everyone can do it.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I lived in a car for a while, drove a beater and stripped for a living until I figured out stripping paid very well

            I don’t think we are in the same page. We are talking in cross purpose

            Liked by 2 people

          • No we are talking about the things I was willing to do to save money so I could get the things I needed for my future. College was important enough I needed to save money and I saved it by not driving an exp naive car, sleeping in said car and got a job some find not desirable.

            Then that job paid more than I expected or hoped and I was able to quickly save enough to get out of sleeping in my car. But I slept in it for about six or seven weeks. If I want d school I had to have money and that meant sacrifices. I was already spending all the money I’d earned in highschool for my first semester at school.

            It’s as I’ve been saying choices. What things will you do to better yourself and improve your financial position?

            Like

  7. shelldigger says:

    Hell I’ve been in so many circumstances where poor people were better off than we were. There was a point in time I was homeless. Well I had an old pickup truck that got me around, I slept in it, and I cleaned up in a service station bathroom, did my laundry at the laundromat on the weekends. But hey I had a job and worked every day. I didn’t feel homeless, it never even crossed my mind. I did what I had to do to get by. This was in Oklahoma City and I was maybe 17 at the time living on my own.

    Wound up coming home (Tn.) eventually, and the truth of that is I was basically better off where I was at. But opportunity knocked eventually and I answered the damn door. I took off on my diving advenutres and made my way.

    Right now married with kids darn well grown, have a decent place on 5 acres almost paid for, driving a nice car, heat and air works, have indoor plumbing by gosh and cable tv, oh and there is food in the fridge. We are damn well doing alright. We are far from well off. But we are making do comfortably.

    Poverty isn’t just being poor. I’ve been poor, and generally didn’t feel impoverished. Again we did what we had to do to get by. Still do. I think some people know how to get by with little, and some people let the oppression of poor weigh them down to the point of giving up. I have felt that oppression, it is a heavy weight, but my attitude has always been to just do what needs doing to survive. I don’t give up. If I did I’d have been dead a long time ago.

    There is more to poverty than being poor. I think it requires a few things to get out of poverty. It takes grit first of all. It takes recognizing an opportunity and being brave enough to take it. It takes help sometimes. My aunt helped me get an outboard engine many years ago when she heard I made 200 bucks one day just working right out from the boat ramp. (I had already earned my way to getting all the dive gear I needed, and a boat, but the outboard crapped out on me. I didn’t let that stop me, hell no, I launched the boat and took off from there and made a decent day) I paid her back by the way. That outboard opened up the fricking world for me at that time.

    Help at certain times makes all the difference. But you can’t just rely on help, you never know when that will run out. That’s where grit and determination come in. You can have one, you can have the other, but it takes a little of both to climb out of that well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      I am not ruling out the role of determination. Sometimes hardworking people end up in poverty because of things they can’t control and help is important. Luck is important.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shelldigger says:

        That is true as well. Most of us are a broken leg away from losing everything.

        (This was several years ago)
        My wife had severe abdominal pain, went to the H, they kept her overnight, then sent her to a better H. They had her a week, doing ultrasounds/MRI’s, DAILY, trying to figure out what the problem was. They finally said they were going to do exploratory surgery to see if they could find the cause. They split her open like a damn cantelope, and found an abcessed appendix, and gobs of infection spread through her intestines. They took the appendix, did what they could do with the infection. And she got better.

        All said and done $120,000 bill. Bankruptcy was the only option.

        Luck is important whether it be good or bad.

        Liked by 1 person

      • judyt says:

        And Michelle, you talk about ‘choosing to better yourself’. Not everyone has that choice, dear. Their choice is to eat now and then. Think about that. College, and god help us “a better degree” is an insane and very privileged statement.

        Like

    • Grit. Interesting choice of words.

      You were not lucky. You made choices and you took chances. You made plans, some worked some didn’t and that is exactly what I said. Choices you made to persue a plan.

      You’ve gotten to a better place than you were because you choose to do so. Could you get to a better place still? If that is what you want and choose yes. But you are happy there and that is all that matters. You know where you came from and you choose to get where you are.

      As for help I’m glad your aunt helped. There were other ways to get there that where available but that was your way. Could have gotten a loan, saved and gotten it yourself later, work d for someone else and earn them giving you a shot on your own boat.

      The attitude that I will do better, I would be here all my life, that over there is where I’m heading. Then planning and execution come in. You did all those things.

      Hugs

      Don’t discredit your choices that got you where you are right now.

