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Origins of Poverty

Origins of Poverty
When man came on earth he did not live in a society or hierarchy nor was he endowed with poverty. Good health, longevity, natural cheerfulness were his own even as he found himself amidst plenty. Like other species he lived or perished as the external resources permitted but he lived or perished as a group. Only when the society organised itself into a hierarchy, it was possible for one layer to exist while another persisted during times of scarcity. Organised ways of living, knowledge of all descriptions, systems created for comfort etc. interfered with the natural living of MAN in hundreds of ways. With the passing of time these stratifications of society come to stay and even create a psychology by which even the victim takes his victimization for granted. No question arises in his mind. ...

Had not the society organised itself in such a way that segments of it are protected and other segments were defenseless, MAN would have remained as MAN and would not have been bifurcated into poor and rich. (MSS)


Unorganized Life Beyond Physical Allows for Poverty
Life consists of matter, the animus of life, mind, and spirit. In society we are moving well along towards the organization of matter, which enables infinite possibilities in the of the physical realm as seen in machines inventions, technology, roads, infrastructure, shelter, life sciences, medicines, etc. The US is of course in the vanguard here.

And yet the rest of life beyond the physical matter remains unorganized. There is pain, suffering falsehood, ignorance, evil, conflict, contradiction, disharmony, hate, desire, attachment, and on and on. This reflects as poverty, war, disease, famine, and many other social ills.


Progress in Ending Poverty


Progress on Ending Poverty
The 1997 UNDP Human Development Report observes that over the past 50 years the world has made greater progress in eradicating poverty than during the previous 500. (MSS)

Millions Who Have Come Out of Poverty
We know of the three scourges of humanity; war, disease, and poverty. We see those manifest in many forms today. And yet cannot we tally our recent accumulation of assets, such as the 500 million who have emerged out of poverty in India in the last twenty years. Or nearly a billion who have been set free into the new global market in China since the emergence of Deng; or the freedom of the world from nuclear annihilation, when Gorbachev saved our planet?

Progressive Change in the Relations Among Poor and Wealthy
There is a vast shift of the middle range poor of the world out of poverty. We see this especially in China, and somewhat in India. Considerably so also in Eastern Europe, Ireland, and South America. There is also a more hard-core poor in India, Africa, and elsewhere that are not quite making the transition, though there are signs that they will one day. There are also the rich who are beginning to be concerned for the poor, as in EU and certain circles in America.

There is thus an evolutionary movement connecting opposites. Poor moving to wealth, wealth to (i.e. concern with) poor. There is also the less conscious movement of poor taking to poor, and wealth only to wealth.

So we can say that there is a progressive movement away from same to same and towards attraction between opposite poles.

Higher consciousness is to bring opposites together, so that they become more similar. Consciousness however also allows for infinite diversity, allowing for more dissimilarity as well.


Abolishing Poverty


Various Means of Ending Poverty

Eliminating Poverty

Poverty is eliminated by:

  • generating more employment;

  • raising the level of minimum education;

  • making the social elite aware of the possibility of removing it;

  • presenting the government concrete programmes of prosperity;

  • drawing upon the resources of every social institution like Chamber of Commerce, university, research institutions, government, voluntary organisation, U.N., U.N. agencies, press, etc.

  • educating the public opinion that poverty is not inevitable.

  • accepting the principle that the world can compel

  • a nation to eradicate poverty. (MSS)

Programmes To Eradicate Poverty

1) Appeal for the changed PERCEPTION from charity to MAN coming into his own right -- a right to good living.

2) Assess the effectivity of information, ideas, opinions, statistics, studies, data, arguments, examples, etc. on the segment of populalation that can move to eradicate poverty and give them in that measure through appropriate media.

3) Introduce in the curriculum at the right stage a full explanation that poverty is not inevitable, it is there because it is suffered and explain how it can be eliminated.

4) Devise programmes suitable to each sector that will indirectly eliminate poverty. E.g.

-- Craftsmen training schools for industry.

-- Farm schools for the government that try to raise production.

-- Adult education for voluntary organisations.

-- Development skits for media.

-- Themes for the writers that portray the psychological endeavour of individuals to escape poverty.

-- Studies for universities that will bring out case studies where segments of population have come out of poverty.

-- Success stories for journals.

-- Ideas for commerce which when implemented will remove poverty while they work for their own profit.

5) Appeal for an apex national organisation in each country that will address itself to the task of creating all these programmes and ideas.

