Much of our aid to the poor

Much of our aid to the poor is a way of holding them in prison, however subtly. How does that look? Teaching, giving: these are ways that say Depend on me. Assimilating others into our culture is the same thing: My culture is better than yours. True, our culture is the one we both live within, or at least I think you are living in mine. Even the definition of poverty is in my head, not necessarily yours, at least until I start denying you ways to eat and get cared for. Further, these are ways of I doing to Its.

But there are other cultures: gift cultures, homemaking cultures, relation cultures. Our culture is largely built out of economic bricks. What we are doing is with one hand denying people the necessities of life, and with the other giving them what they need, but grudgingly, sparingly. Our economy is based on withholding, scarcity, limited printing of money. Were we in other parts of the world or other cultures, we might live in a milieu of sharing and gathering natural abundance.

So, knowing the problem and its roots, how do we go past it? Are the people who are helping really fighting the culture and the economy, rather than some vague formless thing called poverty?

There is mental illness which prevents some people from earning the way we do so we can share in economic spoils. They might have other ways of being a valued part of our society, if only as persons for whom others can exercise their caring.

There is anti-social behavior and its extreme example, criminality, which prevents some people from the way we do so we can share in economic spoils. Then can take care of themselves.

There are those whose life situation has demanded of them that they care for others, children or infirm parents, for instance, and they are unable to play in the economic field with the rest of us. They could be supported for their important activities for the rest of us.

There are those in generational “poverty” who perhaps live in a different culture. Could we encourage them in their culture and help them that way? If the problem we perceive as poverty is really drugs or indiscriminate pregnancy, for instance, then perhaps we are chopping at the wrong roots.

:- Doug.

Published in: Conversations | on March 31st, 2007 | No Comments »

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