Political systems must love poverty - they produce so much of it. Poor people make easier targets for a demagogue. No Mao or even Jiang Zemin is likely to arise on the New York Stock Exchange floor. P. J. O'Rourke
Julian Dobson writes, in his inimitable style about poverty in Sheffield:
A couple of weeks ago at the State of Sheffield event, with civic leaders, voluntary sector movers and shakers, academics and more, it was mentioned that one in five children are living in poverty.This was a meeting to hear the facts, not a call to action. Yet there are some facts that can't simply be added to compendiums of data, analysed, mulled over and wheeled out the next year for comparison.
P J O'Rourke pointed out that there should be no poverty in the USA. Not as some sort of moral statement but simply as an observation about the amount of money spent on anti-poverty programmes by the US government - the income gap (i.e. the amount of money needed to make poor people not poor) was about $50.3bn back in 1991 and the amount spent on recognised anti-poverty schemes by various agencies of government was approaching $98bn. Ergo no poverty.
This simply isn't true. Poverty isn't the same as inequality and nor does inequality create poverty. Yet people repeat the lie until it corrosive envy starts to destroy the very thing - creating and adding value - that points the way out from poverty. It really is time to start looking for solutions - local, creative, flexible and caring solutions - rather than celebrating vast tomes that merely place the blame.