6) Suggest UN should take on itself the authority of accepting the  invitation of any nation to eradicate poverty or illiteracy or major diseases.

7) Suggest UN should declare that within 5 to 10 years poverty should be eradicated from the world. At the end of that period UN may take over one or more countries under its administration to eradicate it compulsorily.

8) Plead for a World Body that will embark on devising detailed programmes for each country where more than 10% of the population is poor. These programmes should be comprehensive and must be able to yield results within one decade.

9) Declare that NO nation has the right to keep its population POOR. (MSS)

Productive Skills Avoids Poverty
Productive skills at once raise the person above the future eventuality of poverty. (MSS)

Poverty and Skills
Poverty is ignorance of practical skills.

  • Issues are global, not national.

  • Disequilibrium in welfare.

  • Aid is not a solution; it can aggravate the problem.

  • We cannot allow grass to grow under our feet.

  • The world needs a perspective to act in anticipation and not wait till it is caught unawares.



Society Supporting Individual's Fulfillment and End of Poverty
The ability of the society to support the individual's self-fulfillment, is the measure of the society. As society overcomes its own divisions -- such as war, poverty, disease, lack of conflict -- it is more likely to supports the fulfillment of the individual. Society's divisions and dualities are extensions of the divisions and dualities of creation itself. This division and duality is also ironically the cause of the greatest diversity, which enables the greatest potential for delight as the societies discover its true nature. (MSS)

Peace and End to Poverty
Only in peace hunger and
poverty can be abolished and full employment realised. Only in peace the whole world can live in and acquire prosperity. Only in peace the human resource can blossom and expand. (MSS)

See Thoughts on Ending Conflicts of World through Economic Prosperity


Raising the Consciousness and Capacity of the Poor

Abolishing Poverty through Higher Consciousness of the Poor
Unless the poor are determined not to be poor, poverty cannot be solved. Poverty is best abolished by the development of consciousness. Next best is to develop infrastructure; including organization and education. For each country a unique plan of development can be created in this way. Aid to other countries is not wise; it is egotistic by the giver, and for the recipient destroys self-reliance, and creates hostility. If a country like the US wants to help end poverty it can help with infrastructure, planning, but not aid. The best approach is to overcome its own poverty, which will vibrate out as life responds to break poverty in corresponding places on earth. (Paraphrase of MSS)

Keys to Moving out of Poverty
To move out of poverty one needs to -- truly want more, make the effort to gain it, seek self-employment over normal employment, gain the necessary skills to accomplish it and establish personal values like organization, cleanliness, honesty, and others in one's life. If there is a foundation of such virtues, then further opening and calling to the Force will enable a multiplier effect of great achievement. Its a process that can easily be understood, and with will and determination, brought about in the shortest period of time with the maximum result. It's a formula for ultimate success, prosperity, and joy. (Based on MSS)

The Secret of Prosperity
The secret of Prosperity lies in man wanting more and developing his capacities to work for that more. (MSS)

Personal Approach to Overcoming One's Poverty
Rid oneself of all poverty inducing attitudes, opinions, and superstitions. Aspire for more in one's life. Think for one's self. Become entrepreneurial. Be self-reliant. Take to common sense. Add psychological strength, knowledge, skills, and energy as needed. Applying personal values like organization, cleanliness, and honesty. Avoid waste, and energy wasting behaviors.

Harm of Charity, Aid; Need to Build Up Self-reliance


Self-Development, Not Aid
Aid in any form saps the vitality of a nation and robs its self-respect.

Why speak only of aid from another country? No government has ever succeeded in building up its own nation without the entire society rising and taking up development in its own hands.

Usually when aid comes in, self-respect goes out. Worse than that, the very capacity of self-reliance is undone essentially.

Self is the Soul of a nation. It is seen as self-respect and self-reliance. They are not worth parting with. (MSS, somewhat modified)

Development Occurs When We Take It in Our Own Hands, to Wanting It
It is a truism in the field of development that a society will really develop when its members take it into their own hands. Any work of the government or other agencies may do the initial spade work, but it is not capable of consummating the process of development - a high degree of Prosperity. It reduces to man wanting more and more as days pass by. (MSS)

From Charity to New Attitude of Freeing Man from His Poverty
Man should give up the attitude of charity and move to the attitude of restoring HIM to his original status of freedom from poverty. By taking this attitude, the entire perception will change and all the programmes drawn up will be of a different character. (MSS)

On Non-Value of Charity to Poor Nations
Charity to other nations to poor nations is resented by the recipient. This type of help hinders those poor nations, causes other nations to resent us. There are better ways to help, starting with genuine concern for their plight rather than just dole of money.

