Just sharing what I wrote one day in 2013-14.

 

Many experts declare an ambitious target—poverty will disappear from Bangladesh by 2016 and we will only learn about ‘poverty’ as a bygone concept in national museums. Is such an oversimplification of life’s social complexities realistic?

People are racing to overcome their shallow circumstances or to redefine their not-so-special existence, in whichever way possible. People are manipulating situations or jeopardizing the lives of others in order to uplift themselves. One’s success means another’s failure—and that is the rule of this rat-race. There is no time to form meaningful relationships or to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. With every dire step that people take to change their positions, one bit of their conscience disintegrates till the time their souls are completely hardened or till they are overwhelmed by immense regret. This system morphs us into a robotic being which we no longer recognize in the mirror but which is nonetheless admired by the outside world. There is no space for innocence.

People are surging ahead with one goal—to defeat poverty, but what is the definition of poverty in a context where everyone wants to outdo the other? When people are eager to compete with others, the rich will get richer; the poor will become middle-class; so on and so forth. By that standard, the disparity—or relative poverty—will always remain; and if people are always exploiting others then even absolute poverty will be difficult to eliminate.

We all want to reach the pinnacle of success, but where is that pinnacle? Resources are finite, but wants are infinite. People toil away not knowing what tomorrow holds, but knowing that there is no end to this rat-race. Who says human sacrifices do not exist? We are constantly sacrificing to satisfy the success-god.

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Hi Monica,

Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking essay. You point out some important issues, like the need to not priortize economic succes at the cost of relationships, or to prioritize your own success to the detriment of others. And yes, of course, the drive to want more and more and more is extremely problematic and impossible to sustain!

I think you touched on the heart of the issue when you asked, "what is the definition of poverty...?" When poverty is defined as having the inability to meet one's basic needs --  the inability to find sufficient food and clean water, have safe housing, access education and healthcare -- then this I think we can and should eradicate. Doing so does seem insurmountable at times, but what is certain is this:  if we believe it to be impossible, then it will be. BUT, if we believe that it is possible, and we can accomplish it, then we have a chance! Do you agree?

I think your post would be a fantastic contribution to the Economic Empowerment group, and I think it would spark very interesting discussion! I see you are already a member (wonderful!). If you'd like to post it there, just visit the group page and click "Create Post." You can copy your text in from this submission, and add it to the group!

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and starting discussion on this very important issue, Monica!

Warm wishes,

Sarah

Hi, Thank you! Yes, I agree it is possible. Greed/economic exploitation seem to be one of the biggest barriers to eradicating absolute poverty. I will post to the group now. Monica