      Like

  8. renudepride says:

    I agree with your determination that how we each define poverty affects our response to the condition. Far too often, too many define poverty as some sort of “birthright” that we are unable to change. In my view, nothing is further from the truth. Naked hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. My personal experience might be helpful here. I came from a dysfunctional and unstable lower middle class family which frequently fell into poverty. After some early struggles which woke me up to the reality of living in a highly competitive society, I pushed myself to become modestly successful through sheer determination.along with some natural skill. My siblings weren’t so lucky. The girls were raised in a culture that expected them to get married and raise children. Once their marriages failed, they were unprepared and unsuited for working careers.

    In my opinion, circumstances are far more determinative of poverty than are choices and ability. For every person (such as myself) who does lift themselves up, there are many more who don’t. If society chooses to discard them like garbage, it has committed a crime against humanity.

    Liked by 6 people

    • $Amen$ to that, brother.

      Liked by 3 people

    • makagutu says:

      this

      In my opinion, circumstances are far more determinative of poverty than are choices and ability

      i agree with fully

      Liked by 3 people

    • Society does not choose who you are. Yes they were expected that do x but they choose to follow expectation. Again choices made.

      Once marriage feel apart they had other choices they could make. No one is unsuited to work if they are healthy. Do we have disabled who are poor? Yup I’m deaf and acording to the government I was poor. I made my opportunities and used the gifts I had from birth. We can all use the gifts we have and get where we want to be. It might not happen over night but it can and will. Don’t fail to plan..
      Hug

      Like

      • I completely disagree. Circumstances largely dictate who a person is. Those who reject their own life circumstances and choose a bolder path are the exception, not the rule. My sisters were raised to be domestic. They were raised to be child-bearers and to be the focus of the family. Their intellect and independence were discouraged. When they were eventually thrust into competitive society, they simply couldn’t adapt. How anyone cannot appreciate this shows me a lack of human compassion.

        Liked by 2 people

      • judyt says:

        oh michelle, you just refuse to get it, don’t you.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          She is committed to not getting it. If she was a politician or an apologist for religion, I would say her pay depended on it so maybe she wouldn’t have to get it

          Like

  10. Nan says:

    Poverty is NOT a choice. Further, it is far easier for some people to find their way out of poverty than it is for others. In this country, black people especially have a much more difficult time escaping their situation. And for those born in economically deprived countries? Tell them it’s a “choice!”

    Liked by 6 people

    • makagutu says:

      And for those born in economically deprived countries? Tell them it’s a “choice!

      You will be run out of town very fast. It is the classic failure of understanding what it is poverty does to people

      Liked by 2 people

      • You choose to stay. That’s a choice. Get up, get out.

        My wife’s parents were immagrents to here and had nothing when they arrived. They built a life here and left poverty and lack of opportunity behind.

        Again choose better you’re worth it.
        Hugs

        Like

        • basenjibrian says:

          My god, Michelle. Don’t you pay any attention to the news? The rich countries DON’T WANT the Third World immigrants any more. They don’t need as much cheap, unskilled labor, unskilled immigration depresses working class wages for everyone (some argue), and right wing politicians are running and winning on horrific anti-immigrant policies.

          But Michelle off in her Stylish La-La Land just blithely opines that the poors in Africa and Latin America are just to lazy to immigrate to the wondrous opportunities in the developed world! My god, woman.

          Liked by 3 people

          • My post is about poor in America as that is my point of reference it is you guys who keep pushing a false narrative about my point. But yes even outside America you can make choices to benefit yourself like leave where you are perhaps. I hold no malfeasance toward the poor anywhere. But too many choose to stay where they are rather than improve themselves here in America.

            I am far from “right wing” and I am a believer in the human spirit and our ability to make positive changes that impact our lives. I believe in you as a person which those who want to blame others seem to not.

            As for the rich. Rather than hate them I decided to try and become them. A model to aspire to at least financially.

            So again stick to the refference points this is about America and the land of opportunity we live in. Those who live here and are poor can change their lives. They can get out of poverty. It’s not about equality of outcome but it is about the equality of opportunity. Not all have the same opportunities but all have some opportunities and it’s about leveraging your skill set to affect positive change in your financial condition.

            Welfare is not a hand up like it should be no it’s a hand out meant to keep you poor here in the states and there is something wrong with that.

            As for unskilled labor. Aquire a skill because you have tallents and you should leverage them. Once you take control of you I can say your life will improve. It will improve everywhere even financially. So I have faith in my fellow humans, something you seem to lack.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I think we find ourselves in a situation where we are having a debate with someone whose view of the world is limited to the island where she lives. And there’s nothing wrong with that. To claim it applies everywhere is to be very ignorant of the world in which billions of people live

            Liked by 2 people

    • I am Lakota aka native American. Six of my siblings were born on the reservation. Trust me few people’s have it harder that native Americans. Go to Harlem or the worst places in chicago then visit pine ridge.

