Someone recently asked on a popular online forum, “Why hasn’t poverty been solved?” So naturally, users filled the thread with colorful answers (and arguments). However, these are the top-voted suggestions as to why poverty isn’t going away.
1. The War on Poverty
Many in the thread agreed with the sentiment, “Because, like the war on drugs, the war on poverty made the problem worse.” Another jokingly replied, “Don’t worry. The US government started a war against Poverty in 1964. Give them a few more years, and they will get it done!”
2. The Rich Elitists Don’t Want It To End
One suggested, “The wealthy elitists don’t want it to end. It is how they keep us slaves to the wage.” Another argued, “It’s the poor’s lack of education and motivation. No one can control us. It’s a personal responsibility.” However, most agreed that wages aren’t realistic and we are enslaved to the system to benefit the 1%.
Another added, “The people who could solve it have no interest in doing so. We don’t have a government that represents the people. We have a ruling class.”
3. A Capitalist Economy Needs Poverty
Someone suggested, “Because a capitalist economy needs Poverty to exist. However, the current wealth distribution does not need to be as extreme as it is for a capitalist economy to work. That 1% has become too greedy.”
Another added, “It’s how the capitalist system works,” before a third argued, “It’s not Capitalism. Communism made everyone poor and killed millions through starvation. Capitalism, for all its flaws, lifted billions out of Poverty.”
Finally, the original poster doubled, “If you do enough digging, you will understand that capitalism will not allow workers to be free and that it is inherently destructive of the environment and that its death count reaches far beyond any communist countries.”
4. Human Selfishness
One person stated, “Short answer: human selfishness.” Another suggested, “Because people are inherently self-interested and want to get the most out of doing the least. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword since that’s also what drives many technological advancements.” Some people argued that it’s not that simple, but it received a significant amount of upvotes, placing it at number four on this list.
5. Military Spending
Another answered, “Because military spending is more essential.” To which many agreed and noted, “Cringe.”
6. Poverty Is the Natural State
One shared, “Because poverty is the natural state, everyone is born without material wealth. It’s either earned, stolen, or inherited. I’m not talking about the survival of the fittest. I’m talking about the basic fact that wealth is a human-made construct and unnatural.”
7. It’s Not Profitable
One replied, “Because it doesn’t turn a profit – the same reason almost every solvable problem exists.” Another added, “Poverty is profitable. So fixing it would be bad for business.”
8. Poverty Has Been Solved
Another alleged, “It has been solved. Get a job or two or join the military, work your bum off, and get needed training. Or live with parents or get a roommate or several for however long it takes to buy a home.
Work your bum off some more. Don’t buy stupid things you can’t afford (50k truck or 6-dollar coffee). Don’t be drunk or druggy. Date/marry up. Don’t have a kid until you can afford it. Then, when you mess up or have an unfortunate event (and you will), fix it.
Dust yourself off and try harder/smarter. Exercise, learn to eat right, and sleep well. Be grateful daily and acquire some spirituality. Granted, it is easier to sleep in a stolen tent and poop on the side of the street—your choice.
Just don’t whine and expect others to fix your problem. The problem is always you. You are also the solution. I do wish you well. Peace.”
Of course, others argue that one person’s life experience does not dictate the truth for everyone else. One added, “You went through some problems and made it.
But it doesn’t mean you can invalidate other people’s problems because you had it worse. That’s not what a full-grown adult does.” Finally, a user asked, “How’s your balance up there on your pillar of sand?”
9. It Costs Money
Someone noted, “Solving poverty costs money. Nobody with the money to solve poverty wants to solve Poverty.” Another added, “When a journalist asked, ‘How much money is enough?’ John D. Rockefeller responded with, ‘Just a little bit more!’ The wealthy will never give up their money to help solve poverty.”
10. It’s Never Been a Problem
Finally, someone suggested, “Poverty hasn’t been solved because it was never a problem. It was engineered to happen. If everyone received the same pay, money wouldn’t have value. Buying something would be meaningless. Also, people would consume the planet’s resources too quickly.
We could do a million things to improve the situation of the people who live in poverty. But that all costs money, and people are greedy. So, the system is set up to make life uncomfortable.
They’ve designed it to make life challenging enough to encourage you to work. A small percentage of the population enjoys all the benefits of that work.
It has always been that way and most likely will be due to several reasons. But primarily because of greed and corruption. Not saying it’s fair or reasonable.
But nobody is trying to solve the problem. Because truthfully, it’s almost impossible to solve. The planet would die if everyone lived like a wealthy American.”
This article originally appeared on The Cents of Money.
With a passion for investing and personal finance, I began The Cents of Money to help and teach others. My experience as an equity analyst, professor, and mom provide me with unique insights about money and wealth creation and a desire to share with you.