Foreign Aid is Damaging Because it Saps Freedom, Individuality, Creates, Self-respect, Dependence

For an above average Man, physical freedom symbolises a field of plenty. Settlers who migrated to the USA found wages in New York ten times higher than in Europe. Externally the fact was shortage of labour. Vast freedom is more than a challenge to Man. He who survives that becomes an individual. The individuality thus created in the midst of adversity makes one rise head and shoulders above the average. His productivity rises ten times. Hence the high wages. Productivity is prosperity. Prosperity is Money. One cannot receive aid without losing that individuality. Western Europe received the aid of Marshall Plan and became economic satellites of the aid giver. Russia refused that aid and preserved its independence. Monetary aid in practice renders the receiver culturally subordinate to the giver. The very capacity to think will be immobilised. It is a bad policy to receives aid or give aid. It saps the energy of the nation. Aid develops a dependent attitude. No one who is dependent can stand up as an individual. It is moonshine to develop individuality in a nation that develops essentially on foreign aid. Individuality can be physical making men warriors. Economic individuality brings self-respect. He can survive on his own. Only one who has such individuality can think on his own, become a thinker. Spiritual individuality is beyond all of them. A country that desires to develop individuals will do best to return all its aid and as a policy decide against it forever. What one country can receive from another is training and technology, not capital. Capital borrowed itself is harmful. Aid will dissolve any sense of independence a nation enjoys. Productivity is prosperity. In order to produce, one should be an individual, not a wage earner or a salaried employee. Those who seek such employment will discover that the nation is devoid of entrepreneurs. A nation devoid of venturesome entrepreneurs is one without an economic backbone.

Those Who Receive Help Hurt the Benefactor
he unregenerate vital is unwilling to be under an obligation. He who receives a help has a natural tendency to hurt the benefactor. This is a truth known to us centuries ago and is captured in a proverb: if only you take pity on a suffering creature, the SINS of six months will at once land on you. History, literature and life offer copious confirmation of this truth. (MSS)



 The Recipient of Any Gift Resents It
It is a rule of life that the recipient of any gift, especially an unsolicited benefit, resents it and as a result desires to be insolent to the benefactor. Based on this truism, a joke was popular in the 20th century in Europe which is summed up in the statement, ''I do not know why that man hates me, I have not done him any good. (MSS)

Problematic Issues that Arise Concerning the Impulse to Help Others
-When we genuinely wish to help another, the ego enters the picture in a subtle fashion and offers the help. We miss seeing it.
-It is an invariable rule in human relationships - with very rare exceptions - that the beneficiary never fails to offend the
benefactor. Inside the family and close friends group, ALL the problems arise ONLY from this rule.
-If one does his duty pleasantly without fail within the limits of the other person's good will, such an aberration is avoided.
-In intimate relationships, the idea of generosity is strong. One wants to give rather than take. Once it crosses the limits, the horrible rule I now described comes into operation. (MSS)



Poverty and Terrorism

Poverty and Terrorism
Poverty is the root cause of terrorism. (MSS)

End Poverty Will End Violence
Poverty as well as ignorance can be wiped off the face of earth. Then VIOLENCE will be unheard of. (MSS)

Ending Terrorism by Ending Poverty
Terrorism will vanish when its root cause, poverty, is eliminated. That poverty can be eliminated through higher levels of education, which enables true truths to flow, and greater knowledge of what can be achieved in life for the individual, replacing the falsehoods and evil that rise in the soil of poverty and ignorance. The world has to come together to try to figure out a way for these countries (plus the countries of Africa, and the many pockets of misery elsewhere) to emerge from their neglect, so that fundamentalism and terror will evaporate, and that the energies of angry men and women can be absorbed for productive and happy lives.

