POWER AND POVERTY

by: Caitlin Beatrice Bodiola

Caitlin
photo by: peterpilt.org

“Once poverty is gone, we’ll need to build museums to display its horror to future generations. They’ll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society—how few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation & despair.”

–Muhammad Yunnus

 

Power and poverty isn’t as black and white as they may seem. When people say power, it means people who are rich and have the power to do something greater. People who can lead the rest of us to a “better” future. People who have the capacity to find solutions so that the rest, especially the ones in poverty, would no longer need to be in poverty. Poverty, on the other hand, basically means people who are poor. People who live in an environment where they lack basic necessities like water, housing, jobs, and money. These people don’t have the same privileges as the people who are rich and have everything.

The connection between these two are very visible in today’s world. The differences between power and poverty have increased over the years and the world is just letting this gap increase even wider. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The people who have the power put on an act showing that they’re “helping” the poor. Some are genuine, yes, but most are just for show.

In today’s world, nobody has been able to define what it really means to be in poverty—its core essence and what it really means. It can be defined as “the economic condition of lacking predictable and stable means of meeting basic life needs.” So that means that there are people who don’t have enough to meet the minimum basic needs we humans need. But how can that be possible? When we look around, there are tons of resources to use. With our knowledge today, we could change this. But what is the world doing instead? It makes more boundaries and labels to signify that a person is poor. The people who are in power turn a blind eye when it comes to the people who are in poverty.

At first glance, poverty seems to be straightforward—lack of money or basic needs, but it’s actually a lot more than that. Poverty is a sin that all of human kind has allowed to breed and grow. It exists both from the inside and the outside. Why must other people suffer while others live in luxury? It is injustice; it is inhumane.

 

POVERTY OF POWER AND POWER OF POVERTY

When I said that power and poverty isn’t as black and white, this is what I meant. Sometimes when someone is rich or poor on the outside, it doesn’t always mean that they are also rich or poor on the inside. In some cases, the rich on the outer aspect is actually poor on the inside, and the poor on the outer aspect is already rich on the inside.

For example, there is a man who is capable of buying everything he wants, but he doesn’t have any friends or anyone who genuinely loves him. Would he be considered poor too? Isn’t having friends and a life partner a crucial thing to have in your life? The man might seem happy from the outside, but he could actually dying on the inside, simply because he is lonely. Whereas, let’s say there is a monk who has nothing but the clothes on his back, little food and no money. He looks poor on the outside, but inside he has contentment. Inside, he already has everything he could ever want and is devoted to something that gives his life meaning. Would he still be considered poor? Being rich from within is something that society cannot interfere with or fathom. But when it comes to being rich from the outside, it is society who tells you what being rich means. So when asked, “How can you be rich without money?” look for someone who is like the monk and ask them. You see, feeling rich is an inborn feeling we humans have. It only takes a little gratitude for some people to feel contentment from within.

 

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