Humans have more wealth, possessions, abilities and knowledge than ever before. But the human population has an evergrowing disparity between those that have and those that don’t have, perhaps the greatest since the days of monarchy. Why?
It seems that the things that are needed to support the population only become attractive for investment if they appear more profitable than other alternatives. So, unless basic food and shelter production and sales seem more profitable than, say, violent video games, drugs or kitchen cabinet sales, food and shelter will be very scarce for the have nots.
For a culture, the dependence on market forces to provide necessities within the range of most of the people is ridiculous. Laissez-faire economics is only appropriate for those with significant resources to gamble with, that is, for those who already have wealth and want MORE. But this is not a description of the typical person, 98% of the population. Of course, there is a wide swath of people above the poverty line that have some wealth. And they invest it. But, what is available to invest in is dictated by what those at the top find advantageous, in other words, profitable.
For those below the poverty line, as in the following table from healthcare.gov:
- $11,770 for individuals
- $15,930 for a family of 2
- $20,090 for a family of 3
- $24,250 for a family of 4
- $28,410 for a family of 5
- $32,570 for a family of 6
- $36,730 for a family of 7
- $40,890 for a family of 8;
there are no choices. There may not even be a food store near by, let alone a job, and certainly not a job that will provide what poor people need. From the U.S. Census bureau, “In 2014, the official poverty rate was 14.8 percent. So, there were 46.7 million people in poverty.” And, “The poverty rate in 2014 for children under age 18 was 21.1 percent.”
In addition to being cruel, though not unusual, this can lead to a couple of really negatively believing groups of have nots:
- Resigned Poor – Those who would not work no matter what, but who do become expert at finding free stuff. This isn’t a big percentage, but it’s understandable if they feel they might bust their butts and not get more than they could get for free.
- Prospective Martyrs – If they go out in a blaze of glory, at least they don’t have to suffer anymore. They are either so angry, or life is so bad, that they would willingly welcome death.
Let’s think about the Prospective Martyrs. There are always those who are crazy, or irrationally unsatisfied with their lives, or somehow convinced that God wants them to kill other of God’s people as a ticket to heaven, but there are also people who will join in with terrorists because they need to be accepted, to fit in somewhere and get support. Maybe their own culture should have a productive role for them. A job. A home. Food. Shelter. Think about it.