      I am also deaf and the school district we could afford to live in had very little they could help give me for my education so it was all on me to sink or swim.

      It is most certainly a choice to remain poor. Make a plan, set goals, be ready to sacrifice for it. All choices you make or make the choice to blame others, blame society, blame everything but the only thing that can get you out of it. You want out, then figure it out. What are your gifts you can use to get out.

      Hugs

      Like

      • judyt says:

        darlin’. you might want to head to the inner city and find a po’ white family or a po’ black family to try that on. Now and then and rarely, you find a truly impoverished family (and poverty does drag you into hopelessness) with one star that makes it. But it’s rare.
        There is no choice to ‘remain poor’. The government has also limited the ability of many families to pull themselves up, by making sure no child under the age of 18 can work, not even a lemonade stand on the corner. You need permits for everything. Even permits cost money you don’t have.
        I commend you for getting out of what you were in, but please, your reality is not the only reality there is.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The shelter I worked at worked in the very poor sections of the Miami inner City. I’ve seen it work when people are willing to listen and make choices to not blame others and instead take some responsibility for themselves and make some choices for themselves they get them where they want to go. So I’ve seen it work in the inner city with poor Latino kids and for black kids.

          Like

        • So I’ve seen it work for myself with many children how many adults from these very poor inner-city communities. I’ve even witnessed it right here in Hawaii.

          Like

  11. Having my first campaign rally tonight, Mak! Wish me luck.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Swarn Gill says:

    “it is scientifically impossible to determine an accurate, uniquely valid poverty line: i.e. a financial threshold below which a person is defined as being poor”

    I’m very uncomfortable with this type of thinking. I am not saying they don’t make a valid point in talking about the difficulties of eradicating poverty altogether. But at the same time, this type of thinking often leads to inaction or excuse making. I don’t know. I mean there are problems with not developing good strategies when it comes to addressing any issue, but I think that, at the very least, we can draw an initial definite poverty line. Let’s just even say nutrition, hunger, and potable water. Anybody who is missing one or all of these 3 things is someone living in poverty. So let’s work on handing that problem. Clearly it doesn’t end there, and yes then we might be getting into murkier waters where maybe a variety of methods have to applied to help people, but we can eradicate a lot of suffering by taking care of some basic needs. I honestly don’t see a lot of people debating those 3 things as being important. Let’s worry about one line at a time Let’s just start with things we know people need to live lives that gives them the best chance to take advantage of opportunities. Being malnourished and hungry is not conducive to anything good happening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      The poverty line has been drawn at $1 a day but I saw in France it’s something above $1000. I think their issue is that you can’t have a universal line that applies everywhere for all time, because poverty is time and place specific. Things like nutrition can be measured and I think there is a calorie below which one would be facing malnutrition or something of that kind

      Liked by 1 person

    • judyt says:

      you might want to include shelter from the elements as part of the definition, too. In some places shelter means ‘keeping dry’. in others, it means “no place to go when it’s snowing or below zero”. (and all the cardboard boxes are occupied)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hell, tell the lazy poor bastards to crawl into one of my crematoriums! Plenty of “warmth” in there!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Swarn Gill says:

        Indeed. Homelessness is also certainly an important problem that should be addressed. I am always somewhat horrified that politicians spend no time talking about the problem. Unless they think they should be rounded up and jailed or sent elsewhere. The things is numerous cities have successfully ended homelessness, positively, and so we know what we can do to eliminate homelessness and yet there is no political will to do so. It’s terrible.

        But I also agree that in harsher climates, more care needs to be put into protecting people from those conditions. It’s also the case that the poorest people often have to deal with houses or apartments with the least amount of weather proofing, insulation, and old heating systems which increase their cost of living dramatically. There are so many catch-22’s to being poor.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Most of the time when I think of poverty, one thing that popup in my mind is food. If everyday one can have something to eat and a roof over his head, I think he can pull himself out of poverty. He can do that by going to school assuming he will get a decent job after that or start hustling in a very ligit way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      there are people who even securing one meal a day is problematic.
      it’s most often the case they can’t afford school

      Liked by 1 person

      • judyt says:

        And if you’re hungry, your brain doesn’t work the way it should. Malnourished kids often suffer mentally. Many schools have programs to ensure that the kids have at least one hot meal a day, but the catch is, you gotta be there to benefit by it.

        Like

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