What is the root cause of poverty? If you can sum it up concisely, you are very likely either deluded or painting a very incomplete picture. Poverty is both complex and systemic in nature and there are a great many underlying causes. Despite current efforts to alleviate poverty through social assistance programs, nearly one half of the world lives in abject poverty … or is it possible that because of the current social assistance programs, nearly one half of the population of the world lives in extremely impoverished conditionsi?
While this is certainly an unpleasant thought at best, it is imperative to have a complete understanding of what works and why it works … as well as what does not work and why it does not work. Regardless of whether or not such an effect was intentional, it is easy to see and verify that the current social assistance programs in place across much of the world, have done more than their fair share to ensure the continued, festering and diseased fundament necessary for poverty to grow, flourish and spread.
There is plenty of room for such a discourse to be written to the extent that it will fill volumes and tome after tome regarding the conditions and growth and expansion of poverty. This section should not be confused with any comprehensive study on the complete and complex causes and continuation of poverty, but rather as a very basic and introductory overview.
The root causes of poverty are complex and systemic in nature. Such a systemic problem cannot be resolved through singular solutions that merely address singular symptoms, but must be addressed through the introduction of a complex and systemic solution that not only relieves the symptoms, but addresses and diminishes (or eliminates) the root causes. At the same time, it is imperative to check the continuation of poverty as well and to ensure that it does not extend its evil clutches in to the next generation.
Poverty is not only a complex issue, but is also self-perpetuating. This is true insofar as that the end result of poverty results in conditions that make the continuation of poverty into the next generation, virtually inevitable for a great portion of the impoverished people around the globe. These multi-generational issues are often further exacerbated through the implementation of temporary measures that merely address the singular systems … also known as government social assistance programs.
While the intent is not to unduly single out any particular program or government, and certainly not to label them unfairly, being more familiar with the systems and programs of social assistance in the US, the author will focus their attention there, though there will also be inclusions from other locations around the globe wherein the author does have personal experience.
Growing up in the inner cities and/or in the more rural locations of Appalachia, one can see the direct impact of multi-generational poverty without having to look too hard. Despite cries of racism when such subject matter tends to come up in more casual conversations … and in the occasional protest, such detrimental impacts of multi-generational impoverishment run across all races with equal impunity and absolutely no concern for singling out such comparatively minor issues as race.
One could hardly create a wider chasm in regards to race, than by dividing and/or comparing the very white and segregated areas of the rural Appalachian mountains and the largely black and Hispanic populations of the inner cities. Yet there remain striking similarities in the direct impact of multi-generational poverty and its root causes, and effects and the reasons that it has become a self-perpetuating aspect within those segments of society in particular.
While the inner cities are generally rife with crime and murder, the rural mountains are beset by crime and suicides of unparalleled proportions. In both areas, life is relatively “cheap” insofar as neither population tends to have much concern about perpetuating criminal acts against members of their own race. Both areas are largely devoid of any real hope for an improved median quality of life, leading a great many people to turn to drugs and/or crime as a means of subsistence. Lacking any real hope, seeing the fruitless position of their parents … in the cases where there is more than one parent at least, these people are growing up without any hope for a real future.
What is the point of working hard in school when the local drug dealers seem to have such a better lifestyle than those who have worked and become part of the system? Why should someone strive for an honest living when criminal activity seems to be such a more profitable and viable alternative? Yet ultimately, this criminal activity will lead to increased rates of incarceration, making it even more difficult for these people to ever have any hope of building a better and more stable future, and subsequently leading into excessive rates of recidivism among the criminal class.
Section Eight Housing has been yet another abject failure. While it may have helped to reduce the numbers of homeless families, it has done so at the expense of the nuclear family unit and dare it be said … even at great cost in terms of social morals, ethics and values. Whose brilliant idea was it to put these homeless families all together in singular communities, knowing full well that many of these families were originally homeless because of debilitating conditions of some of the family members?
Whose idea was it to put a number of people, many of whom are addicted to drugs, gambling or alcohol … a tragically normal and easily foreseeable condition resulting from poverty … together in one single location without any means of actual “social” assistance or other means of reintegrating into society as productive and contributing members of that society? Does anyone really believe for even an instant, that a large group of addicted people are suddenly going to meet up one day and decide to improve their lives?
The end result is easily predictable. Isolating the criminal class, often reduced to criminal activity due to the hopeless conditions of abject poverty, and putting them all together with no viable sociological support system in place, is going to lead to an increase of criminal activity wherever those people are located.
The tragic reality is that the American Ghetto is largely a construct of failed government programs. The rural and more isolated areas of the nation are equally segregated and rife with the same problems, though again, nobody among the best minds that governments around the world have to offer, has found a viable means of providing social assistance without a financial loss to those that are the recipients of these “benefits”. (Or is it perhaps likely that such results are intentional? While the thought is certainly not pleasant, it must be given consideration before dismissing it entirely)
Single parenthood is financially rewarded, despite the fact that it is an easily verified fact that children raised in a two-parent household have a substantially better chance of rising up out of poverty. How is it possible to offer financial incentives to people to have children out of wedlock while at the same time expecting them not to have children out of wedlock? Furthermore, these same single parent families are financially burdened with the costs of childcare if they attempt to seek out an education even in the more limited government training programs. They risk a financial loss by attempting to seek gainful employment and we wonder why there are multiple generations that make Social Welfare a career choice?
