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Poverty, from a Different Perspective

BY KATHRINA CARLA PUA

The constant increase in the prices of basic commodities as a result of peso devaluation has burdened the common man even more than before.

Poverty has been mankind’s perennial problem. There exists an undeniably clear disparity between the rich and the poor. On one end, there are those who have more than enough to last them a lifetime. And on the other, there are those who barely live, uncertain if they can even survive the cold and hunger.

Many studies have been conducted and extensive measures undertaken to redress this social imbalance. Yet the problem persists.

Should we blame the government for not efficiently delivering the services it owes to the people?  Should we blame the poor for not helping themselves? Certainly we cannot blame the rich for being too tied-up with their own concerns and sleeping in the comforts of their soft beds and air-conditioned rooms. Or dining in fancy restaurants, and wearing branded clothing. Or pampering themselves with must-haves and luxuries such as spas, facials, hair treatments, liposuctions, cosmetic surgeries (and who knows what else) that they rightly deserve and can afford anyway.

The problem of poverty dates back to days before Christ. The story of Lazarus and the rich man is but one of the Biblical stories that indicates the occurrence of poverty even in those glorious years.  It is rather difficult to understand because religion has taught us that God has made all things beautiful.

It is a wonder why despite efforts to resolve this social imbalance,all undertakings have failed.  Livelihood assistance, free education, free medical services to government hospitals/clinics… name it, the government and charitable institutions (organized by the affluent) have tried it all, but to no avail. But there is one thing that has not been tried, and that is to strike at the root of poverty - GREED.

The truth is, poverty began when man desired to have more than enough. From the time when everything was communal up to the time when the concept of scarcity was recognized, man’s instinct of self-preservation dominated. It has become man’s nature to gain advantage over others even at their expense. This gave birth to slavery, which is inseparable from poverty.

Over time man has become greedier. In this dog-eat-dog world, the quest to gain advantage continues. The battleground of domination and self preservation is fought, the rich vs. the rich, the poor vs. the poor, and the rich vs. the poor.

Unless man learns to be content, unless man learns to share and give other people what is rightly due to them, we can never break away from poverty.

This is not a wake-up call.  This is just to give a different perspective on poverty.

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A very nicely articulated article. Poverty needs to be eliminated from the world. The writer should have suggested ways or measures to address this issue.

Sarvat Ishaq   10/27/05

 

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