End of Hold of Religion Behind Terrorism through Prosperity, Education, & Enlightened Mind
After the end of the Cold War, we see ferocious animosities focussed at precise undefined points in the shape of terrorist explosions. Presently the world is finding it difficult to come by a satisfying answer to this phenomenon.
Marx's description of religion as the opium of the masses deserves consideration here.
Opium intoxicates in usual doses, destroys in overdoses. What is a usual dose of a drug to a cultivated mind is an overdose to a superstitious mind. Idealism for a great mind is fanaticism for a small mind.
Culture is the best ingredient of Mind that makes it level headed or great. It is education that prepares the mind to receive culture. Man thinks of education when his stomach is full. Hunger prevents one from seeking education.
Physical threat and insecurity can drive man so hard, that he even overlooks the claims of a half-filled stomach.
Superstition forms and takes hold of people at all levels of insufficiency. There is a 'proper' superstition to each level of maturity or immaturity.
Superstition makes men fanatics. After the end of the World War, as well as the Cold War, there appears no valid reason for fighting.
Still, isolated intense fights, or rather attacks are there all the time. In the absence of prosperity and education, religion does havoc to the mind through the instrumentation of superstition.
Therefore, we see the power of Marx's observation. It is a historical fact that wherever life opens prosperity, religion goes to the background. Equally, the rising enlightenment of the mind prevents religion from having an intoxicating hold on it that leads to rabid fanatical behaviour.
We also see in those hotbeds of internecine conflicts - Palestine, Kashmir, Ireland - there is mass migration seeking better economic life, disregarding religious persuasions.
Religion is the opium of the masses not when they are educated or prosperous. Hence the remedy for terrorism lies in opening up the avenues of economic betterment. (MSS)


Additional Thoughts on Terrorism


Military Spending Waste and Ending Poverty


Energy of Military Disengaged Can Only Be Absorbed by Raising the Masses
The enormous energy absorbed by the military is now disengaged. It is there for us to use. Except in raising the masses, it cannot be fully absorbed. (MSS)

Limited Cost to End Poverty Compare to Waste in Military Spending
UNDP has calculated that $40 billion a year would be sufficient to eradicate global poverty within ten years. Yet long after the end of the Cold War and at a time when there is not even a serious potential enemy in sight, world military expenditure remains at $850 billion a year. The war is over, but a costly, wasteful, unproductive anachronism persists. (MSS)

Change Poverty Internally in the West to End Poverty Globally
Philosophically we also believe that if we in the West change our consciousness to the poverty that exists in our own countries, it will have a ripple effect where poverty will begin to spontaneously be reduced in the rest of the world. For example, if the US seriously addressed its own poverty, there would be a similar positive development suddenly arise as it relates to world poverty. This observation is based on our observation of a law of consciousness that we call "Inner-Outer Correspondence;" that is, that the world around us reflects for better or worse our own internal condition. If we change what is inside us, our inner attitudes, values, and consciousness, the world will suddenly change in a similar way. This is true for individuals, institutions, and nations. Actually for the universe itself. 

Overcoming Poverty Helps Fulfill Humanity's Evolutionary Purpose on Earth
If we look around the world we will see that poverty is driving all instability in society. Whether it is a near-slave laborer in China producing Western goods at a pittance salary, the 30% unemployment amongst young men in Baghdad and other parts of the Middle East, the fight over territory and resources in rural Africa, or the impoverished individuals stumbling out of the disaster of hurricane Katrina in America, poverty is the root cause of most anguish and insurrection -- including terrorism -- in the world.

Poverty should be attacked as a global problem more nefarious than even terrorism. The war of terrorism should be accompanied by a war on poverty. A rapid reaction force against the evil of terrorism needs to be accompanied by a global rapid reaction force against the scourge of global poverty. One without the other will prevent either from succeeding.

A plan to fight poverty involves the activation of thought, i.e our mentality. It is easier to revert to physical brutality to step the symptom. It is easier to get anguished and rail against two sides in a conflict such as we observe in the war in Iraq. It is more difficult to be rational, exercise our minds, and come up with comprehensive plans for development that will end or at least substantially reduce poverty on earth. Without doing so, the physical and vital individuals and forces will gain sway, and will continue in their brutality and rage -- whether the unemployed poor, or the Western powers that seek to repulse their violent outrage.

To come together to develop plans of development that ends poverty requires the giving up of ego at all fronts. The national ego that is self-assured must be given up in order to cooperate with other nations. The self-righteousness of individuals who take sides must be abandoned to cooperate for this higher purpose and good.