And then it all gets passed on down to the next generation. Children are very impressionable creatures. They learn not only from what they are taught, but also by what occurs around them in the environment wherever they may grow up. In the US, school is “free” for children growing up in both the inner cities and in the more isolated rural environments. Children around the world are not always quite so fortunate, but I do not think that anyone believes for even a moment that the schools in the inner cities or in the rural regions are nearly as good as some of the schools “uptown” … for lack of a better and more comprehensive term.
Vastly more funding goes to the “administration” of these schools than is spent on the students or teachers. The centralized federal Department of Education, despite many decisions being retained at the state and local level, has seen the average test scores for American schools fall on global comparative scoring systems, since its implementation. Many of the technical and vocational programs that were formerly available in the public school systems have all but disappeared. Oddly enough, “School Choice” and “School Vouchers” have proven to be radically successful in increasing graduation rates, grade point averages and even university preparedness among students … yet the very people who proclaim the loudest to be fighting on behalf of the students, continually deny the ability of the students and their parents to have any say in where (or how) their children will be schooled.
The educational system itself needs to be radically reformed. Teaching to the test has failed both the students and society as a whole. Students receive “participation” trophies just for showing up, regardless of the fact that the real world remains very competitive. While it may be hopeful to believe that one day society will surpass such vanity, it is not going to happen in the real world anytime soon. Children thrive in competition, and virtually all children will excel in different areas and have different strengths and weaknesses. The “standardized” system has failed these students, and left them wholly unprepared to build the future of our society … the very place that we will grow old and depend on those same children for our personal care one of these days.
More tragically still, when these children do go home, they often go home to single-family households where order and discipline are historically lacking … though this should not be seen as being in support of abuse in the name of discipline either … but discipline does encompass more than just the threat of physical force … though it would not be known by some arguments. These children often live among the very same adults who have already lost any real sense of hope or future, and the children see that as a standard “norm” or just the way life is, subsequently losing any hope or desire to pursue their own dreams in the process.
So now, government “assistance” has put these children into an environment of hopelessness, constantly fed them crumbs, rewarded them for poor life choices, and financially punished them for seeking to improve their median quality of life, all while being “educated” to learn that they will be passed along regardless of whether or not they pursue even so much as their own potential and where they are often chastised or even ostracized for daring to dream. What could possibly go wrong?
This problem is made even worse when cultural and social impediments are added into the mix, and most notably when education is not even available to the limited degree that it would be for the average person. In much of the world, public education remains a costly expense for the parents, made even more difficult that in many places around the world, the children are functioning and contributing members of the family unit, often responsible for working and assisting in the provision of goods and services for the family unit.
This can easily be a bit overwhelming until one puts it all into a little perspective. It is imperative to focus on the problem long enough to identify it, then focus on solutions. However, when the underlying causes of the root problem are complex and systemic in nature, it is imperative to address the entire system of failure, no matter how complex it may seem and no matter how complex the solution may be in reality. If there is any real underlying beauty to the system within the community developments, it is the fact that as a complete system, both integrated and adaptive in nature, individual components of the system can be changed, revised or otherwise repaired without shutting down the entire system. This allows for solutions to be introduced, and where necessary, to be adjusted in a more fluid means, while the rest of the system continues unabated.
A great many “experts” have determined that merely addressing singular symptoms and alleviating them through the most politically expedient methodology possible, is in and of itself a viable solution to many of the problems facing the world today. This often leads to solutions that may even be partially successful, though can often be wholly or at least largely detrimental to society as a whole and for the social groups receiving the “assistance” or benefits. The same can be said for all of the relevant systemic causes, including poverty, environmental, economic and financial and even sociological in nature.
The integrated nature of the Community Developments allows for the creation of wholly systemic solutions. The adaptive nature allows these solutions to also allow for cultural, social, historical and even environmental and ecological idiosyncrasies and other factors that are otherwise largely ignored in the blanket solutions of government assistance.
The reality is that when it comes to any of these matters, temporary solutions need to be put into place in order to prevent any further extreme damage, immediate alleviation of the symptoms should commence as soon as possible, and only then can the introduction of long-term and more viable solutions commence in earnest. However, this needs to also be structured without throwing society back into the proverbial (or literal) stone-age, without unduly punishing the producers of society and without granting unchecked powers of control to a faceless bureaucracy that has rarely ever had the best interests of the people at heart.
This all means that the most viable solution is the incorporated structure wherein a singular, incorporated entity works as any other would in society today, funding and building from humble beginnings, on towards a more manageable and better future, not only for itself, but for all humanity. Hardly an impossible task when given the solutions as presented herein.
i This conversation is particularly relevant in this current day and age as the Technological Automation Revolution bears down on us with an increasing fervor. There are in reality, very few jobs that can not be fully automated in the foreseeable future. This begs the question about quality of life when humans are no longer required for labor and/or otherwise continuing the flow of business and industry. Do we really want yet another bloated and inefficient bureaucracy … or group of bureaucracies working to level the playing field in the same way that they have chosen to eradicate poverty through the current social assistance programs? Is everyone to become little more than a “welfare baby” wholly dependent on whatever crumbs government may decide to toss our way, while the bureaucrats and elected officials get ever fatter and richer?