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Why Does
Poverty Exist?

By Punkerslut

From WikiMedia Commons
Image: From Wikimedia Commons,
Edited by Punkerslut

Start Date: September 15, 2009
Finish Date: September 15, 2009

"Truly, we are rich, far richer than we think; rich in what we already possess, richer still in the possibilities of production of our actual mechanical outfit; richest of all in what we might win from our soil, from our manufactures, from our science, from our technical knowledge, were they but applied to bringing about the well-being of all."
          --Peter Kropotkin, 1892
          "The Conquest of Bread," Chapter 1, Part I

     Let's do some simple math. A family of five, working for eight hours a day per individual, can produce enough food for 100,000 people. These were the statistics from over one hundred years ago. Today, we can be certain that one person, working eight hours a day, can produce enough food for 100,000 people. To feed the entire planet, it would require only 60,000 laborers. Millions have volunteers have worked to end world hunger, but they've never even approached their goal, and for all the charities around, world hunger is actually worsening.

     Ten or twenty individuals working eight hours a day can produce all the clothes necessary for 100,000 people. The same number of people, applied to construction and carpentry, can produce and maintain dwellings for the same number. These are the things we need: food, clothing, and shelter. It would require only thirty people, working eight hours a day, provide all the ore, chemicals, fertilizers, machines, and tools that these other laborers would need.

     To produce all of human necessities, for the entire world, would require less than one percent of all the workers in America. These are not "guesses and theories," but facts that have been demonstrated for decades and decades. If it requires so little, why is it that poverty, homelessness, and world hunger persist? Unlike any other era of humanity, the number living in poverty has exploded: covering almost half of the United States, and more than half of the globe.

     "If it takes just a few people to make so much food, why don't they just work the land? With such productivity, we would have a 10 minute workday, and everyone would have all that they need." That's the logical question. It's the humane, thoughtful, intelligent question -- but nobody answers it, and nobody tries to answer it. "In the midst of such great productivity, why is want and misery so common?"

"Wages vary inversely as profits; or wages rise when profits fall, and profits rise when wages fall; and it is therefore profits, or the capitalist's share of the national produce, which is opposed to wages, or the share of the labourer."
          --Thomas Hodgskin, 1825
          "Labour Defended against the Claims of Capital"

     Nobody tries to answer this question: not your senators, not your journalists, not your professors. A murderer who seeks to get away will not testify in their own case -- because just answering questions about your guilt will make it shine through. For those who are the moral guardians of society, from our priests to our governors, nobody answers this question, nor do they even recognize it as a legitimate question. They push it aside, never make eye contact, and when someone does ask it, with a wave of the hand, security tackles the person and drags them out back.

     One person could feed one-hundred thousand, but why are so many hungry and dying of starvation? Those who thrive off of coercion and exploitation never answer it, because their guilt and wrongdoing shine forth immediately, no matter what answer they could conjure up. The fact is that someone is benefiting from this massive poverty: someone owns the land, and they refuse to let anyone labor upon it, except on their terms. And when poverty is massive and widespread, wages go down. The world-hunger and poverty exists not because of "laziness," or "greed," or "innate human nature." Hunger exists because it benefits the Capitalist -- because widespread want and need help decrease wages, and therefore, increase profits.

     Why does world hunger exist? Because what produces it, private ownership of the land, benefits the Capitalist. How are we going to end it? By directing social wealth according to the interests of society.

"The increasing wealth of the nation has had little or no tendency to better the condition of the labouring poor."
          --Thomas Malthus, 1798
          "An Essay on the Principle of Population," Chapter 16


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