Man is meant to move to ever-higher states of harmony. It is his evolutionary destiny. Poverty provides one such opportunity. Before WWII, the nations of the world were unconscious. They did not cooperate. In fact, the financial powers engaged in speculation that drove down the world's economy and gave rise to Nazism and fascism that caused over 60 million to die. Only after did Europe learn its bitter lessons of non-cooperation in the face of a rising menace, and the earlier greed of rampant financial speculation. That is a lesson for our own times. We must cooperate on development to overcome poverty to prevent the dark forces from rising and holding sway, whatever their source. It is the time to act.

The 20th century was the time of the rise of the Common Man, where the small individual gained vast rights and was able to rise to improve himself to a level that a prince or king would enjoy in earlier times. Now man must become the True Individual, even the True Spiritual Individual. One way he does this is by discovering his deep commonality with others. Even the recognition that we each share a soul relationship with one another. Harmony of purpose is one dimension in that rise from Common Man to the True, even the Spiritual Individual. The opportunity to overcome poverty has come to serve that very purpose. It comes to help us fulfill humanity's evolutionary destiny on earth.

Poverty and Further Organization
In many fields of life, such as computer software or efforts to eradicate poverty, there is chaos, confusion, imperfection, duplication, inefficiency, etc. It is a great problem in life. It can be solved when their central organizing principles are further organized. (MSS)

Ending Poverty in India
If every Indian citizen chose to take full advantage of the enormous range of opportunities afforded by the current atmosphere of freedom -- to learn, teach, think, invent, produce and achieve all that he or she is capable of -- then poverty will soon be a thing of the past in this country. Eradication of poverty is a necessary achievement and the sooner the better. (MSS)

How Money Trust Creates Greater Wealth in Society
How is greater wealth in society produced?
Money is goods. So also, money is TRUST. Today values of life are deteriorating on one side. On the other side, banks recover over 90%, perhaps 93% of consumer loans.
Money was created as a medium of exchange. It has always represented Man's Trust in currency and the government. That trust is, on the balance, more today. Hence there is more money in circulation. This answer is vague.
Individually, one can see that NOW he who is optimistic is better off. He who avails of confidence-raising schemes is better off, as he rises with the rising confidence of the nation. All those who have risen meteorically are people whose work is trusted. One way of becoming prosperous is to raise that level of trust in our lives. (MSS, slightly modified)

Callousness of the West and Negative Life Response
Thousands die every day in Africa of AIDS and Malaria, but little is spoken of it here in the West. It is callousness of the worst sort. It attracts "bad karma," which is the principle that what you sow is what you reap in life. 9/11 and situations like it thus comes as a negative response from life in return for our callousness to a variety of the world's problems.

We do not see that our lower consciousness --whether our own or that of any collective -- is constantly attracting negativity from the field of life. Look around and examine your life, and watch for negative circumstances that come to you. It is most likely related to lower movements of our consciousness; it is especially there in our wanting attitudes. Let us try to identify a negative attitude and then change it. Life will then respond to you ON ITS OWN with sudden good fortune. Problems will suddenly solve themselves, and sudden opportunities will arise from out of nowhere. It is the instantaneous miraculousness of Life Response.

If Western callousness can turn into true concern -- including true follow-up to our positive public statements -- new solutions to the problems of Africa, the Arab world, and elsewhere can instantaneously spring forth on their own. The key is to move out of our narrow, self-centered attitudes that separate us from the conditions of the world around us. It applies not just to the West, but to any country, any culture, any individual.


Additional Thoughts on Demilitarization of the World




Related Content:

Thoughts on the Nature of & Potential for Prosperity

Self-Employment, Entrepreneurship, Risk-Taking, Self-Reliance

MSS Articles on Poverty
Perception of Poverty   

Solving Society's Problems Through Higher Consciousness

Also See Principles of Social Development



Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, and End to Poverty
Sri Aurobindo and The Mother worked to establish the spiritual power on earth, so that suffering, pain, falsehood, cruelty, and poverty in any form would be fully and finally abolished forever from earth's existence.

On Scarcity
Scarcity is the desire NOT to see the abundance around. (MSS)

Poverty as "Pollution"
It is an imaginative extension of thought that conceives of poverty as an agent of pollution. This conception extends the physical environment to a social dimension to include living human beings. Environment that includes MAN is certainly polluted by the existence of poverty which means insufficient needs at the most physical level of hunger. (MSS)

In truth the message is not abolition of poverty but a society where all enjoy equally with equal freedom with no fetters to women. (MSS)

These accomplishments still leave more than one billion people in poverty. (MSS)



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