The poor always with us

(I have shortened this tedious thing.)


“Poverty,” someone noticed, is quite “relative.” It cannot possibly be an absolute evil — the way œconomists misleadingly present it. One can be poor in the country, and hardly anyone will notice, whereas in the city, social workers might break in. Moreover, the ratio of police to acres is much higher in the town, so you really should think twice before shooting them.

Now, hunger gets us closer to absolute, and naked would be a problem at these Subarctic latitudes. That is why most sensible people have always preferred the Tropics, where clothing is more optional, and the crops sprout even when you are trying to ignore them. And should that not be enough food, a coconut may roll into your way — “under the bam, under the boo, under the bamboo tree.”

Listening, involuntarily, to a screechy radio, I heard an œconomist from the United Nations, or some other radical outfit. He had just returned from the slums of São Paulo (first class by jet, I’ll wager), and wished to report two things. The first was that the slum inhabitants do not have much money. The second was that they are morally superior to us. He sounded like our pope.

He was proposing that under some Global Reset, these slum-dwellers will get more money, so they will not be poor any more. But, assuming the truth of his second proposition, there would be a catch. They’d lose their moral superiority, I reckon. I noticed that he avoided vexing himself on this “off-narrative” detail.

Are people who win lotteries made happier? Or luck out with the latest œconomic “reform”? I venture yes, at first. But check back after a few months, and they are miserable and nattering again. The truth is that humans (like sheep) can become accustomed to any level of prosperity or good fortune, and take their advantages over the luckless for granted very soon.

This isn’t a problem anyone can fix. Certain ancestors of ours catastrophically failed to do the right thing, and we’ve all been perverse ever since. God is dealing with it.

Verily, the world burdens itself with problems whose twists are either created or imagined. The “problem of poverty” is like that. It is easily solved, by letting some people be poor.

Another is this “morally superior” thing. It is a (very Red) herring. For the poor are, on average, as obnoxious as the rich. Why not just stop denying this?